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My pencil broke through the scantron...big deal?

ELpell23ELpell23 Member
in General 101 karma

Something that kept me up last desk for the LSAT on monday was old and had a lot of divots in it and when I was filling out my answer sheet, my pencil slightly broke through the paper on two questions. It was just a little bit-- it wasn't like I completely messed up the entire bubble-- and I made sure to really darken the surrounding area. But I woke up last night worried that a) maybe the scantron wouldn't register those questions and b) I didn't make a mental note about which questions they were so I can't even email/call LSAC to let them know. Does anybody know how scantron grading works and whether this is actually a big deal vs. me being paranoid...


  • Shireen Bhatia-1Shireen Bhatia-1 Alum Member
    261 karma

    Hi! It sounds like you still managed to make it clear what your answer was for that bubble. Anyone who sees that will make sure that if there's an issue with the scantron to check it. When they do, they will see it. So long as its very clearly marked. I'm sure this has happened to many other people before. :) Dont worry.

  • NotMyNameNotMyName Alum Member Sage
    5320 karma

    I believe you can also request a "grading by hand". That may make sense your case if the machine does have difficulty reading it.

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma

    @jkatz1488 said:
    I believe you can also request a "grading by hand". That may make sense your case if the machine does have difficulty reading it.

    Yeah there's always this. But if your answer slightly broke through the paper (depending on how slightly) it should be ok. I used to be a TA for one of my profs and one of my few jobs was running scantrons for hours at a time. Well, it felt like hours......

    Some would be mangled and punched through pretty badly. Kids would write in the margins. RARELY was there EVER an issue. And I mean, I must have run hundreds of these scantrons.

    Modern scantrons are actually very good at what they do. They are essentially specialized optical scanners, so they "see" the form much as we do. They also use CGI algorithms that see where the marks are (even if there's a small hole) that detect between where is "marked" and where is clear/clean/unmarked. The biggest thing to worry about vis-a-vis scantrons are actually putting any dark/ scratch mark in or near a bubble in which you did not mean to. That was the only time I remember seeing any issues.

    If the LSAC uses these modern Scantrons, that I am not sure. The older non-optical ones are pretty freaking old and obsolete. So I would imagine they must use the modern optical ones. Then again, here we are taking paper tests in 2017. I think you're just letting your nerves get the best of you and you will be fine. Again, if you can afford too, hand-grading is also an option. Sometimes the money is worth the peace of mind.

  • OlamHafuchOlamHafuch Alum Member
    2326 karma

    Here's a link for info about hand-grading.

  • ELpell23ELpell23 Member
    101 karma

    Thank you everyone! I feel so much better :).

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