College Exams Show Poor WWII Education

Analysis of numerous responses to college exams have shown that many students may be lacking when it comes to a working knowledge of the Second World War and other historical topics. These essays prove that many students either have not received a proper education or, for some reason or another, have simply not retained a great deal of the information they have learned. There is now a competition for educators to submit such college exams, as many of them provide a source of humor.

The lack of knowledge pertaining to the Second World War is evident from one student’s essay in particular, in which it is intimated that many have ignored Adolf Hitler’s part in the war. Of course, it is possible that this was not a lack of knowledge but rather a failed attempt at making a shocking and intelligent observation. There were many other college exams, however, which had more glaring errors. For instance, there was a student who misspelled “aerosol” as “arsehole” in an essay about the environment, while another student made a seemingly off-the-wall reference to “Catholic converters” when writing about air pollution from cars.

Hitler was not the only historical subject to be misrepresented by these essays. Another student, in writing about the tendency later in history for many nations to move away from isolationism, turned in one of the stranger college exams by equating isolated people with isolated cities, and failed to understand the interaction between the two. They made it appear as if cities and people were both independent entities with the ability to communicate with one another, the Belfast reports.

Earlier history was a problem for some students, as well. For instance, one student turned in an essay on social relations in Great Britain during the 1700s. They confused the words “interfere” and “interact.” This was one of many college exams in which people mistook one word that changed the meaning of their entire statement. In this student’s essay, it sounds as if social interactions were much more aggressive than the student intended to portray them.

These college exams were all part of the submission sent into a yearly competition offered by Times Higher Education. The magazine asks educators every year to submit examples of humorous misspellings, misunderstandings, or just plain blunders in the students’ comprehension of various subjects. While many of them are humorous, some of these college exams bring about some actual concerns regarding whether or not some students are truly receiving the education that is expected of them.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE