"blitz the exam" (American vs British vs Australian usage)

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JDR

Senior Member
English-Australia
Hi all

The phrase "blitz the exam" in Australian English means to "ace it", to do really, really well.

In this phrase the word "blitz" is positive (like "ace"), and does not have the negative connotation associated with its derivation (blitzkrieg) such as "attack", and "assault".

I'd like to know if it has the same meaning and connotation in British and American English. It would be great to hear from the natives on this one.

Thanks
Jack
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, Jack. I'm sure not familiar with this use of "blitz" in the language of my friends and neighbors. About the only figurative use of "blitz" that I've heard over here would be "I'm blitzed", which means "I'm wasted/really stoned".
     
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    JDR

    Senior Member
    English-Australia
    Interesting. This is a quote directly from The Age (one of Australia's leading newspapers):
    "...students shouldn't expect that they can just walk in, sit down and blitz the exam..." Shows how differently we use the same language.
    How about "ace the exam"?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Interesting. This is a quote directly from The Age (one of Australia's leading newspapers):
    "...students shouldn't expect that they can just walk in, sit down and blitz the exam..." Shows how differently we use the same language.
    How about "ace the exam"?
    "Ace" is a common verb over here in talk about exams and such.
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    The loan word blitzkreig (from German) means lightning war (WRdico:- direct translation). Lightning is the only common usage I know of in UK English. The WR Dictionary gives for blitz:- "informal a sudden and concerted effort."

    GF..

    I have been known to use blitz "We need to blitz the house before mum arrives". Meaning "clear up the rubbish, clean and poiish, etc. NOW!!!!"

    I have never heard it to mean "to ace it", but then I am no Yuppie anymore.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I would understand both 'blitz' and 'ace' in this context and assume they were both positive. However I haven't heard them used in Britain.

    My immediate thought for a British expression is "He walked the exam."


    Example (13 May 2007)
    In Year 10 I walked the exam with 95% and I just found it really easy. All you needed for past exams was logic and some colouring pencils. Basically they were all questions like 'What is thermo-chromatic ink?'
    http://starrytwiglet.livejournal.com/
     

    JDR

    Senior Member
    English-Australia
    Thanks owlman5. So "ace" is common in the US. Is it all positive?
    Bevj, George. I'm not sure from your two responses whether "ace" works in UK English.
    I need a really positive term for an article I'm writing, hence the reason for my post. Any other suggestions gratefully received.

    BTW, I pretty OK with the dictionary meanings of blitz (from blitzkrieg I think, not blitzkreig), I'm more interested in the slang usage.

    Thanks heaps for your responses so far
     

    JDR

    Senior Member
    English-Australia
    Thanks Biffo. I would understand what someone meant if the said they "walked the exam", but it sounds a bit lame to my ears.:)
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Thanks owlman5. So "ace" is common in the US. Is it all positive?
    Bevj, George. I'm not sure from your two responses whether "ace" works in UK English.
    I need a really positive term for an article I'm writing, hence the reason for my post. Any other suggestions gratefully received.

    BTW, I pretty OK with the dictionary meanings of blitz (from blitzkrieg I think, not blitzkreig), I'm more interested in the slang usage.

    Thanks heaps for your responses so far
    It's always positive when you "ace" something. It means you did really well at some task.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi Jack

    I've just found this in the Cassell's Dictionary of Slang:
    blitz v 1 [...]
    2 [...]
    3 [1970s+][US campus] to perform well (in an examination)
    4 [...]


    So it looks as though it might have been used in AmE in the past.

    I've never heard "blitz an exam" myself, and I've never heard a BrE speaker use "ace an exam".
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thanks Biffo. I would understand what someone meant if the said they "walked the exam", but it sounds a bit lame to my ears.:)
    This is perhaps an example of British understatement. 'aced' sounds too much like an American movie to my ears and 'blitzed' would possibly only be used by someone who knew about World War II.

    If you want a more emphatic version then "The exam was a piece of piss!" is quite common. :D

    ______________________________________________________
    This is in contrast to, and more popular than, the polite 'piece of cake'
    Other polite ones
    'breezed through', 'sailed through'.
     
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    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    To sail through an exam, to breeze (through) an exam are both perhaps a bit more emphatic than 'walk through'.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    To ace an exam is to get an A on it. I don't think I've heard "to blitz" an exam, but then it's been a long time since I've taken an exam. :eek: I would understand it to mean "I attacked the exam" (I had studied hard, I put extra effort into answering the questions, and I think I did well).

    I find I do use blitz occasionally. I'll say things like "I'm having company this weekend? The house is a mess! I'll have to blitz-clean!" But then, I like to make up terms.
     

