Thursday, May 06, 2010

Exam Omens

  1. A student emails me to ask where the exam is. Final exams are almost always in the same classroom where the class meets. In addition, I mentioned the exam logistics in class several times. Oh, and it's on the syllabus.

  2. A few days ago a student made an appointment to meet me in my office today to go over "just a few" questions from the old exams. On more than half the problems he didn't even know how to start them. And these were pretty standard questions like, "Find the area between the x-axis and the curve f(x) = 4 - x2 when x is between 0 and 1." He did not know how we find the area under a curve. He didn't know how to get started on a really basic max-min problem (not a word problem -- I gave a function and an interval and asked for the absolute max/min). He didn't know how to find the slope of a tangent line. The mind boggles. The notes for each class begin with a list of vocab and calculations covered in that lecture. The textbook has a fucking index. Hell, throw the problem into WolframAlpha, hope for the best, and click the "show steps" button. Dude is screwed when I give a number to plug in, as he can't tell if it's an x or a y. He was pissed that I wouldn't do the problems for him. If they put in half the work that I did, they'd all be doing much better in this class.

  3. More email from students. When is the exam? Stu checked everywhere and can't figure this out. Apparently everywhere except the syllabus, the online gradebook, his class notes, and the registrar's web page.