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Giving more than one answer when required to only give one

Hi everybody, I was doing a test on PMT when I gave two answers to a biology question when only required to give one. (For context, the question was:
a) New drugs are tested in a laboratory before they are trialled on people.
Name one thing that new drugs are tested on in a laboratory?)
I answered cells and tissues, and both of these were correct, but when a question specifically asks for one thing to be named and you name two, will you lose marks?
I appreciate this question sounds quite silly, but it was a genuine question I had and nobody on the web seems to have asked it!
Thanks😁
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by gojjam
Hi everybody, I was doing a test on PMT when I gave two answers to a biology question when only required to give one. (For context, the question was:
a) New drugs are tested in a laboratory before they are trialled on people.
Name one thing that new drugs are tested on in a laboratory?)
I answered cells and tissues, and both of these were correct, but when a question specifically asks for one thing to be named and you name two, will you lose marks?
I appreciate this question sounds quite silly, but it was a genuine question I had and nobody on the web seems to have asked it!
Thanks😁


As far as I know, no, you won’t be penalised. However, in the future make sure to only put one answer. In the event you put two, and one is wrong, you might be penalised, even if the other is correct.
Original post by gojjam
Hi everybody, I was doing a test on PMT when I gave two answers to a biology question when only required to give one. (For context, the question was:
a) New drugs are tested in a laboratory before they are trialled on people.
Name one thing that new drugs are tested on in a laboratory?)
I answered cells and tissues, and both of these were correct, but when a question specifically asks for one thing to be named and you name two, will you lose marks?
I appreciate this question sounds quite silly, but it was a genuine question I had and nobody on the web seems to have asked it!
Thanks😁

As an examiner, I can advise you to never do this. For AQA at least, a 'list principle' is in operation for science exams to deal with multiple response. Broadly, an incorrect response cancels out a correct response. So, if it's a one-mark question and you're asked for a single response (to give a definition or something) and you give two answers:

1) Two correct responses would give a mark of 1 - both are correct, so one is taken as the 'answer'.
2) One correct and one incorrect answer leads to a mark of zero. It's +1 for the correct answer, -1 for the incorrect answer = 0 marks.,
3) Two incorrect answers lead (obviously) to a mark of zero.

In the example you've given, you're fortunate to have given two correct answers, so that fits into 1) above. However, if you'd said 'cells and your mom', it would be +1 for 'cells', -1 for 'your mom' - result 0.

Thus, never give two answers where you know at least one which is correct - you risk inadvertently putting down an incorrect answer which cancels out the correct one and having your marks reduced as a consequence. The rationale for this is obvious when you think about a question like 'Name the cellular process by which organisms grow (1 mark)'. The answer is 'mitosis', but a weak student could vomit out 'mitosis' and 'meiosis' knowing that it was one of these, but not actually sure which. Were the list principle detailed above not in operation, this candidate would end up scoring 1 mark for that hypothetical question without clearly demonstrating that they know the answer to it, which is clearly not fair.
Reply 3
Original post by Reality Check
As an examiner, I can advise you to never do this. For AQA at least, a 'list principle' is in operation for science exams to deal with multiple response. Broadly, an incorrect response cancels out a correct response. So, if it's a one-mark question and you're asked for a single response (to give a definition or something) and you give two answers:

1) Two correct responses would give a mark of 1 - both are correct, so one is taken as the 'answer'.
2) One correct and one incorrect answer leads to a mark of zero. It's +1 for the correct answer, -1 for the incorrect answer = 0 marks.,
3) Two incorrect answers lead (obviously) to a mark of zero.

In the example you've given, you're fortunate to have given two correct answers, so that fits into 1) above. However, if you'd said 'cells and your mom', it would be +1 for 'cells', -1 for 'your mom' - result 0.

Thus, never give two answers where you know at least one which is correct - you risk inadvertently putting down an incorrect answer which cancels out the correct one and having your marks reduced as a consequence. The rationale for this is obvious when you think about a question like 'Name the cellular process by which organisms grow (1 mark)'. The answer is 'mitosis', but a weak student could vomit out 'mitosis' and 'meiosis' knowing that it was one of these, but not actually sure which. Were the list principle detailed above not in operation, this candidate would end up scoring 1 mark for that hypothetical question without clearly demonstrating that they know the answer to it, which is clearly not fair.

I see now, massive thanks for answering in depth and clearing up the matter. I concede the question was quite silly in all honesty, but I appreciate the response nonetheless👍.
Original post by gojjam
I see now, massive thanks for answering in depth and clearing up the matter. I concede the question was quite silly in all honesty, but I appreciate the response nonetheless👍.


No problem! And no - it's not a silly question at all, it's actually a very sensible question which I wish more people would ask so they didn't end up throwing away marks unnecessarily. :smile:

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