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Tue Jul 6, 2021, 09:25 PM

Tales of panic - University

The idea that 40% of my grade depended on the final exam always freaked me out. Two hours of performance swung grades radically. I missed my brotherís first wedding in Jamaica because it fell on exam week.

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Tales of panic - University (Original post)
Retired Engineer Bob Jul 2021 OP
Ocelot II Jul 2021 #1
Retired Engineer Bob Jul 2021 #4
TexasTowelie Jul 2021 #7
unc70 Jul 2021 #8
Yavin4 Jul 2021 #9
Retired Engineer Bob Jul 2021 #12
dawg day Jul 2021 #2
Ocelot II Jul 2021 #3
Retired Engineer Bob Jul 2021 #5
PoindexterOglethorpe Jul 2021 #6
3catwoman3 Jul 2021 #10
Retired Engineer Bob Jul 2021 #11

Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 09:28 PM

1. In law school, the final exam was often the *entire* grade.

No pressure at all, though. Nope.

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Response to Ocelot II (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 09:36 PM

4. More than just a paper chase

But perhaps a test on how a person can deal with pressure. Iím suggesting that it might be a legitimate part of a professionalís education.

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Response to Ocelot II (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 09:54 PM

7. Reminds me of my calculus II class in college.

The professor did not use a textbook and the syllabus was overly ambitious. There was a mid-term and a final. The grade for the class was either the average of the two exams or the grade on the grade on the final if higher. The worst part was that the professor didn't get around to grading the mid-term exams until one week before finals and it was too late to withdraw from the class.

After teaching theory all semester the professor gave an application type final exam which was the last thing anybody in the class expected. It was the first time that I made a "B" in a math class.

When I was a senior there was only one math class that remained for me to take which was topology. Since I already had my requirements finished for my major, I decided not to take the class because I didn't want to have to deal with that professor again. For a university that stressed the relationships built between the student and faculty, I don't know how that professor ever received tenure and I don't recall any of my fellow math majors stating that they wanted to take another class from that professor. The professor didn't even remember my name the spring semester after I took a second required class with him in the fall and there were only seven students in that class.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Reply #7)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 10:10 PM

8. My version is a little different

In the "honors" section of advanced calculus, we were graded on a bell curve with the median being a C. The problem was that everyone in the class made well over 700 on the SAT math. The exams were obscure with typical scores of 20-25 out of 60. Way too many D and F grades for the smartest kids in class.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Reply #7)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 10:15 PM

9. Reading your story and people wonder why American students suffer from math anxiety

It does not have to be this way. Making your experience filled with angst only serves to discourage people from taking higher level math classes.

This whole, "I have to make you suffer because I suffered, and suffering is how you find the best" approach is flawed.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #9)

Wed Jul 7, 2021, 12:54 AM

12. Indeed

Itís like admission to a secret club. Get past the horrible initiation and you are set to go, an initiation set up to deny 90%. Itís designed to have folks give up before they even get started.

Mathematics does not lie, does not change its mind on a whim. Yesterdayís answer will be valid tomorrow.

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 09:30 PM

2. Decades after my last exam, I used to have nightmares about them.

One recurrent one was showing up at the exam for a class and finding out I'd actually registered for another class and knew nothing about what was on the exam.

Another was sleeping through an exam because I'd stayed up all night studying...

Wait. Both of those actually happened to me.

Maybe they're memories, not just dreams.

There really are better ways to make sure students learn the material. Exam stress practically guarantees the student forgets most of it as soon as the exam is done.

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Response to dawg day (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 09:35 PM

3. I've always called that exam stress effect the bathtub theory of learning.

When you study for an exam you're filling the tub and when you take the exam you're draining it. After that, nothing is left but the bathtub ring.

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Response to dawg day (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 09:45 PM

5. My re-occurring nightmare was

Being informed Iím 3 credit hours short of getting my degree. Iíd go back, but whatever I tried I could not find the class.

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 09:54 PM

6. Some years ago I read that dreaming of being in a class, trying to take an exam

when you (according to the dream) had not gone to class and didn't know what was needed, that was a basic anxiety exam.

I used to have that dream about math class back when I was in high school. Some thirty years later I took math classes at my local community college and, lo and behold, I started having the dream about trying to take a math exam when I hadn't gone to class or done the homework.

Honestly, it was a pure math anxiety dream.

And not to worry. I got A's and B's in all of the math classes I took at the community college.

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 11:33 PM

10. The only thing I ever got an "F" in was calculus.

Final marking period of my senior year of high school in a class called Math 12X - a little bit of this, a little bit of that. The final quarter was an introduction to calculus. The teacher handed us a small black book and said, ďHere - this is all self-explanatory.Ē

She was wrong. Very, very wrong. This was 1969, and report cards were still marked by hand. My school had the obnoxious habit of marking Fs in red ink to they really stood out. My mother was horrified, and quite certain that the colleges that had accepted me were going to change their minds. They did not.

The summer after I finished nursing school, I made the mistake of taking 2 semesters of organic chem in 8 weeks of summer school. I thought I wanted to go to med school, and, of course, you needed organic, and nothing less than an A would do. I barely managed a C, and only because of the generous curve. This was 1973. For decades, I had tortuous dreams in which it is the end of the semester, and I have done none of the homework or labs, and am frantically hoping I can still withdraw. I remember Kekule figuring out the 6 carbon ring by dreaming about a snake holding its tail in its mouth, what -cis and -trans means, that -OH means an alcohol, saponification means making soap, and the name of the text book - Morrison and Boyd. Nothing else. Absolutely nothing else.

Watch me have that damn dream tonight-

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Response to 3catwoman3 (Reply #10)

Wed Jul 7, 2021, 12:46 AM

11. Here's hoping for sweet dreams 3cat

Organic chemistry was something we were expected to study. I was ok with math, pretty good with physics. Inorganic chemistry was fine as well. In each case learn and understand a few equations, if you could apply them properly a person was good to go. I could fill valences no problem.

Organic chemistry did not fit into this neat model. Rings, double and triple bonds, all the wonderful and exotic things you could glom on to the side were in my mind a mess. It became an exercise in rote memorization.

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