• Question: Do you think a succesful science written test reflects how good a scientist is?

    Asked by doctorwhomadperson to Davie, Gemma, James P, James V, Nuala on 28 Jun 2012.
    • Photo: James Verdon

      James Verdon answered on 28 Jun 2012:

      Hi doctorwho,

      Do you mean how good at exams we are? Doing actual science is very different to doing exams, so while being good at exams might indicate someone will be a good scientist, there are plenty of good scientists who only got average exam marks.

    • Photo: James Pope

      James Pope answered on 28 Jun 2012:

      Hi doctorwhomadperson.

      While some of my friends who were good at exams are also doing PhD’s and doing excellent work, most of the PhD students and scientists I know, are people who were never that strong at exams, but were very good at doing the written coursework and the experiments.

      I think it doesn’t matter whether you are great at the exams or not, so long as you understand what you are doing and you are good at the coursework for the work you are going. Ultimately though, if you are not that great at exams, work hard and getting better as exams are so important in GCSE and A-Level courses, to make sure you have the chance to do science in the future!

    • Photo: Gemma Purser

      Gemma Purser answered on 29 Jun 2012:

      Hi doctorwhomadperson.
      I think it would depend on the questions on the written test.
      If they were straight forward questions about science facts then this just reflects how good your memory is at remembering facts and not necessarily a good reflection on how good a scientist you are.

      If the question was about a scenario and you had to work your way through the problem to come up with a solution then this is a good question because that’s what scientists have to do everyday and it would give a good indication of how you approach things and if you can think around problems enough to be a scientist.

    • Photo: Davie Galloway

      Davie Galloway answered on 3 Jul 2012:

      hi doctorwhomadperson,

      certianly not … i know lots of people (including myself) who were never great at the written exams but excelled in the practical work and in the coursework … so achieving great marks in written tests isn’t a marker for how good a scientist you are or will become.