Does it pay to challenge a test question?

  1. I had a test 2 weeks ago and I felt that 3 of the questions were poorly worded and one was actually in conflict with the handout. However, I didn't challenge these with the professor as I had an A and thought it wasn't worth potentially turning them against me. Now I am wondering...what if I need those points later? Have any of you ever challenged test questions, and if you did, how did it turn out? Did it tend to turn the professor against you? Thanks...
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   dphrn
    I don't think it will turn the instructor against you if you have the material to back up your argument. Sometimes it ends up to be a learning experience if done correctly by the teacher and student. Out of ALL the test questions we argued in school, we maybe got one or two turned over to our advantage.

    Good luck!!
  4. by   NurseyBaby'05
    It is definitely worth it to challenge a test question. If the correct answer is in conflict with information you were given by this instructor, you deserve that point. Maybe she/he typo'd and did not realize it. A point is a point. You have an A right now, but what if you were borderline. I know people that have not gone on in their nursing classes b/c they were one point shy of passing.

    I guess it all depends on your approach though. I would not be confrontational about it, but I would tactfully point out (privately, of course) the conflict of information. I have gotten credit on a few questions this way and have had no problems with any instructor. They're human too. I'm also not one of those people (and we've all gone to school with/ worked with them ) who b!tches about everything all the time. I think that this has made a difference as well. A fellow classmate has had a beef with every test and when she FINALLY had a legitimate gripe, it fell on deaf ears.

    Bottom line, a point is a point if you're right and it may payoff at the end of your semester.
  5. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from meredithT
    I had a test 2 weeks ago and I felt that 3 of the questions were poorly worded and one was actually in conflict with the handout. However, I didn't challenge these with the professor as I had an A and thought it wasn't worth potentially turning them against me. Now I am wondering...what if I need those points later? Have any of you ever challenged test questions, and if you did, how did it turn out? Did it tend to turn the professor against you? Thanks...
    Challenge it! The likelihood he will retaliate is small and it may well have been simple human error on his/her part.
  6. by   leslie :-D
    boy do i remember those tests....especially those ones in the 1st semester. our class protested, hemmed and hawed and were accusatory of those darned 'trick' questions. but if you come up with hard data, then yes, there are a couple that will more than likely be reversed. lord, i don't miss those days.

    leslie
  7. by   resqrider
    My instructor once told me that they were humans, too. Sometimes it didn't feel like it though especially when it came to test taking. But i remember one instance where my instructor told us one thing. If all else fails go by the answer in the book or handout. We as a class did exactly that and on at least two tests we managed to change the dynamics of the class. I ended up passing the class and just graduated in May with my AAS. Now I am anxiously awaiting to take My ND State Boards for LPN. So yes it does pay to challenge the instructor as long as when you do it you don't have a KNOW_IT _ALL attitude. Good LUCK
  8. by   Todd SPN
    My instructor's encouraged us to speak up if we felt it was wrong. But, we needed to have data to prove our point. On the other hand, I have a friend that went to a different school and the instructor's made it clear to him that they did not wish to hear a different opinion. Guess those instructor's didn't want to produce nurses that could think or reason.
  9. by   Agnus
    Quote from meredithT
    I had a test 2 weeks ago and I felt that 3 of the questions were poorly worded and one was actually in conflict with the handout. However, I didn't challenge these with the professor as I had an A and thought it wasn't worth potentially turning them against me. Now I am wondering...what if I need those points later? Have any of you ever challenged test questions, and if you did, how did it turn out? Did it tend to turn the professor against you? Thanks...
    You can challenge questions and not offend. Think about how you would want to be approached if you had written or chosen these questions.

    I have been in you situation and challenged them. If the instructor worte them (often they do not write the questions themselves) don't say it way "poorly written"
    Instead say I was confused by the wording.

    Give your reason for answereing as you did.

    Look at it as a way to learn and approach it this way. Often I lerned something from these questions this way.

    You might have unintentionally read into a question. Maybe something said in lecture was spoken or heard incorrectly. (everyone's tongue slips)

    One of two things will happen. You will get the credit or you will come away with a better understanding of the question or reasoning behind the "correct" answer.

    You still may not agree or fully understand but you will begin to get a feel for certain types of questions.

    The instructor will start to pay attention to questions put on an exam.

    If you do not understand the rational behind a correct answer that you got wrong, and if you do not seek it from the instructor, you will remain ignorant. Instructors assume if you do not question them, you undrstand why your answer was wrong and theirs was right. The reason is often more important than the actual answer.
  10. by   pgrsctrn2be
    challanging test questions is all in the approach. I personaly questioned the instructor on many questions and always had material to backup myself during the sessions. I didn't always gain my points but I learned to look at the questions from another point of view. Our instructors had no problems in students questioning the test and welcomed the chance to clarify any questions, even in Wal-mart!lol
    And by the way I got my NCEX results on Friday......
    I PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Way To Go Pg!!!!!!!!!!
  12. by   Agnus
    Quote from meredithT
    I had a test 2 weeks ago and I felt that 3 of the questions were poorly worded and one was actually in conflict with the handout. However, I didn't challenge these with the professor as I had an A and thought it wasn't worth potentially turning them against me. Now I am wondering...what if I need those points later? Have any of you ever challenged test questions, and if you did, how did it turn out? Did it tend to turn the professor against you? Thanks...
    "challenge athority."

    A couple of weeks ago I reported off duty. About 2 a.m. the patient took a really bad turn and needed to be transfered to a higher level of care. The physician was notified and very inappropriate orders were written. When I came in that moring and received report I was shocked to find out the what happened. Everyone supported my assessment that the patient needed to be transfered and that the orders the doc had given were inappropriate. When someone questioned the nurse who was careing for the patient as to why, he said, "I was afraid to question the doctor."

    He knew better but was afraid to question athority. As a nurse you must question athority. If this is a challenge for you start working on it now.
  13. by   Gromit
    Quote from pgrsctrn2be
    challanging test questions is all in the approach. I personaly questioned the instructor on many questions and always had material to backup myself during the sessions. I didn't always gain my points but I learned to look at the questions from another point of view. Our instructors had no problems in students questioning the test and welcomed the chance to clarify any questions, even in Wal-mart!lol
    And by the way I got my NCEX results on Friday......
    I PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I agree. Approach is the key. I can't recall ever having a teacher that "took revenge" because of a student challenging a question. Of course, if the student was being confrontational, they tended to be treated appropriately, but if you act professional about it, I've found that nearly all teachers will listen to what you have to say, and I've had a number of questions turned over, or disqualified because I could explain why I believed it to be in error (and yes, show your work/reason). It did not usually work, but on the other hand, what do you have to lose? I've found that most instructors will be reasonable -including the one I had for my cardiac rotation -this instructor had a reputation for being a "hard-nose" who cut no slack whatsoever. I'm serious when I tell you that many students were scared of her, and didn't want to take a class if they knew she was teaching it! It was unfounded, though. She was very reasonable, if you didn't have a cocky attitude, and approached the problem in a professional manner. -Oddly enough, she turned out to be one of my very favorites, and the only instructor I emailed to say I'd passed my NCLEX.

    On that note, to pgrsctrn2be, CONGRATULATIONS! I found out about I'd passed on the 16th. It feels pretty good, doesn't it?
  14. by   NP2BE
    I have challenged many test questions. In most cases I have had exact information that backs me up. I have gotten some back and some not. Last semester I got an A in a 6 credit hour nursing class. I challenged several questions throughout the semester. In the end, had I missed one more question on the final, I would have got a B in a huge class. So every question counts!

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