At least someone spoke what I would have if my English and communication skills weren't that bad! Thank you for this. The instructor which prompted me to start this thread failed many students in the past; sometimes 70% of the class. And some of those students were good in their studies. I have heard some instructors use such a policy of matching end answers only to facilitate themselves because this way they don't have to go through every step of the solution. Other thing is that if an instructor demands such high standards from his students (rather slaves) then his/her teaching capability should also meet those high standards which he/she sets himself/herself for his students. What if the instructor himself/herself sucks?! Doesn't even know how to solve a problem properly.I'll side with you to some extent, but before I do, I'll acknowledge SgtWookie's, someonesdad's and other's points as being very very important. In the real world, the right answer is critical.

But there is another side to the story. First, students aren't working on real problems that have to be correct, or else life, limb and property are lost. Second, in the real world, problems are not solved in 15 minutes and there is adequate opportunity to check and recheck the answer and the method (which is just as important) and to work more methodically and sure-footedly with a calm mind, in the first place. Third, University courses often have 2 exams only with only 4 problems on each test. A student is capable of making one minor mistake on each exam, and they go from an A to a C in grade. If they make two minor mistakes on each exam, then they get an F. It seems unfair to me that a person who may know the material very well, but is a little absent minded, can fail. I say this because how do you compare this type of person with a slacker who fails because he put no effort in. This failure may even be the impetus to drive him/her out of school altogether either out of frustration or as university policy.

The example I'll give is my sophomore year circuits class (simple RLC circuits and Laplace transforms). I knew the circuit material very well even before I went to university, but Laplace Transforms were new to me, and I studied hard on those. The first exam had a long drawn out calculation with LaPlace transforms. I did everything correctly over three pages of calculus and algebra. Halfway through, a quantity that was cubed in the denominator of a long expression got switched to be a square by accident (so a 3 became a 2 by typographical error). So, the final answer was correct with the exception of this 2 that should have been three. So, I received 0 out of 25 points for that problem and my grade was a C for this midterm exam. On the final exam, I made 2 similar mistakes and got 50/100, which is an F. So, my grade for the class was a D, which was unusual for me.

I always felt that this grade of D did not reflect the knowledge I gained and the work I put into that class, but I didn't complain about it and never looked back. I now feel that I didn't need this D to understand the importance of getting the answer right, but who knows, maybe the lesson is buried deep and my mind, and the teacher's policy is correct.

But the bottom line is that you can't fight the system. Just do your best and take your lumps when they come. When you don't give up, you always come out the winner.

Comparing real world scenario with exams is not good, in my humble opinion. Because in real world everything is counterchecked many times. You are to some degree relaxed etc. Why do they have so many programs out there? If you are asked to find current through a 4Ω resistor when a certain voltage is applied, you may very well know that you have to use Ohm's law. But what if you make an error and use 5Ω resistor instead? Would such a student be given nil marks?!

I hope now this discussion is balanced and many arguments made in previous postings have been rebutted.

Thank you all for your time.

Best wishes

PG