Thursday, December 11, 2008

Final grades are posted

Well, it is done. Your final grades have just been posted. If you are interested in what your final exam score was, you can check Moodle, which now has everything up to date.

General comment on the final exam: only one person changed by a letter grade after the final exam, mostly you stayed about where you were. The problems were much, much better than the multiple choice, which I sort of expected. Overall, I was pleased.

The multiple choice section of the final was scaled by about 16% upwards to enforce an average of 75%. The problems section actually had an average of exactly 75%, so no scaling was necessary - good work! The final exam grade is then the average of the scaled multiple choice and the problems grade. Below is a histogram of the overall final exam grades:

It is perfectly symmetric, which is just ... creepy. So it is: 75% average, perfect bell curve.

A similar plot of overall final course grades is below. The average grade for the course was a 78%. Keep in mind that when assigning letter grades, I always round up (so 79.01% is a B-, 78.99% is a C+) - thus translating the plot below to the number of A's, B's, etc. is misleading.

Anyway: have a good vacation, and take a much-needed break. Feel free to email or call me with questions about your grades, or anything else.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Initial grading is in

The final grades will be curved, definitely.

I just finished grading the multiple choice part last night, and the average was about 60%. I will scale the multiple choice part upward so that the class average is a 75%, which in the end means adding about 15 points to everyone's grade. (The distribution was still nicely Gaussian, with a decent spread, so just adding points is OK.)

The problems will be scaled separately if need be; I have not started grading them yet.

Basically, I don't want to have everyone's grade brought down at the last minute (this is both unfair and distasteful), and usually it ends up that about half the class improves, half goes down, but almost no one makes a huge jump either way. My finals are more or less just a last chance to make sure that you learned what I think you learned and your grade is where it is supposed to be ... not a last chance to wildly alter it.

So anyway: rest easy, it will almost certainly not be as bad as you thought. I will post here when it is all finished.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Last-minute office hours

This morning I'll be in my Gallalee office, starting at about 10:15 for any last-minute questions.

If you don't see me there, I might be up in the physics office (2nd floor) making copies of the exam ...

Seriously ...

Cramming might best proceed in this order:

Example problems
Previous exam solutions
Review the cheat sheet

Remember that the final is 11:30-1pm, in the usual classroom.

Tide-related physics problem

No, I'm not kidding.

In the spirit of randomness, here is a random picture:

It is taken at a temple in Kyoto, Japan. While you're cramming for the exam, ponder this: why do the beams seem to bend? I recall them being perfectly straight in person, if a bit narrower at the top ...

Also, my dog Dingus is really pulling for you all to do well:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cheeeet Sheeeet

Here is an example of what I'll be giving you tomorrow.

Caveat: it has not been proofread, it is subject to change, may cause temporary blindness, etc.

(Probably, it will not change much by tomorrow, though, save proofreading.)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Last minute questions & answers

ONCE AGAIN: All but number 13 have solutions now. Number 13 will not be on the final.
YET MORE: number 14 is now solved.
UPDATE: review problems 8, 11, and 12 have solutions now. The rest are on their way ...

I should be available most of the weekend by cell phone, facebook, email, or IM (username "uaphysics", AOL IM account).

Shortly, I will post a few more solutions to the exam review questions, and should have them finished this evening. I'll put an update here when that happens.