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Does your school give back q's on exams?


Specializes in hospice, ortho,clinical review. Has 5 years experience.

If so, how does it make you feel?

Usually in the other 2 semesters the "give backs" never benefited me, I always got those ones right! I made B's my 1st two semesters.

My 3rd semester of med/surg I ended up with a B (and trust me I'm just happy to have passed) and it feels sort of disingeneous. :eek: stupid I know

We had 5 exams plus the final (and 2 drug exams) I got only 2 B's, one on an exam and the other on the final, but the rest were a point or 2 from B's...so they were high C's Except the one that was really a D and turned to a C thanks to a "give back".. Then we had the ATI testing and gained 2pct on our ttl.

My point is I know no one is going to be giving back q's on the nclex nor would I want them to, I learn from my mistakes and I usually see the rationale, I am never one whining in class why "I" thought my answer is right. I just don't agree that they do this.

I guess I should just shut up and be happy with my B, but it honestly feels like it's not mine! I work hard for my grades and usually am very proud of them, I got A's in my co-reqs and worked for them, they're "mine" This doesn't feel like it's mine...it feels fake!

Anybody else ever feel that way? I know they're just grades and that's not what's on the RN license. It just feels cheated somehow. I need help I know, :p I start my Acute semester tomorrow once that starts I probably won't be concerned about this.

Thanks for letting me vent (as usual)


Specializes in ICCU - cardiac.

We get 'IA's' (item analysis) if more than 40% of the class got it wrong. It's ususally 1 or 2 questions they throw out. But those points have made students pass and I would never complain about getting extra points in NS! You gotta fight for every point! And it's obvious that the material wasn't clearly presented if that many students got it wrong. It's usually a case of picking the second best answer.

CT Pixie, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience.

We have had quite a few tests were they discarded the question and gave everyone the points for it. It never benefited me as I always seem to get those questions right. Of course the ones I get wrong never seem to be give back questions..uggh~!

There have been a few times that they have decided to allow 2 answers as the correct one (a typo that made the 2nd "allowed" correct answer correct when it was supposed to be worded so it wasn't correct or teacher wanted "a" as the answer but students proved that the book said A or B were correct) you would get the points if you chose either of the allowed answers but not if you chose one of the other two.

In those senerios I don't think its wrong for the teachers to give the points to those who got it wrong to start with. You got the points because you earned those points.

What i totally disagree with is when they do a test analysis, see that say 3/4's of the class got the answer wrong and they toss that question saying something was "off" about that question and add the points for that question to those who got it wrong. Just because a majority of the class got it wrong doesn't make it a "bad" question. Yes, sometimes it is, but most times its just because people didn't remember that little blurb in the book about that info. Those who got it correct to start with don't get any extra for getting it correct.

I haven't benefited from give backs BUT i would never shake my head and say "no, I don't want those points" if i were one of the people who would/could benefit nor do I think less of those who do benefit from the give backs.

Like the other poster said, you have to fight for each and every point, be glad you get those give backs. Sometimes that one question can make or break a person!

Kitty Hawk, ADN, RN

Specializes in hospice, ortho,clinical review. Has 5 years experience.

Thanks Amy...and good point.

Ours aren't done like that though, I may be able to understand it better if they were!

Ours are just random ones that some people will fight it out to get. We were told that the q's must come from our objectives and they come from a test bank, so I guess I don't get why the answers the instructors think are right... aren't!

You are right though, sometimes it is a matter of the 2nd best answer and I'm forgetting that, and no, I don't like to lose people either. We lost 5 from last semester :(

That's always the bad part, thx for the reality check (slap) I needed it. I wonder sometimes when I'm going to feel "normal" my emotions are all over the map, that's par for ns but we just had a 1 week break!:uhoh21:


Specializes in ED.

We rarely get any points, even if many get it wrong. There are always some students who fight and fight for what they think is the right answer. To me, this is a waste of time and energy. If you got it wrong, accept it. However, I don't think you should worry about ones they give you a point on. It isn't worth your effort to worry about such a small thing. YOu have a lot of other things you can do! Take the points!!!

We rarely get any points, even if many get it wrong. There are always some students who fight and fight for what they think is the right answer. To me, this is a waste of time and energy. If you got it wrong, accept it.quote]

I disagree here. Sometimes it isn't about the point value at all - it's about the instructor's ego and unwillingness to say she was wrong. Even when you show her two places in the text (the holy grail to test questions, don'cha know, and the final authority) and her OWN Power Point note, she refuses to acknowledge the answer was dead wrong. You bet I am going to 'fight' that. I didn't get it wrong, she did. (Her final solution: giving me the point if it meant a grade change. If I was a 'B' and was on the border of an "A" for the class, I would get the point. This did not address the principle of my objection, because she didn't admit the question was a bum. I got the "A' on my own, without her mercy point. GRRRR.)

BTW, our Item Analysis points benefits everyone....everyone gets the extra point, even the ones who got the original question correct. We lurve IA's. Teachers hate 'em.


Specializes in ICU, Emergency Department. Has 7 years experience.

