Listening Test – Strike out the wrong answer, don’t overwrite on the Question Paper

A snippet of classroom conversation between me and a student, Devi.

Sreedhar: Yesterday in the Listening Test, you made an avoidable error. Can you spot it? (Handing the question paper and the answer sheet to the student)
Devi going through the question paper
Devi: Is it question 8?
Sreedhar: Yes it is.
Devi: The answer is COMP4SS.com and I wrote it as COMPASS.COM
Sreedhar: Exactly. While listening you got the answer correctly, is that right?
Devi: Yes, I have actually written the correct answer on the question paper but while transferring it to the answer paper, I have made a mistake.
Sreedhar: True. Why do you think that has happened?
Devi: Due to time pressure?
Sreedhar: Not exactly. You got ten minutes to transfer and it would normally take you 3-4 minutes to transfer, so where is the time pressure?
Devi: I wrongly interpreted the answer.
Sreedhar: Yeah, why did that happen?
Devi: Because I overwrote the answer.
Sreedhar: Exactly. Overwriting is a bad habit. It creates confusion when you try to read it after some time. You had written ‘COMPASS’ first, then you overwrote on the ‘A’ to make it ‘4.’ But when transferring it you interpreted it as COMPASS instead of COMP4SS. What is the way to avoid it?
Devi: Just strike and write again?
Sreedhar: Would that make it clearer?
Devi: Yes it would. There would be no confusion.
Sreedhar: Can you do that now and show me?
Student strikes the overwritten answer and writes the correct answer.
Sreedhar: Is that clear now?
Devi: Yes, it’s clear now. There will be no confusion if I strike out the wrong answer and write the correct one. No overwriting on the question paper.
Sreedhar: Excellent, that is the way to go.
Back to Tips on Listening Test