Does the thought of taking tests fill you with terror? Probably. Classes haven't even begun for us yet, and I'm already thinking about tests. We're in faculty in-service meetings this week on campus and they have been excellent - very helpful and thought-provoking! Next week we'll be working in our offices getting our courses ready to go. Then after several days of course registration, classes will begin September 3. Part of teaching is writing and grading tests. But tests aren't limited just to the realms of academia. Many potential employees have to take tests to show their competencies for the jobs they'd like to land.
Here's a story about a man in that very situation.
Tom is applying for a job as a signalman for the local railroad, and is told to meet the inspector at the signal box.
Tom seems like a good prospect, and the inspector decides to give Tom a pop quiz. He starts off by asking, "What would you do if you realized that two trains were heading towards each other on the same track?"
Tom says, "I would switch one train to another track."
"What if the lever broke?" asks the inspector.
"I'd run down to the tracks and use the manual lever," answers Tom.
"What if that had been struck by lightning?" challenges the inspector.
"Then," Tom continues, "I'd run back up here and use the phone to call the next signal box."
"What if the phone were busy?"
"In that case," Tom argues, "I'd run to the street level and use the public phone near the station".
"What if that had been vandalized?"
Tom quickly replies, "In that case I'd run into town and get my Uncle Leo."
The puzzled inspector asks, "Why would you do that?"
"Because he's never seen a train crash!"
(So, did Tom pass the test and land the job?)
Now here's a little test for you. It appears to be a list of trick questions with obvious answers, but it really is!
The world's easiest test?
(Answers follow, but NO cheating!)
1. How long did the Hundred Years War last?
2. Which country makes Panama hats?
3. From which animal do we get catgut?
4. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5. What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6. The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7. What was King George VI's first name?
8. What color is a purple finch?
9. Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10. How long did the Thirty Years War last?
Now remember ... NO cheating!
Answers to the world's easiest test…
1. 116 years, from 1337 to 1453.
3. From sheep and horses.
4. November. The Russian calendar was 13 days behind ours.
5. Squirrel fur.
6. The Latin name was Insularia Canaria — Island of the Dogs.
7. Albert. When he came to the throne in 1936 he respected the wish of Queen Victoria that no future king should ever be called Albert.
8. Distinctively crimson.
9. New Zealand. (Chinese gooseberries is an older name for kiwifruit.)
10. Thirty years, of course! From 1618 to 1648.
If that test made you feel as dumb as it made me feel, maybe this final item about testing will make you feel like a rocket scientist (or at least a rocket surgeon…).
A college football coach had recruited a top talent for the team, but the player couldn't pass the school's entrance exam. Needing the recruit badly, the coach went to the dean and asked if the recruit could take the test orally. The dean agreed, and the following day the recruit and the coach were seated in his office.
"OK," the dean said, "What is seven times seven?"
The recruit looked terrified as he thought it over for a moment then said, "I think it's 49."
The coach immediately jumped to his feet. "Oh, come on, Dean," he begged, "give him another chance!"
Lends weight to the oxymoronic nature of the expression "sports scholarship," doesn't it? Do you have a test experience you'd like to tell about? We'd love to read about it in the comments.
"Right affections lead to right thinking, and right thinking leads to right living." - Dr. Bryan Smith
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, then the lesson afterwards.
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