    JDR

    Senior Member
    English-Australia
    Hi Jack

    I've just found this in the Cassell's Dictionary of Slang:
    blitz v 1 [...]
    2 [...]
    3 [1970s+][US campus] to perform well (in an examination)
    4 [...]


    So it looks as though it might have been used in AmE in the past.

    I've never heard "blitz an exam" myself, and I've never heard a BrE speaker use "ace an exam".
    Thanks Loob. That's really interesting, so it seems that we in Aus got blitz from the US, and they've given it up while it is still common usage here!

    If you want a more emphatic version then "The exam was a piece of piss!" is quite common. :D
    Now you're talking! Or perhaps even to "kick arse on an exam".;)
    But I'm afraid I want something less divisive, when seen in print on the front cover of an article.

    Looks like "ace" works well for US, reasonably well for Aus, but not so well for UK.

    The other option I was looking at is "nail the exam" (I'm not too sure about that one myself due to the other slang use of "nail").
     

    JDR

    Senior Member
    English-Australia
    To ace an exam is to get an A on it. I don't think I've heard "to blitz" an exam, but then it's been a long time since I've taken an exam. :eek: I would understand it to mean "I attacked the exam" (I had studied hard, I put extra effort into answering the questions, and I think I did well).
    Thanks Sparky. That seals it then as far as "blitz" goes. Not only is "blitz the exam" not used in the US, but it would be misunderstood, because in Aus it means to get an A (or even better). It has nothing to do with the effort you put in, only the result.
     

    stormwreath

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm not sure I've ever heard the specific expression "to blitz an exam" in British English, but I'd understand it to mean "I dashed through the exam really quickly and hurriedly, and finished the paper a long time before the time limit". There's no necessary implication that you did well at it, just that you were fast.

    The same would apply to blitzing the cleaning - it means making a big effort to do a rush job of cleaning the house, with speed being more important than thoroughness.
     

    stormwreath

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Just to add that the British equivalent to "I blitzed the exam" or "I aced the exam " would be "I don't think the exam was too bad, actually".
    :)
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    JDR - I think that 'ace' would be readily understood by UK readers even if it does sound like dialogue from a 1950's comic strip (Flash Gordon for example) to us!

    ___________________________________________________________
    In fact it sounds rather comical to me. I'm Thinking of Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura - Pet Detective! :D
     

    JDR

    Senior Member
    English-Australia
    Just to add that the British equivalent to "I blitzed the exam" or "I aced the exam " would be "I don't think the exam was too bad, actually".
    :)
    That only works with a British or Australian accent. Try to imagine John Wayne saying that. ;)
    Sort of like "Stephen Hawking isn't too bad at physics".
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It wouldn't be obvious to me whether blitzed meant aced or tanked (failed miserably), except in context. I'd only be certain that it was extreme, one way or the other.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I'd never heard of blitzing an exam before this, and would have imagined the meaning to be negative. What about something more traditional like coming through with flying colours?
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I'd never heard of blitzing an exam before this, and would have imagined the meaning to be negative. What about something more traditional like coming through with flying colours?
    Now that's when you have passed the exam and with good marks....
    "It was a cake walk/it was a piece of cake" meant it was dead easy....

    GF..
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Bevj, George. I'm not sure from your two responses whether "ace" works in UK English.
    I just happened to know what "ace it" means in the context. Dunno why: it is not in my active vocabulary. I have no idea as to whethsr it is used in the UK.... And I don't knowlingly use much of the "other" US vernacular either... But, my total immersion days in UK English is long ago and my current English is influenced by the far side of the Pond mainly because of the plethora of US productions on the box. But I can still follow Coronation Street English without the help of a translator........ (Not that I watch that often)

    GF..

    I'm sure that my UK English is influenced by US English. For it not to be so would mean lots of very, very hard work.... Now that's a no-no.
     

    ribran

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I think there's some disagreement in AmE over what range of scores "ace" actually covers. For me, it's a 100 (or an A+, I suppose...).

    I definitely don't think of getting a 90 (which is an A) as "acing it."
     
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    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I think there's some disagreement in AmE over what range of scores "ace" actually covers. For me, it's a 100 (or an A+, I suppose...).

    I definitely don't think of getting a 90 (which is an A) as "acing it."
    I have just been looking for evidence about this. It is difficult to determine the right answer from the wrong. Some people are ademant that it is 100% and others somewhere under 100. For example http://www.answers.com/topic/ace-it "The idiom ace it, however, originated as student slang for getting an "A" on an exam or in a course but soon was extended to other successful accomplishments."

    GF..
     
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    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    In Canada, we do not use blitz an exam, but ace is very commonly used. (This is a former teacher writing.) I have also heard nail, but not often.
     
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