Exams and grading, TAM 2020, Fall 2010

The prelims and final exam are closed book, no notes, no calculators and inclusive. Prelims are designed for completion in 90 minutes but will allow extra time to eliminate time pressure. No extra time on the final exam (University policy). All material from the lecture, sections, text, homework and labs can be on the prelims. Generally, Matlab commands that would give the desired solution will get full credit.

Homework exam: If you can do all the homework you are guaranteed a grade of at least C via the optional homework exam on Saturday Dec 4, 1-5pm, Thurston 205. On it will be 4 problems which will be homework problems, or parts of homework problems, with slight changes so that memorizing answers won't help. If you can do 3 of them correctly (good work, correct answer) in 4 hours you are guaranteed a grade of at least C for the whole course. Otherwise this exam does not help nor hurt your course grade. Prior email permission, requested after Prelim 2 and before Nov 24, required to take this exam. Exam and Solution.

Warning: In the past, very few students who said "I can do the homework, I just can't do the exams" could actually do the homework. This might follow from not following the advice in the first 3 sentences of the "study advice" on the homework page and in the preface ("To the student") of the online book.

Prelim Schedule

Prelim 1: 3 problems. Sept 28 Tuesday 7:30 - 9PM+, Ives 105 & 305. Prelim1 and solutions.

Prelim 2:
3 problems. Nov   4 Thursday 7:30 - 9PM+, Ohlin 155 & 255. Prelim2 and solutions.

Early makeup prelims for those with conflicts:
4:30 PM, same day, with prior email permission from the head TA.You must stay in the exam room from 4:30 until 7:30, bring food (we will give you a note excusing you for lateness to your next test). Room TBA

Makeup prelim: For students who missed both a prelim and its early makeup, there will be a comprehensive makeup exam on Saturday Dec 4, 9:00-11:30am+, room TBA. This one exam (same exam for those who missed prelim 1 as for those who missed prelim 2) covers all the material in the course through to the lecture of Wed Nov 24. Makeup and solutions.

Regrades: If you think one of your prelims was graded inappropriately:  1) Don't write anything on your exam booklet. 2) Make sure you know how to do the problem correctly. 3) Show your issue to a TA or Prof in the course to see if they think you might have a point.  4) Write an essay about why you should get more points, if it helps mark up a photocopy of your work.  5) Give your book with the essay to your TA.

Final Exam (comprehensive): 5 problems. Baker 200. Friday, Dec10, 9:00 -11:30. No extra time. On average the questons will be no longer than the problems on the prelims. No makeup or early makeup is planned. Some categories below will be represented on the prelims and the final exam.  Exam and solutions.

1) A problem very similar to a problem already on a prelim.
2) A problem very similar to a homework problem.
3) A text problem that was not assigned.
4) A sample problem from one of the books.
5) Conceptual material from one of the books.
6) Something related to one of the labs, possibly not in the homework.

12/6 Final exam study tips, extended. We just graded some HW exams and the makeup prelim, so the advice below is based on known issues.

Free body diagrams. Big issues:
   1) DRAW THEM! Check.
   2) Cut them FREE, don't show things that aren't in the system (e.g., walls, floors). Check.
   3) When making cuts get the right forces. For every motion that is caused or prevented there is a force or moment,
        if the motion is free there is no force or moment   (e.g., in the homework exam get the force at B right). Check.

For EVERY equation in every problem follow this checklist every time:

4) If its force or moment balance, the equation must be associated with a FBD you have drawn. Check.

5) In any one equation every term that is added to or equated with another is either vector or scalar. The whole equation is either exactly and precisely
only a scalar equation or only a vector equation. If you intend something to be a vector it needs a hat or arrow on top, if you don't it shouldn't have one.
       a) A scalar equation is made up of a sum of scalars on both sides of the equation
            (thus every added term has no hats or arrows on top, or it has dot products of two things that have arrows or hats on top). Check.
       b) A vector equation has sums of vectors on both side. Its all vectors thus with every additive term on both sides of the
            equation having exactly one term with an arrow or hat on top (or three, where two of them are made scalar by a dot product). Check.
       c) If you are going back through equations and putting hats and arrows on top to satisfy the rules above, you are probably doing it wrong!
              (It should be part of your thought process as you work.) Check.

6) In any one equation every term that is added or equated on both sides of the equation has exactly the same units as all the others (you can't add apples and hammers).
Use dimensional consistency to help you find errors! (e.g., if your answer has an expression like "L + 7" and L is a length then you know your answer is wrong). Check.

7) Have variables and directions been defined? You need a clear sketch showing lengths, angles, directions, distances. Similarly scalars with dimensions of force or moment need to be defined in terms of the unit vectors they multiply (shown, say, as a clear arrow on a free body diagram). Check.

8) A variable cannot change meaning in the middle of a calculation! (F cannot be both the force to the right and the force to the left at point A on one object). Check.

Make sketches large and neat (don't crowd your confusion into a small space). Check.

The final exam will have at least 2 non-trivial statics problems (e.g., machines, frames, trusses, three-force bodies, 3D statics).
So master chapters 2 - 6, starting with sample 2.1, figure 3.5, box 3.2, figure 3.2, figure 3.6 and the table on pg 1015 (pdf 1019).

Of course you have to know all the stress, strain, tension, torsion and bending stuff, but the errors there don't fall into such simple categories.



Final grade: After rescaling, the 11 prelim and final exam problems the lowest 1 will be dropped. Together the best 10 scores count for about 70% of your grade. The later questions count for more than the earlier questions (so there is motivation to do the later prelims even if early scores are good). After dropping the lowest two homeork grades the homework will count as about 10% of your grade; the final homeworks count slightly more than the earlier homeworks (so there is motivation to do them). The labs count about 15%. Response to i-clicker questions in lecture will count about 5% of the grade (about 4% for response, 1% for correct response). Of all your i-clicker scores, the lowest 20% will be dropped. TA can add a few points for good section, office hour, or bonus project performance. One bonus point (1%) for completing the course evaluation form. Students can get a guaranteed grade of at least C by passing the homework exam (see above). The median student will get a B or B+ depending on overall class performance.

Write to TAM 203 Staff