Stabilo has built itself a niche by making and marketing pens specifically for kids. The Stabilo Exam Grade Pen takes that concept a step further by aiming for one particular kids’ activity – taking standardized school tests.
At its most basic, the Exam Grade is an ordinary ballpoint stick pen.
But Stabilo created this pen to be used for filling in those little dots on computer-graded exams. Because of that, the ink is designed to flow more evenly than in typical ballpoints, leaving no gaps or skips that might affect the way a scanner reads the test.
In fact, after covering several pages with continuous 0.4 mm lines from the Exam Grade, I couldn’t find any skips at all.
Stabilo markets the pen in Asia, where it seems to be popular, as the never-ending writer. On the barrel of the pen, there is window that shows the ink level, with increments marked in the number of test pages remaining. If the markers are to be believed, a full pen is good for 80 pages.
The physical design of the pen is fairly unremarkable, just a rounded, thin barrel with a dimpled rubber grip, but the ink level indicators and motif of white dots on a black field give it some style.
The one I was given to review had a small rubber nub on the grip that appeared to be part of the design. I couldn’t find any information on it, but given Stabilo’s penchant for building in finger placement, I assume it has to do with that.
The pen’s cap fit snugly and snapped into place with a satisfying click. The refill was easy to remove and replace (from either end of the pen, which was nice).
As with most thin stick pens, I did not find it particularly comfortable, but it would be just fine in small hands scribbling feverishly to finish a test in time.
The Exam Grade comes in blue and black ink.