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Do you do problems beyond the assigned HW?

  • Thread starter lubuntu
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Back in my intro classes I used to do like half of the problems associated with any given chapter in the book. But then again this material seems to be especially formatted to the rapid fire rinse and repeat problem solving approach, probably to help make it formulaic enough for pre-med's or something...

Now in my intermediate to advanced classes that really seems superfluous as the HW assignments are usually in depth and difficult enough to learn the material well, it seems like doing a ton of extra problems at this point isn't going to do much besides eat up my time. I feel like I'm doing well but I am bit nervous how things will go come the tests.

Does this sound reasonable? What were other's experiences?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
mathwonk
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the more you do the more you learn. but you might try extra reading in other books if the extra homework does not add much.
 
  • #3
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the more you do the more you learn. but you might try extra reading in other books if the extra homework does not add much.
Thing is the regular HW takes up enough of my time I don't know if I could do much more if I wanted to! :) I'm just not that smart or fast I guess.
 
  • #4
Simfish
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I used to suggest it. But it's often hard to get help for it (professors have limited time, and if you want to post it on PF, it takes a lot of time to LaTeX it up - plus fewer people will be able to answer higher-level material). Nowadays I just prefer to tag them and to read up on other books/websites to hone up my intuition. It's *a lot* less frustrating that way since I know that I'm actually getting something with each hour spent - something that I'm very uncertain about if I'm spending the time on problem sets. If I do problems, I usually just do problems that actually have worked-out solutions - if you're not doing them for a class, then you're probably motivated enough to do them without using the answers as a crutch.
 
  • #5
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I always try to to but barely complete the assigned stuff so I rarely have time to do extra stuff.

I usually do some close to test time though, usually practice/past midterms or end of chapter type questions.
 
  • #6
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I practice from Schaum's outlines on the particular subject I"m doing in addition to doing the assigned problems.
 
  • #7
mathwonk
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well it makes a lot of difference. when i was a junior-senior and needed some good grades to make up for all the previous bad ones, I read other books and learned proofs that even the prof had left out, and worked Schaum's outline series extra problems.

I got like 175/100 on my junior non honors diff eq test (I worked far more than the required number of problems on the exam and proved things he said we could assume), and got maybe 100 on my graduate level real analysis exam as a senior. and i got into grad school with a full scholarship.
 
  • #8
Nabeshin
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Thing is the regular HW takes up enough of my time I don't know if I could do much more if I wanted to! :) I'm just not that smart or fast I guess.
It's not really a matter of intelligence or speed, but of dedication. You're pretty much forced to do the assigned problems, because if you don't, you're assured to get a bad grade. But once those are done and you're faced with the decision of continuing to work on physics or kicking back to watch TV/surf PF, which do you think you're going to do?

We'd all like to work on all the extra problems, especially those that are interesting. Obviously not all of them are interesting, so it's sometimes useful to just browse through the problems to see if any catch your attention. Realistically though, I find that there's a certain amount of work I'm happy doing, and either beyond or short of that I am less than content. That is, I feel overwhelmed when I have more than a certain amount, but bored when I have less. So it's when I have less that I can either do problems in my spare time or read up on other subjects.
 
  • #9
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I do extra problems when I feel I need extra understanding on something. If I'm assigned something rather hard and I'm having trouble with it, I'll dig up some easier problems to start with to try to learn something before tackling the harder one. If I find a topic particularly interesting, then I may try an even harder (unassigned) problem just for fun, but I really don't have a lot of spare time to do that very often.
 
  • #10
RunSwimSurf
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My professor assigns 4-10 questions and says to "pick 4" (all homework is due at the end of the semester on the day of the final). I do everything he assigns just so I don't miss out on something
 

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