EXAM 1 INFORMATION

Exam 1 is scheduled for Tuesday, February 12. Students will take their exam in their regularly scheduled classroom at their regularly scheduled class time.

Students are expected to take the exam at the scheduled time. We do not plan to give makeup exams except in the direst of circumstances (serious student illness or death in the immediate family). If you have an emergency, do everything you can to contact your instructor as soon as possible. Do not wait until the next class meeting.

The test will cover Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 from the course pack, as well as sections 2.1 and 2.2.

A portion of the test may be multiple choice questions. Most, if not all, of the test will be free-response in form. The best way to study for this test is to practice the exercises in the text.

You will only need to bring a writing implement with you for the test. No paper or books are required. You are not permitted to access ANY electronic equipment during the test, so make sure that your phones are turned off and put away before the test starts. Do not plan to use your phone as a clock.

TEST SCORING:
This exam is worth 150 points of the course's possible 1,000 points. For this exam you will receive both a raw score and a scaled score. The raw score is simply the number of points that you got right on the test. You can essentially ignore this score. The scaled score is the number of points out of 150 that you have earned towards the course's possible 1,000 points. It is this scaled numeric score that is recorded. The table below shows the corresponding letter grade interpretation for the SCALED SCORE.

SCALED scoreGrade
135 - 150A
128 - 134A-
120 - 127B+
113 - 119B
105 - 112B-
98 - 104C+
90 - 97C
83 - 89C-
75 - 82D
0 - 74F

Note that it is the SCALED NUMERIC score that is recorded. So there really is very little difference between a score of 119 and a score of 120 even though one is called a "B+" and the other a "B."

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs):

May I please, please, please use a calculator?
No.

How much simplification must I do for my answers?
The student is expected to carry out simple, obvious, arithmetic and algebraic expressions (Write "5" instead of leaving the answer "2 + 3" or write "c" instead of "ac/a"). Unless the directions specify otherwise, the student does not have to simplify complex expressions.

What form should my answers take?
Besides the simplification described in the previous question, the form of answers is not important as long as the answer is correct. Specifically, it is not necessary to rationalize denominators. Of course if the directions on a test request a specific format, then that answer is required to be in that format and credit may not be given for other formats.

Do I have to show my work?
Yes. Only very short, simple problems are excluded from this. A correct answer with incomplete support is not worth much, if anything. Conversely, an incorrect answer with mostly satisfactory support will receive some credit. "Guess and check" as a problem-solving method, in particular, will not be rewarded with many points in most circumstances.

If I know how to do a problem, but it isn't the way we did it in class, is that OK?
Any way that you can do a problem, IF your method is correct AND IF your answer is sufficiently supported, is OK. AN EXCEPTION to this is if the directions on the test specify that a particular method be used...then only that method will be acceptable.

What is the best way to prepare for this test?
Make sure that you can do the homework problems. All students in all sections have the same set of homework problems. So, the test will be designed to be comparable to the homework in content and level of difficulty. If a problem is on the homework it is "fair game" to have a comparable one on the test.
Another good strategy is to go over any quizzes that you have had in your class. Make sure you could get a perfect score if you were to take them again.

Are there practice tests from previous semesters to look at?
No. Previous semesters' tests rarely coincide with the material covered on tests for the current semester. It is better to practice with homework problems.

Is there a 'curve' on the test?
No. There is no predetermined quota or even an objective of how many or of what percentage of the students receive a certain grade. So, in this sense the tests are not curved. However, we do take the raw scores from each test and SCALE them to the 150 point grading scheme described in the chart above.

OK, so how is this "rescaling" done?
There are two grade boundaries that we watch very closely: the boundary between D and F and the boundary between C and C-. The first boundary distinguishes between students who have met a minimal standard and can receive credit for the course, and those who have not met the minimal standard. The second boundary distinguishes between students who have mastered the material sufficiently that they should be able to go on and take calculus, and those who have not attained sufficient skill to expect to be successful in calculus. For each test we determine what minimal raw scores need to be attained in order that a student has met these levels of competency. These raw scores are then scaled to 50% (minimal D) or 60% (minimal C). We will not be flexible and "curve" these boundaries.

The other grade distinctions do not have such significant definition and we will be more flexible in making the scale cut-offs for these. Some of these cut-offs could be influenced by the distribution of scores on the test.

We will make every attempt to be fair and consistent. Besides being fair and consistent among all of the students taking the course now, this fairness and consistency must carry over, to the best extent possible, with students who previously took the same course, and with those who will subsequently take it.

When is the make-up test?
We do not regularly plan for a make-up test. In cases of true student illness, some accommodation can be made. If for any reason you miss your test you need to notify your instructor IMMEDIATELY. Do not wait until the next class meeting. Do not, in fact, wait at all.