A bubble sheet is a form often used for school tests. Rather than being read and graded by a teacher or assistant, it is graded automatically by a machine. Most bubble sheets are used for multiple-choice tests. If the machine cannot read the answer you have marked, you may be scored incorrectly. It is very important to fill a bubble sheet with care if you want the grade you deserve. Here's how to fill a bubble sheet:
- Bring the right tools to class. To fill in a bubble sheet, you'll need a pencil (NOT a pen) and a good eraser. Most bubble sheet machines cannot read ink from pens. If you use a pen rather than a pencil, your test sheet may appear blank when it is fed into the machine. A good eraser will help you if you change your mind about one of the answers. If your previous mark is not erased completely, it may count against you as a wrong answer.
- Follow the instructions on the form. Every bubble sheet comes with specific instructions printed at the top. Be sure to read and follow all of the instructions. Too often, students skip these because they want to spend their valuable time on the test itself, but if you fill a bubble sheet incorrectly, it can really cost you.
- Fill out your information first. Many bubble forms have a section at the top for you to fill in your name, and possibly other identifying information. Don't forget to do this, or the grading machine and your teacher won't know who the test sheet belongs to.
- Fill in the bubbles correctly. Each bubble on the sheet stands for one answer. Find the answer you want to mark for the test question you are currently working on. Then, use your pencil to fill in the “bubble” (circle or oval) for that answer. Fill in the bubble completely, but do not make stray marks outside of the bubble or scribble outside the lines in an effort to fill in the bubble completely.
- Double-check your work. Make sure that the bubble you have marked corresponds to the answer you wanted to choose, on the correct question. It is easy to misaligned your answers, perhaps by forgetting to mark one answer. As a result, all of the following answers could be marked on the wrong line, causing them all to be incorrect. Every five questions or so, make sure that you are marking your answer on the correct line to avoid having to go back and fix the entire sheet.
- Erase any stray marks. Once you get to the end of the test, double-check your bubble sheet to make sure there are no stray marks and that all of the bubbles you meant to mark have been filled in completely.
A bubble sheet makes grading easy for your teacher, but it can be a bit impersonal. There are no half-points for partial answers, and there are no eyes looking at your paper to determine what you meant to mark. The computerized scanner can only determine your grade based on what's on the bubble sheet, which is why it is crucial to fill a bubble sheet correctly.