Advice for the final exam


Format:  It will be the same as the first four exams.


Length: It will be slightly less than twice as long as a regular exam.  My hope is that nobody will be under time pressure for this exam.


Content: The final will cover material from the entire semester.  Questions will be split fairly evenly between each section of the course.


Formula Sheet:  You may bring one sheet of paper, 8 ½ x 11 inches, with notes written on both sides.  You cannot use the notecards you have made for previous exams “as-is” although you are welcome to photocopy them onto a single sheet of paper.


Stuff to pay attention to:

-        Certain topics have not been covered in previous exams.  In some cases the advice handouts for previous exams have explicitly mentioned topics which were not on the exam but which could be asked on the final exam.  Any topics not on previous exams are more likely to show up on the final exam.  See especially homeworks 3, 6, 9, 13.

-        Questions which on previous exams were multiple choice may become numerical problems on the final exam, & vice-versa

-        As we neared each exam, certain topics were covered right before the exam that often did not show up on the exam (or even on future exams).  These topics are more likely to show up on the final exam.


Most important stuff to study:

o      Suggested conceptual problems

o      “exam advice” handout conceptual problems

o      Assigned numerical problems

o      Numerical examples discussed in lecture

Second most important stuff to study:

o      Suggested numerical problems

o      Assigned conceptual problems

o      Conceptual questions asked in lecture

o      Past exam problems

The sources for questions listed above cover a lot of problems, almost all of which you have studied earlier for previous exams.  Thus, I will not spend much energy making up entirely new problems; the list above is already a pretty good bunch of problems to use for writing the final exam.


Additional topics:

-        I may ask a question related to the “Voodoo Science” reading.  More likely is that I will ask a question related to the physics from the article, such as the energy of a photon emitted from a power line, for example.

-        The lab tour on Monday, April 30 will not be part of the final exam.

-        Topics explicitly excluded on the previous exam advice handouts will also not be on the final exam, unless it says “might be on final” or something similar.