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Cheat sheet policy at your school?

  1. Dec 5, 2006 #1
    do universities and colleges let students use cheat sheets? right now im taking a highschool physics course and theres a good 30-50 different math formulas. i kid you not. and then with each formula, theres different variables of how to switch it around to solve for different things.

    i havent the foggiest idea how im going to memorize a decent portion of them. if it was like 5 formulas i might have a change. but 40+ :yuck:

    i can memorize concepts and the laws of what not. but not the formulas.

    -Amy
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2006 #2

    D H

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    A lot of college courses have open book exams. This is particularly so once one gets past the introductory classes. Not that the book will help on some of the problems thrown at you.
     
  4. Dec 5, 2006 #3
    My physics professor constantly reminds us that the most important thing to understand is concepts, not formulas and symbols. Thus, he allows us to have one side of one 3x5 note card for tests. However, if you understand the concepts well enough, you should be able to derive the equations you need for each problem from the concepts that you know.
     
  5. Dec 5, 2006 #4

    chroot

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    You probably only have 5-10 concepts, each of which is being expressed in a number of different formulae. Don't even -try- to memorize the formulae. Instead, work on understanding the underlying concepts. Once you fully understand them, the equations are really quite trivial to put together on paper from scratch.

    Also, note that universities, in general, don't have global cheat sheet policies. Some classes would be essentially guaranteed A's if you could use a cheat sheet on the exams, while others are so difficult that a cheat sheet would barely make a difference.

    - Warren
     
  6. Dec 5, 2006 #5
    It depends on the class. Some don't let you have any at all, some provide them for you, and some allow you to make your own.
     
  7. Dec 5, 2006 #6

    D H

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    I went to that school. The exams for which "You can bring all the books and notes you can carry" tended to be much harder than closed-book tests.

    As Warren and Doom noted, it is much more important to understand the handful of concepts than to memorize the dozens of equations that fall out from those concepts. A good instructor teaches with this in mind. Knowing the underlying concepts is the only tactic that works well on tests given by good instructors. This tactic also works with lousy instructors who are overly focused on knowing formulas.

    Finally, and most importantly, this tactic is the only one that sticks in. I guarantee that the person who aced a class by rote memorization will retain almost nothing. On the other hand, while the person who aced the same class by truly understanding the concepts has a good chance of retaining that knowledge for decades.
     
  8. Dec 5, 2006 #7
    I would suggest, though I am assumming that your phsyics class in highschool is teaching you classical mechanics. So for instance, your constant acceleration equations can be derived. Theres alot of equations but they are all related, and with some work you can get one from the others. I do not know if you know calc or not, but u can use calculus to derive them even easier. Also for instance the equations used for circular motion, can be derived from those from two-dimensional kinematic in constant acceleration by changing the variables around. So there may not be as many that you need to memorize. o to your professor and ask for help, I asure you that he doens't simply want you to memorize 40 equations and spit them back out, atleast I hope.
    One other thing is that simply solving lots of problems will help you remember them, I rarely ever spend time memorizing formulas, I just use them in my homework repeatedly and get to remember them over time.
    hope this helps
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2006
  9. Dec 5, 2006 #8
    I had to memorize 200+ formulas for AP Physics, so feel lucky and study!
     
  10. Dec 5, 2006 #9

    D H

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    This doesn't speak well for the AP Physics test. Bland memorization, which standardized testing seems to reward, is ephemeral knowledge. Do you remember even 10% of those memorized formulae?
     
  11. Dec 5, 2006 #10
    I think it depends on the unit and the teacher. my teachers who usually will never let us use a book would let us on certain chapters, and some teachers who are just easy with the teaching let us use them all the time
     
  12. Dec 5, 2006 #11
    That doesn't make sense because the AP test allows a formula sheet, so why should you even have to memorize them for the course?
     
  13. Dec 5, 2006 #12
    I never force myself to memorise something. If I need to know the formula, I will derive it from the concept. All formula can be derived or from simple definition.
     
  14. Dec 5, 2006 #13
    That's fine, up to physics 2 or 3, maybe.

    The only thing that matters is you know what your doing Miss. Amy. :smile:
     
  15. Dec 5, 2006 #14
    At my university cheat-sheets on physics tests are moderatly common. It just depends on the professor and which topic of physics you are studying. In classical mechanics we were given common solutions to differential equations on a sheet and a couple relationships that require quite abit of time to derive.

    Where as in modern physics, I was allowed to bring the CRC handbook, any non-modern physics text, and as many notes as I could bring. Yeah, that still didn't help me too much.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I should also note a quote from my classical professor:

    Almost everything in classical mechanics can be derived from F=ma (in a non-inertial refereance frame, with a slight addiation for non-intial referance frames).
     
  16. Dec 5, 2006 #15
    Because if you know them you don't waste precious time searching a formula sheet for a single equation.
     
  17. Dec 5, 2006 #16
    I've gotten to the point where I don't like cheat sheets - when I have them, I don't use it and the professor makes the test harder to compensate for allowing you to have it. When they don't allow it, they usually keep it much more basic or give you any specific formula you need to know in the problem (which clues you in on what you have to do a lot of the times) :)
     
  18. Dec 5, 2006 #17
    wot, there certainly wasn't 200+ formulas.. anyway, as one get familiar to the concept, the "formulas" pops up immediately. furthermore, there are usually at most a couple master equations that one must know, and they are usually elegantly simple (At least for intro physics), like gauss's law or F=ma.
     
  19. Dec 6, 2006 #18
    I agree with mathlete, if they allow a cheat sheet, the exams really are tough and the cheat sheet won't help you that much. Also you'll find alot of people tend to cheat more when they are allowed to have a piece of paper infront of them. You'll see kids with whole problems written out.
     
  20. Dec 6, 2006 #19

    chroot

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    Why does that count as cheating? Everytime I've ever been permitted to use a cheat sheet, I was permitted to put anything at all I wanted on it, with the possible exception of microfilm.

    - Warren
     
  21. Dec 6, 2006 #20
    I remember that I made it a point to not use any cheat sheets on any test I was given up through differential equations, linear algebra, and physics 3

    I think I might change that or my modern physics course next semester, because I noticed that some of the formulas in thermodynamics and power in waves etc. cannot be derived easily (or they can, its just time consuming), So in other words the equtions are getting to time consuming to derive on a test, making the only other option memorization which I don't believe is a good idea.
     
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