Monday, August 19, 2013

Short Answer Exam Technique

If confronted with an exam question of the following form:

"Two friends are having a discussion. Simon say that [ABC]. Sally, on the other hand, claims that [XYZ]. Who do you agree with? Why?"

and you are unsure of the answer, assume that the female is right. Social rules in exams follow television ads - in a mixed sex group, the man is almost always depicted as the stupid one. This is the mirror image of the default assumption in TV ads in the 50's and 60's, where the silly housewife was the staple reason why you should buy a given product, and society seems to have been furiously overcompensating ever since.

There's another similar rule on TV - in a mixed race group of males, the white guy is depicted as the stupid one. The latter case oddly doesn't seem to feature as commonly in exams, as Marmeduke isn't frequently in discussion with Jamal. But if he were, I'd bet that way too.

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