499: Scantron

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Scantron
Also, after all the warnings about filling in the bubbles completely, I spent like 30 seconds on each one.
[Click comic to enlarge]
Title text: Also, after all the warnings about filling in the bubbles completely, I spent like 30 seconds on each one.

Explanation

This comic a take on the classic phrase "Remember to use a #2 pencil on the Scantron." Scantrons are standardized machine-readable papers used by students to answer multiple-choice tests. Often, the instructor will remind students to use a #2 pencil, which is the US term for the pencil hardness HB. HB pencils use a medium-hardness graphite considered ideal for Scantron use because the graphite is soft enough to leave a dark mark but hard enough to not smudge, both aspects that improve the performance of machine-readable paper.

The joke is that the student used a #3 pencil, which has a slightly harder graphite rating, on the Scantron as opposed to a #2 pencil, causing the grading machine to explode and harm some characters off-panel.

The title-text refers to the instruction to "fill in all the bubbles completely." This again improves the performance of machine-readable paper. Randall states that he spent an inordinate amount of time making sure his markings were perfect because he had been warned so many times to do so.

Transcript

[A classroom scene. There are two desks, and the front one is occupied by the STUDENT. The TEACHER stands panel right facing the student.]
Miss Lenhart (Teacher): Okay class, I've turned in your exams for grading. Now --
Student: Miss Lenhart?
[View is now simply student in desk and teacher. Teacher looks horrified.]
Student: I used a #3 pencil instead of a #2. Will that mess anything up?
Miss Lenhart (Teacher): You WHAT?
[Teacher stands, covering her head, in front of an off-panel right explosion. The UNSEEN SPEAKER is off-panel right.]
<<AIEE>>
<<BLAM>>
Unseen Speaker: OH GOD!
[The student and teacher are left-panel, both looking shocked. The UNSEEN SPEAKER is still off-panel right.]
Unseen speaker: OH GOD!
Unseen speaker: I've never seen so much blood!
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