1. ITV Report

Bizarre exam howlers baffle university lecturers

Exam pressure can create some odd perspectives. Photo: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Some of the oddest leaps in logic made by university students under the pressure of exams have been entered by their lecturers to the Times Higher Education magazine's annual howlers competition.

John Milliken, a lecturer in education at the University of Ulster put forward the claim by one student that "the (hole in the) ozone layer was caused by arseholes".

He probably meant aerosols, but then…maybe not.

And while environmentalists may be left pondering the state of the earth's atmosphere, historians could be questioning all they know about Hitler's role in the Second World War after one student reliably revealed that the his role in the conflict and Holocaust "is often overlooked".

Another student, writing about the future of transporation in a paper on vehicle emissions, appeared to take some divine inspiration, predicting:

In future all cars [will] be fitted with Catholic converters.

Britta Osthaus, senior lecturer in psychology at Canterbury Christ Church University, who teaches a course on the mental capacities of animals, was surprised to read that “octopuses are intelligent because they have been found to be able to predict the winners of football matches during the World Cup”.

Paul the Octopus. Intelligent predictor of football matches in 2010. Credit: Reuters

An English literature student had some interesting theories on the opportunities afforded to writers in London during the 18th century. Writing about the creation of the Spectator publication in 1711, the University of Exeter scholar suggested:

Within these coffeehouses, men from all different parts of the world could interfere with each other.

Another, summarising the impact of globalisation on populations during a geography exam at Southampton University said:

Globalisation has led to a growing interconnectedness between small-scale people and larger-scale cities across the globe.

The entries will be judged, along with hundreds others, and the winners will be announced in next week's Times Higher Education magazine.