When a bad answer makes for a great book


Student image courtesy of taliesin, Morguefile.

Ever been absolutely, completely stumped for an answer on a test? You read over the question and realize you have utterly no idea what the answer is and worse yet, you probably won’t think of one before the test is over. And so you write down something, anything, just to answer the question.

Yes? Been there, done that? Can I see a show of hands here? Then you’ll probably enjoy the two hilarious books I found by Richard Benson. One is called F in Exams: The Very Best Totally Wrong Test AnswersΒ and F for Effort: More of the Very Best Totally Wrong Answers.

In these books, Richard has collected some gems of hilarious wrong answers. The students range in age and the test questions cover different subjects such as math, physics, history, technology, psychology, and English. Here are some of my personal favorites for best answers:

What is a nitrate?Β 

It is much cheaper than a day rate.

Give a brief explanation of the meaning of the term “hard water.”


What is the highest-frequency noise that a human can register?

Mariah Carey.

Explain the concept of homeostasis.

It is when you stay at home all day and don’t go out.

Give an example of a step-up transformer.

An exercise machine.

Describe the term “stakeholder.”

A vampire hunter. Buffy being the most famous.

Name the smaller rivers that run into the Nile.

The Juveniles.

What is having only one spouse called?


But even funnier are the sentences that little kids have written. I’m giving them a break, though, I doubt these misfit sentences were intentional.

The teacher likes to snivel around on a black chair in his office.

I luv J.K. Rolling, she is my heroin.

Every morning dad has a slice of dread before he goes to work.

The most famus of the ten commandments is thou shalt comment on a duckery.

I’ll have to be more careful in future, I think. I wouldn’t want to accidentally comment on a duckery. Blog readers, got a great worst answer for a test you’ve taken?



Filed under Writing

36 responses to “When a bad answer makes for a great book

  1. I don’t know if this is best or worst but it’s memorable, even 10 years later. I had a student, whenever he didn’t know the answer, would write “beef.” No kidding. It was his one size fits all.

  2. What a charmingly funny post!

  3. I love this stuff. Multiple choice exams have taken the fun out of wrong answers.

  4. Loved these. J. K. Rolling is my heroin too. I do get withdrawals and have to reread the Harry Potter books every few years to feed my addiction.

  5. The Buffy comment cracked me up but I think the Juveniles comment had to be thought out, it’s just too good. πŸ˜€

  6. No worst answer comes to mind, but great post! But I do have a funny answer story from my niece “Betsy” she and I were out for dinner, her sister “Debbie” was at a function with her parents. About mid-way through dinner and coloring she got a real sour look on her face, so I asked her what was wrong? To which she told me: “I thought of a bad word.” So I said:”It’s ok, tell me what you were thinking, you won’t be in trouble since you didn’t say it.” With a sad look in her eyes and a moment’s hesitation she replied: “C’mon guys!” Which what her mom says to her and her sister when they get into trouble…

  7. travelrat

    Well, there was the kid who thought Einstein’s given name was Frank ….

  8. A long time ago a colleague of mine teaching body systems was getting ready for a dissection lab. The focus was to be on the reproductive system so he wanted to make sure the students knew the function of the parts they were to examine. When the focus of attention became the testicles the student who enthusiastically raised her hand proceeded to explain how these organs were vital to providing the body with sufficient oxygen.
    So, the real question then became, “how do you field that one and still maintain the student’s dignity?”
    He did. My friend Joe S. is nothing if not tactful…

  9. I got both of these books for my father-in-law. He is an adjunct professor and, well, he could relate.

  10. Haha, marvellous! πŸ™‚

  11. Hahaha!!! The “comment on a duckery” actually made laugh out loud!

    • In the words of the immortal Donald O’Connor of the movie “Singin’ In The Rain,”…..”Make ’em laugh, make ’em laugh”….I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for visiting. πŸ™‚

  12. Isn’t having only one spouse called Monotony? πŸ˜• (LOL I’ve no idea btw)

  13. I used to be a college professor. Trust me, I’ve seen some doozies and even blogged about them!

  14. I’d like to see you blog about your comments on a duckery. Hilarious post, I’m still laughing!

  15. My friend Seth teaches middle school history and he would just LOVE those books – I will have to make a mental note to tell him about them! He’s told me some funny answers he’s gotten from his students in the past, but of course I can’t remember any of them before caffeine.

    The only funny wrong test “answer” I can recall being told about was in high school, a cautionary tale in 10th grade about the AP European History exam. Our teacher told us about a kid who had taken the test in the past and written a brilliant essay – 5 material – about Austria and the Hapsburgs, and gotten every last detail correct except for one recurring problem: he referred to Austria as “Australia.” Oops. (Come to think of it, that might have been a fictional tale the teacher made up to scare us into proofreading. But I believed it at the time and it worked! I proofread my essays like a maniac on that test.)

  16. I love this! I haven’t received any really ridiculous answers to test questions, but you may have just inspired me to write a post on the hilarity that can result when students rely too heavily on spell check. πŸ™‚

  17. I discovered this book in the waiting room at my doctor’s office and was snorting laughter. I was almost hoping for a longer wait so I could keep reading! Thank you for the reminder and a little giggle this morning! Some of these kids should get half-credit for creativity!

  18. The funniest post I’ve ever read! Still wiping away the tears πŸ˜€
    I liked the Mariah Carey one a lot.


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