| academic honesty demands that you don't share any information about the test with students who
haven't taken it, and that you don't ask students who have already taken it
to share information with you.
Here's something that's frequently overlooked.
- Get to sleep early the night before.
The longer you stay up, the worse you'll do on the test.
- Have a good breakfast.
- Come to the test relaxed.
All the above implies that you need to be making study
a daily habit rather trying to cram 5 weeks of study into a single
Here's another very important tip.
| tests are about solving problems. Therefore, you should prepare by doing
practice problems from the ends of the chapters. You should be doing
these on a regular basis rather than waiting until the night before the
test. When you do practice problems, draw diagrams, write givens,
formulas before numbers, etc. (You can do checks mentally.) On
tests, you'll be expected to demonstrate the same problem-solving
methods as presented on the problem-solving guides. These methods should
be second nature so that you naturally carry out the steps while solving
More things you should be doing as
part of your regular study
- Review the objectives of each chapter. The objectives tell you the key concepts that you need
to know and the problem types that you need to be able to solve.
- Review the concepts by revisiting the Conceptual
Questions at the end of each chapter. Answer enough questions to feel
confident that you remember how to use the concepts.
- Check the feedback from the instructor. You
should be doing this whenever an assessment is checked or a key posted.
Avoid making the same mistakes twice as a result of not checking your
feedback. In particular...
| They're intended to lead you through the steps of a
problem in much the same way as the instructor would do an example
problem in a face-to-face class. You should have already transcribed the solutions into your notebook for study.
Now about equations...
| The equations you may start your solutions with will be provided on the cover page of the test. Any other equations that you may need to solve a problem must be derived from starter equations. Otherwise there will be a point penalty.
What kinds of problems are on tests?
Free-response problems are those that require you to show your work in order
to receive credit. If you get stuck on a part of a problem, skip
it and go on to the next. If the next part requires the answer to the
previous part, you can make up a number for that part and use it from then
on. Or you can simply use algebraic symbols. Solutions for consecutive parts are scored based on the
consistency of your methods. By the way, if you do make up a number,
write a brief note to the teacher to that effect. In order to save time
on multiple-part problems, don't redraw diagrams and rewrite givens from a
previous part. If you derive an equation for one part, you don't have to
derive it again for successive parts.
For conceptual questions, explain your answers in sentence form in the
same way as expected for conceptual questions that you do as homework.
Lab problems are those that require you to
do such things as design a mini-experiment, carry out measurements or use
data provided to you, derive an equation that applies to the experiment, and
carry out a calculation. Lab problems may also require you to use methods of
analysis from labs that you've done.
It's a good idea to bring a watch, since you may not be in a position to see
the wall clock easily. Don't get bogged
down in a problem and then be unable to finish the test. The most
common mistake that students make on the first test is not finishing because
they spend too much time on one problem and don't leave themselves time for
before you turn in your paper.
you've done all the problems. Check for sign and algebra mistakes.
A quick way to identify algebra mistakes is to check that your units work
out. Make sure that your starting equations are correct. You'd
be surprised how many students transcribe equations incorrectly from the
approved list to their papers. On a test, you don't have to show your
checks unless the test instructions say to do so.