Frequently Asked Questions about Physics 101

  1. How do I compute my grade?
    • This is answered on the course syllabus that was provided on the first day of class. You may also find a link to the syllabus on the course homepage.

                 Course Points = 140 x (Exam 1)
                                 + 140 x (Exam 2) 
                                 + 140 x (Exam 3) 
                                 + 140 x (Final Exam) 
                                 + 50 x (Lab Exam 1) 
                                 + 50 x (Lab Exam 2) 
                                 + 100 x (Lab Experiments) 
                                 + 80 x (Clicker Grade) 
                  Course Points:  A(720-800), B(640-719), C(560-639), D(480-559), F(0-479)
  2. Why is the letter grade for my lab the same as the letter grade for the lecture?
    • At the end of the semester, the lecture and lab grades are combined as shown on the syllabus and the same grade will be recorded for both lecture and lab on your transcript. This is described on the course syllabus that was provided on the first day of class.

  3. What is the purpose of the online homework?
    • The homework offers example questions that will hopefully help each student prepare for the exams. It is provided to help guide you through the chapters. The homework grades will replace zero's or low clicker grades at the end of the semester. Note that it is possible to score 105% in the class even without turning in the homework.

  4. Are there extra credit opportunities?
    • The clicker grades will be used to earn bonus points as described in Section V of the syllabus.

  5. I thought that 2 lab grades were going to be dropped and low clicker grades were going to be replaced with optional homework, but I still see zeros. Can you explain?
    • Yes, zeros are shown online so that you can see all of your grades. That way you can see what is dropped or replaced. The averages do reflect dropped or replaced grades. You can verify this using a calculator or by visiting your instructor.

  6. Is there anything that I can do after the final exam to help my grade?
    • Once the semester is over, there is nothing that can be done to improve the grade. It would not be fair to the class to allow individuals to do makeup work or extra credit after the final exam.
    • Note that there will be no "rounding up" or "bumping up" of the grades at the end of the semester. As stated on the syllabus 720 points and above is an A, and 640 to 719 is a B, etc. Additional curving or rounding is not necessary since the grades are already inflated by the following:
      • half of the clicker grades are bonus points (see syllabus)
      • homework can allow you to replace low clicker grades
      • dropped lab grades

  7. How can I make good grades in Physics 101?
    • Reading the chapters will help the most. Spend 1-2 hours reading for every hour of lecture. This means that you should read the chapters on the same day that you have class perhaps in the evenings. Forgetting to read the book can lead to bad results.
    • Attend class. We cover at least 10% to 15% of the exam material each day in class. So missing one day could lower your exam score by one letter grade since you miss the material that will appear on the exams.
    • Complete the online homework. Memorizing answers may not help. The quizzes and homework test your understanding and show where improvements are needed.
    • As the exams draws near, go back to the chapters and look at the figures in the book and read their captions. Then use the summaries at the end of the chapter the day before the exam.
    • There are also questions at the ends of each chapter. If these suggestions do not work for you, then you can visit with me during office hours and I can make more suggestions.
    • If you have problems in trying to comprehend this material, please do not hesitate to come and visit with me. I have truly enjoyed working with students and often I have found I am most effective with them when they have brought their questions and problems to me in my office.

  8. How do students that perform well in Physics 101 study?
    • I've emailed a few students that have done well on exams and asked them how they prepared for the exam. Here are a few responses:
    • Student 1: "I guess the thing that helps the most is to read the chapters. I read them at least 3 times before the exam, two times intensively and then just once more at a brief glance to jog my memory. This past exam was a little more difficult to study for because i didn't understand the chapters that well, but it still helped. The other thing is just going to class. You explain things in an easy manor and when I'm reading the chapters the night before the test and the morning of the test, i refer back to my notes and it helps to make things a little clearer. I hope this helps some. These are just things that I have learned to do over the past year and even if the grades don't come out as well as I like, I know that I've tried my best and there is satisfaction in that. "
    • Student 2: "I run off the study guide earlier in the day and devote an evening to filling it out and studying it. I am pretty comfortable with the material (as much as anyone is, I guess) and so that is all I need to do. I am one of those people who learn by writing stuff down and studying it, so after I fill out the study guide I usually copy the terms/ideas onto another sheet of paper--it's kind of like making a word bank for myself and then learning the definitions. I also make sure I get at least 8 hrs of sleep before the test and either get lunch or breakfast before I come to class."
    • Student 3: "All I really do is go over the notes from class several times before the test as well as skim the chapters and look at all of the key terms. The online quizzes are beneficial, but they have to be done the right way, by actually going through each problem and answering them all. It helps to use your book with the quiz, that way you can read some while your looking for the answer to the question. I guess that's really all i do. The tests aren't that bad and if you listen in class, you're alright on the test. I guess it's as hard as you make it. Hope this is an alright answer."
    • Student 4: "Doing to online quizzes and reading chapters before class have been giving me A's."
    • Student 5: "I think it's a combination of many things. Attendance is important, so that you can take good notes to study from. Most of my studying before the exam comes from the notes. Reading the assigned chapters and underlining as you go, helps as well. When taking the quizzes I try to make hundreds the first time around by looking up the questions I don't know the answers to, so that I don't have to retake the quizzes. The study guide helps a lot. I use the study guide as an outline. I write down everything that I can find and think will be useful to study about each of the topics on the guide. I then use those notes refresh my memory, just before the test. I hope this helps. It's just what I normally do for most of my classes. "

Feel free to visit your instructor if you have more questions.