Rumors abound the rubbing lip balm on a Scantron test sheet will create a perfect score.

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Published22 December 2006

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Our deep ingrained and also devoutly cherished need to think in the chimera of “something for nothing” freebies manifests itself in this widely-believed little bit of class lore. According to the behind-the-hand whispers of hopeful pupils native grade college through college and university, Scantron machines deserve to be fooled right into recording false confident results on the check sheets processed through them once those sheets have been treated with a selection of lip products, including ChapStick, Carmex, lip gloss, and all-purpose Vaseline petroleum jelly.

Sometimes the rumor is details as to whereby on the answer paper the additive is to be stealthily swiped (e.g., over the bubbles themselves, or along the black marks the resemble a bar password along the sheet’s side), yet sometimes the isn’t, leaving the advantage-seeking test-taker at a loss as to where that or she is an alleged to apply the slippery goo:

I am writing to ask around a rumor that I’ve heard since probably primary school school. In California, every student have to take a standardization test each year of school. In 8th grade, a rumor spread across our college that if you applied chapstick to your answer paper (which were an alleged to be bubbled in v #2 pencil) that all the answers would be significant as correct. Mine boyfriend stated that that heard the rumor from classmates at his school as well. Can this it is in true?

Around mine high school, the popular theory was that if you put chapstick down the scoring area (where the computer system marks the wrong inquiries with red lines) the the computer system would score the test as perfect. I never ever attempted this, however as far as I can figure out, if you filled in the box at the peak of the test labled ‘key’, the computer would assume the your test to be the teacher key. Too negative for every the human being behind you, though.

You know exactly how when you take it a test you have to use among those scantron things? Well, the scantrons are an extremely sensitive. Simply a smudge have the right to turn a best answer right into a not correct one and (supposedly) a dorn one into a right one.

There’s these small black dashes alongside each ABCDE/FGHIJ and, if you put lip balm (vaseline, chapstick, whatever) on every dash (running her greased finger down the side of the scantron) you’ll mess up the scantron and each of her answers will certainly be significant right.

While we don’t know how long this belief has been component of the canon of college student lore, sightings of it have showed up on the net in the mid-1990s. The believed and acted upon, too: a variety of people have actually reported seeing fellow test-takers attempt the ruse.

Yet the plan doesn’t work. Scantron equipments optically feeling marks do on the forms passed with them, comparing the bubbles darkened by test-takers come those of the ideal “answer keys” because that each test. If anything, added or extraneous point out on check sheets much more likely note a an outcome opposite to the one sought by the cheater: questions answered properly will it is in scored together incorrect.

Attempts to transform how Scantron Optical note Recognition (OMR) machines assess test creates (such as coloring in areas of the kind in enhancement to or in ar of the price bubbles) will normally prompt the device to spit the end the form, through a message to the instructor that “Read Error: Hand Grade.” Hand-scoring the suspect creates generally bring to light every little thing measures (e.g., ChapStick) the cheater to be attempting come use.

Lore about supposed techniques of beating the Scantron an equipment is not minimal to the smearing the lip products on test forms. One fellow swears approximately 1965 he encountered a rumor the connecting all the point out on the next of the sheet through a pencil or pen would develop the magic perfect score. An additional person reported in 1997 that while in college he’d heard shading answers an extremely lightly with a number #2 pencil would defeat the system.

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These methods likewise fail to administer the quick and easy “A” students yearn for. Indeed, had any of these widely-rumored methods ever before worked, the device would long since have been modified to remove the loopholes. The one truism about a schoolyard mystery is that it no remain secret very long.