Students' answers so funny but so wrong

Shepherd professor writes book based on students' answers

April 23, 2010|By TIFFANY ARNOLD
  • By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer Shepherd University Professor Anders Henriksson teaches a history class at the Shepherdstown, W.Va., college. He recently authored a second book from students' test responses.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer,

Are you smarter than a college student? Find out in 10 questions or fewer with this quiz.

Acing this test should be a cinch because Shepherd University history professor Anders Henriksson has published the "answers" in his latest book, "College in a Nutskull: A Crashed Course in Higher Education" (2010, Workman Publishing Co.).

Yes, the misusage of words is intentional. And so are the misspellings and word misusage in our "quiz."

We plucked questions and answers for our "quiz" directly from Henriksson's book, the sequel to "Ignorance is Blitz," which was originally titled "Non Campus Mentis." But unlike the first book, "Crashed Course" is a compilation of actual responses to essay tests based on submissions sent from his teacher friends around the world and at U.S. colleges.

The book is organized as a study guide. Students names are not mentioned for one simple reason.

"For their protection," said Henriksson, 61, who between classes, chatted about the book.


In writing "Crashed Course," Henriksson said he wasn't trying to make a statement about the current condition of higher education. He was aiming for humor.

Sometimes students simply don't know the answer come test time. Sometimes they try to bluff their way to a correct answer. Have we not all been there?

"It's a universal moral dilemma, reacting to stress," said Henriksson, adding that he was pretty sure some of his former professors chuckled at a response or two from his own college days.

Henriksson attended University of Rochester and University of Toronto, where he would go on to teach.

He lives with his wife, Ann, in Harpers Ferry, W. Va., and has written scholarly books about Eastern European history. He's working on other scholarly books.

Shepherd students still aren't off the hook.

"I'm collecting still," Henriksson said. "This is a hobby that can't go away."

So, are you smarter than a college student? The students answers are listed on page B6.

The quiz

o Match your answer with what you think the students answered


Fill in the blanks:

1. The church sentenced nuns to ___ . This required a life of ____ .

A) nunneries, exorcisms

B) claustrophobia, celery

C) singing, high notes


2. Match the following terms with the "correct" definition:

A priori knowledge

A posteriori knowledge


Inductive logic

Deductive logic

A) lays down the rule of thump

B) things you have already prioritized

C) one way of gaining logic through ductive ways.

D) usually involves electricity

E) knowledge is knowledge that you learn while sitting down


3. Please choose the "correct" response. Tchaikovsky composed which of these songs:

A) "Madame Butterfly"

B) "Porgy and Bess"

C) "Al Dente Crockodile"

D) All of the above


6. Complete the following sentence: The Watergate Scandal was ...

A) bad.

B) when there was not enough water in the nation's capital.

C) All of the above

D) None of the above


4. Match the following artists with the "correct" description:

Christopher Robin



Van Eyck



A) Was enameled with posteresque females

B) Made the first moving pictures

C) Built St. Paul's

D) Norway's gift to art. His Bathsheba in the Bathroom stunned the art-going public.

E) Illustrated St. Francis of Mississippi

F) Painted The Marriage of Arnold Feeney


5. Which of the following statements is "correct":

A) The fact that Chinese is tonal means that it is best learned by Chinese and musicians.

B) The major difference between Middle English and Modern English resulted from the Great Bowel Shift.

C) The main language used in the United Kingdom is Arabic.

D) Only A and B

E) A, B and C are correct


7. Complete the following sentence: Volcanoes explode ...

A) when the earth has too much stuff in it.

B) because of disruptions in the Earth's core.

C) because of global warming.

Science and Technology

8. Fill in the blanks: The discovery of nuclear ___ is an example of how science can change the world. First, of course, you need to achieve critical ___ .

A) frizz, mess

B) fizz, mess

C) fission, mass


9. Which of these statements is "true":

A) The executive branch exists because Congress allows it to exist.

B) Bicameralism is where cameras are prohibited from the courtroom.

C) Every person has the right to a Jersey Trial. This is part of the dude process.

D) All of the above.


10. Which is the "correct" response to complete the following phrase:

The moon ....

A) is a small ball that rotates the earth.

B) was a chunklet that broke off from the earth.

C) None of the above

D) A and B are correct.

The correct wrong answers given by students are:

1. B

2. B, E, A, D, C

3. C

4. C, E, B, F, A, D

5. E

6. B

7. A

8. B

9. D

10. D

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