More Exam Howlers

A while back I revealed that I had come across a notebook belonging to my old English teacher, which had been digitised by his son and put online. It was from the days when he was working for the University of Cambridge examinations board, mostly in Africa but occasionally in other countries, marking the exam papers of sixteen-year-olds. Some of the answers made him chuckle, and he began to record the funnier ones. Here is my second selection from his book:

  • Some of the patients were plastered, and some were hanging from the ceiling
  • [Regarding the exotic game of table tennis] Two coloured & carved planks with red, green or blue rubber is used; they are flat, and are in the shape of a gourd when looked at upside down
  • A footballing team has eleven players on each of the two sides; there is a gall-kipper, 2 backmen, 3 half back-men, a left out & a left in, a centre forward-man, a right in and a right out. These five centre forwardmen pass the balls to themselves.
  • She lay there semi-naked, semi-conscious, and semi-hopeful
  • He closed his eyes in a gesture of despair; he contorted his face, praying for strength, & then lifted his leg, aiming it towards the horizon
  • These peace-loving animals start their life as small, furry balls, & they grow up and with any luck will find a mate, & have small, furry balls themselves
  • My aunt has been unduly disturbed of late, having two small children through the utter carelessness of the local dustman
  • Death is one thing that does not affect people till several days later
  • The dream in every newly-wed couple’s head is to marry
  • The octopus wrapped his testicles round the diver & strangled him



About ramblesofawriter

Writer, thinker, tea drinker.
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