# Ambiguous writing in midterm exam

• Testing
• Jokerhelper
In summary, the girl in the class who wrote the exam was asking for the moment due to the tension force along the vertical axis, but the way the question was worded, it may have been ambiguous. The girl in the class who took the exam was not clear on what the question was asking and ended up getting the rest of the questions wrong.
Jokerhelper
Hello guys. I was wondering if you guys could give me your opinion/advice for the following scenario:

Yesterday I wrote my first midterm in statics (1st year engineering), which is worth 30% of the final mark. The written part of this exam, worth half of the entire midterm, consisted in a series of questions that built upon one another; hence, get the first one wrong and the everything else falls apart. In my case, the first question asked for the following:
"Determine the moment due to the tension force along the vertical axis passing through O."

The way I understood the question was that I had to find the force along the vertical axis and then calculate its moment about O. The solutions for this exam were uploaded today and it turns out I was wrong. What she meant was "Determine the moment along the vertical axis passing through O due to the tension force." In hindsight, I probably should have understood that she wanted to test our knowledge of the scalar triple product.

As you can imagine, I got the rest of the question set wrong, although I did apply the correct concepts for each of them (except the first one of course). If I'm lucky I might a few half marks, but I know I already lost at least good 10% of my final mark. I generally tend to shy away from going to an instructor to "ask for marks" or anything similar, but do you guys think I should at least bring up what I felt was ambiguous wording? Or do I just look silly by doing all this and I am in the wrong?

Nut up dude. Go talk to the teacher.

It's admirable that you don't want to beg, I think that's a sign of good character. But I think in this case, it's entirely appropriate to go state your case.

You will probably have the best outcome if you go in and begin by stating that you aren't there to beg or argue, but you had an honest misunderstanding of the question.

As long as you are respectful, and have a legitimate question/concern, it never hurts to ask. I would not say anything about what you think you deserve, rather focus on explaining the situation and why you think the question was ambigious. If it was cumulative, and the rest of the work is correct, I would think that they would at least accept the rest of it.

Thanks for the advice guys. I guess I will see how it gets marked bring up my concern, although I'm less than optimistic anything will change. Still, I'm glad I knew how to solve all the questions, so I guess that's a plus.

I would have interpreted the question in the same way.

You should always be clear what the question is asking during an exam.

get clarification if you need it.

## 1. What is ambiguous writing in a midterm exam?

Ambiguous writing in a midterm exam refers to any type of language or phrasing that is unclear or can be interpreted in more than one way. This can lead to confusion and uncertainty for students when trying to answer exam questions.

## 2. Why is it important to avoid ambiguous writing in a midterm exam?

Avoiding ambiguous writing in a midterm exam is important because it ensures fairness and accuracy in grading. If exam questions are unclear, students may provide different answers based on their interpretation, which can lead to inconsistent grading and unfair results. Clear and precise writing also helps students better understand what is being asked of them and allows them to demonstrate their knowledge more effectively.

## 3. What are some examples of ambiguous writing in a midterm exam?

Examples of ambiguous writing in a midterm exam may include using vague or subjective language, using double negatives, or asking multiple questions within one prompt. It can also include using unfamiliar terminology or not providing enough context for a question.

## 4. How can teachers avoid writing ambiguous questions in a midterm exam?

Teachers can avoid writing ambiguous questions in a midterm exam by carefully reviewing and editing their exam questions before administering them. It's important to use clear and direct language, avoid double negatives, and ask only one question per prompt. Teachers can also have their exams reviewed by other instructors or have a practice run with students to identify any potential areas of confusion.

## 5. What can students do if they encounter ambiguous writing in a midterm exam?

If students encounter ambiguous writing in a midterm exam, they should first try to clarify the meaning of the question by reading it carefully and looking for any clues in the wording or context. If they are still unsure, they can ask the teacher for clarification. It's important for students to communicate their confusion rather than making assumptions and potentially providing an incorrect answer.

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