The only thing that frustrates me about "give-backs" this semester is that they're not done for the entire group of 100 students, they're done on a class by class, professor by professor basis. I've heard on the past two or three tests, THE SAME TEST QUESTIONS, I MIGHT ADD, of students in other classes getting points back that we weren't awarded, even though percentage-wise the same number of students in our class got the question wrong as did the students in the other classes. My belief is that they should either give them or not give them, fairly, to everyone, rather than being so picky and choosy.

I usually don't benefit from them, either, and I'm doing fine without them, so it doesn't really affect me. I'm more concerned for friends in my class, friends who could have C+'s and instead are on the border of failing with C's...

locolorenzo22, BSN, RN

Specializes in Ortho, Neuro, Detox, Tele.

true..but isn't it funny how usually the hard questions are the ones you get right, and the ones that are basic usually end up being wrong for some stupid reason(like marking the wrong bubble, or missing a word in the question....

such is life...I worry more about always getting a passing score, and then the letters matter at the end.....

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

I disagree here. Sometimes it isn't about the point value at all - it's about the instructor's ego and unwillingness to say she was wrong.

Its just not worth it to me especially in the cases when I suspect there is some ego at play. I don't need the extra stinking point and it seems that the people that fight it are painting a target on their butt and I'm all about flying under the radar. What they tell us is that the NCLEX doesn't curve or reconsider so get over it. :uhoh3:


Specializes in Post Anesthesia. Has 30 years experience.

This was one of my chief complaints about the collage of nursing. In every other department exam questions were drawn from a pool questions that were time tested, reviewed, and updated only when the material changed. Collage of nursing exams seemed to be an opinion poll--all those in favor of "d" being the right answer raise your hand!! It's no wonder the collage of nursing was treated like a tech school compaired to the other science degrees. The answer may be - pay the instructors a living wage and the overall standard of teaching will improve. When MSN educators are making 60% of what I make as a staff nurse I can't expect people to devote a heroic effort to make sure thier questions make sense. Whatever the reason, I think some review BEFORE you give the exam to the students would be useful. As for NCLEX- it is drawn from a pool of time tested questions that are passed and checked repeatedly before they are counted in the exam.

My school does this as well.

We go over the test, and usually there's 1 question that the teacher "throws out". But everyone gets the extra 3 points, not just the people who missed it.

I do have to admit, it saved me from not passing one test. However, I see the point that one poster made about the NCLEX. That test doesn't throw out any questions, so sometimes I wonder what's the point of throwing out questions in school? Aren't these tests supposedly getting us ready for the NCLEX?

suanna wrote


I agree with what you're saying.

When MSN educators are making 60% of what I make as a staff nurse I can't expect people to devote a heroic effort to make sure thier questions make sense.


I certainly can. I have a business deal with the college - I pay you tuition, and you teach me what I need to know to become an entry level nurse and pass a national licensure exam. That includes coming up with decent questions, not inferior ones because instructors don't get paid enough by the administration. There is nothing I can do about that situation right now as a student, and it's not my responsibility to take a hit on my tests because the instructors resent their pay. Those test questions can fail a student out of nursing school. That's a lot of money and effort wasted. While it's never a good idea to depend on those points - you're crazy if you do - who wants to be that close to the edge? - if there is wide disagreement on the answer, then it should be thrown out. Unclear question writing should not affect my grade, and I have such a problem with 'taking the loss and be quiet about it'.

Having said all those hysterics, I doubt that the instructors at my college put in less than a 100% effort with their test questions. I'm sure it's not a stretch that most instructors do. Most of them seem to like teaching. They're unhappy about their 30% reduced pay, but they love the benefits the college provides that are missing from their hospital jobs, which if they're being honest, is why many of them are in the college setting.

Quick story: a student from last year told me he contested a test question with a particularly tough instructor. They went around and around about this question, and he argued it to the death. (Respectfully, of course - they were on good terms with each other.) she refused to give him the point.

Fast forward to final exam time: the question showed up again on the final - in a revised form that had the exact answer the fellow was arguing for. Arrgghh!

They go through all of our exams, and while I've never heard it called "IA," it's what they do. However, they don't give us points just because a high number of students missed a question. The faculty just looks at that question a little harder and makes a decision on whether or not to award points. When they do, we all get the extra points regardless of whether or not we got that question right. They also look at the general grade distribution, and are more likely to be generous if the test average was failing than if there were several As. I've certainly never felt guilty about taking the points, and I've argued one or two (respectfully, and usually via e-mail so I can cite the page of the textbook that contradicts the answer they had as correct) when I've been sure of my own answer.

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

If a lot of people missed a question, the instructors will look at it...and depending on the instructor we may get credit back. The last instructor I had was very generous as far as such questions go.

On the other hand, my current instructor...every instructor at the NS keeps saying that the textbook is "the gold standard" and if there's ever a discpreancy between the instructors notes and the books, to go with the book...or if we can prove with the book that a test answer is incorrect, we'll usually get credit. But we just had a test with a question that instructor tried to get out of giving credit to us, even after we showed her the correct answer which was both in the book as well as in her notes. She groused a bit but eventually had to conceede the points to us.

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