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Getting "points back" on a test


So we have one professor this semester who will go over our exams with us after we have all taken it, and often will sometimes decide to give points back to students if the choice they picked "made sense" or if she realizes she didn't give us the information she'll give the whole class the question. However I have found that it is usually the same students who often can "debate" a question enough to get the points for a question they got incorrect, while other students often do not get points back. I often get the "difficult" questions correct so when the teacher gives the points back, my grade doesn't change much.

My question is this: is it worth it for me to ask the professor why she gives points back when some students complain about a question when others dont? I get frustrated because I usually get Bs or As while some students get lower Bs and Cs to begin with but end up with the same grade as me or better after they get these "points back" on questions I studied hard to get right the first time I took the test. I feel like I almost get cheated out of having a better grade. I don't want my classmates to hate me though, or for my professor to get annoyed at me.

Also, a lot of times the choice they get "points" back for will have killed a patient....I don't understand how they can get points back for an answer that would have killed a patient in real life, while other students try to get points back for a question they got wrong but whose "incorrect" answer wouldn't have killed a patient.

Should I just keep my head down and be happy with my grades? If i sound like a spoil sport I'm sorry, its just been really frustrating for me lately....

ckh23, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER/ICU/STICU. Has 6 years experience.

You might suggest statistical analysis to your teacher. I'm in grad school now and that is how they determine if extra points will be awarded or if certain questions will be thrown out. However, that usually involves half of the class getting a question incorrect which leads the professor that either the question is worded poorly or there may have been more than one correct answer. You should also bring up these concerns to your professor in private and see what he/she says.

well my professor has brought up that she looks at that, but there have been times where half the class gets it wrong and she says i understand you guys didn't understand blank, but i still think you should have it marked wrong; which I totally understand. Its when theres 4 out of 20 or just 6, and its always the same people, that get the points- that I get frustrated. Or how the answer they put would kill a patient. I don't understand the thinking behind that. Usually if half the class gets it wrong, its because of something easily explainable or a misunderstanding, its never an answer that would cause a patient death- or if it is- its one of those times she says shes going to keep it incorrect.


Specializes in Oncology.

You can't get points back on NCLEX or in real life so they're the ones who are shooting themselves in the foot.


Specializes in psych/dementia.

My professors also do a questions analysis and apart from that, we have to show them where in the textbook we found our answer if want points for it.

I had a class of students like that once. I used to teach review sessions, optional, not during class time. Sometimes people came, sometimes they didn't. But there was major whining about throwing out questions and so forth afterwards. I once lost a little cool and said that if these people put half the effort into studying that they put into calculating their GPA to the fourth decimal place to figure out how many questions they needed thrown out to pass with a 74 (!) we wouldn't be listening to this.

Don't worry about them. Your grade is not affected by theirs. And look on the bright side: If you think you've got a good rationale to have an extra point awarded to you, it sounds like you'd get it. :)

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

Good day, adnstudent44:

Focus on how you are doing. In the long run, it will pay off more.

Thank you.

I often get the "difficult" questions correct so when the teacher gives the points back' date=' my grade doesn't change much.[/quote']

Normally the questions that you get points back for are the difficult questions. If you've already gotten the question right, you've already been awarded a point for it. Why should you get another one?


Specializes in public health, women's health, reproductive health.

As others have said here, we get points back based on stats of how many students got the question wrong. We are not allowed to debate the questions or get points back by showing where something is in the textbook. Our tests are computerized and we get our grade as soon as we finish the test, at which point we can look at the test answers and rationales. There is no discussion or debate. Usually a few days later our grades will be adjusted if the stats show a question should be thrown out.

I can understand why you would be bothered by what is going on. I probably would be too. But I have to agree with others that you should just concentrate on your own grades and don't bother yourself with what is going on with these other students debating and getting points. In the end, it won't mean anything to you. Do your best and press on.


Specializes in LTC. Has 2 years experience.

I had an instructor who would give points even for responses that were not correct if the student could give a persuasive argument. These were NCLEX type exams where the goal was to select the BEST answer but if you argued your way through a wrong answer the instructor gave you the point. However, she would remind students that if the question came up again in the comprehensive final then they'd better select the answer that was actually correct ...yeah :no:

I did not make a fuss over it. I did the work, passed the class and moved on.

Ours uses statistical analysis. Sometimes they will give points back anyway for some questions because they thought it was unclear etc. I don't mind so long as it doesn't take away from what I initially got. I used to get annoyed, but then as others pointed out I realized they were sabotaging themselves by requesting points or debating into getting their way when they didn't understand the core concept of the question despite it being taught. What does annoy me and when I will stand up is when their debating takes away from my initial score. Professors have scored it out of one less question (ex: out of 9 instead of 10). The problem with that is if you got 1 wrong anyway and it wasn't on that question your grade drops. I feel if that question is being thrown out then at the very least no one can go lower than their initial grade; as it benefits some while penalizing others.

SopranoKris, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 5 years experience.

Wow, they rarely give points back on exams in our program. Usually, they'll throw out a question if a large majority of the class misses one, but that's about it. And the whole class gets the point so one person doesn't benefit and others don't.

We re-take our exams collaboratively immediately following the actual test. If your team of 3 score an A together, you get one point added, as long as you earned a 76 or better on your individual exam.

The problem with getting points back, it only benefits those students who got the question wrong. Those who got it right to begin with then feel like they have been punished for studying. In my opinion as a student, if a question is deemed to be a poor one, just throw it out all together, then everyone benefits, not just those who got it wrong.

Same as some others, we had a few teachers who would give points back in a question was really jacked up or if the majority of the students got it wrong. In my 2nd semester med surge class the teacher wrote the test questions, and sometimes they made no sense what so ever! If that happened and the other teachers were in agreement they'd throw that question out and we'd get the points back.

Thanks for all the advice everyone! I guess I'll just keep my head down, I hadn't thought about how when they take their NClex licensing exam they will have a more difficult time.

@aubgurl- I wasn't expecting extra points, i was trying to say that i felt it was unfair for ppl to get points for a question i got correct but they got wrong. (especially if in a real life situation the answer they chose would kill or severely harm the patient.)

I wouldn't worry so much about other people's grades. If you feel your instructor is treating you unfairly, speak to her about it. Otherwise, it sounds like you are begrudging the other students' good fortune.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

I can see why this would be frustrating to you, but I bet the instructor is trying to avoid conflict. However, you are in school for YOU. Learn all you can and do your best. Believe me, when the chips are down you will be glad you actually know the material. Your classmates may be wishing they did.

Nah, they'll be the ones on the NCLEX forum wailing about how terrible it was now that they have to take it for the third time. ;) Or if they pass (it is, after all, the most basic, lowest level) they'll be here complaining about how the COBs pick on them all the time just because they ask a lot of questions. Or don't. Or something.

OP, go forth. Nevermind, in the famous word(s) of the late, great Gilda Radner.