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Testing Failure on statics exam?

  1. Feb 22, 2017 #1
    Hello all,
    I am a 19 year old female currently in my first semester of engineering school. I have taken other classes such as Physics I and Calculus I & II and done pretty well in them. Today I got my statics exam score back and received a 60%...the average was a 72%. A 60% puts me at the very bottom of a D...and I've been working much harder than D work. I have been putting on average 3 hours of work into the class per lecture, asking questions to tutors, and visiting the professor when appropriate. I know that statics is a class that people either really struggle with or find simple...I believe the concepts are pretty simple, but for some reason I'm struggling to put the bigger picture together. It might be because I haven't taken linear algebra yet so a lot of the math we were doing the first week was completely unfamiliar to me.
    I guess I'm just wondering how statics went for some other people. My first test is only 20% of my grade...and I'm doing everything I can to get all 15% of the homework grade. Does anyone have any online resources they have found especially helpful? What were your best habits for studying statics (I understand what works for you might not work for me...but maybe I haven't thought of something simple...)? I'm trying to stay positive and tell myself this one test does not reflect my engineering career, but it's the first test I've ever failed and I've put A LOT of effort into that class...
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2017 #2
    I've had the same experience before and what I can say is that don't dwell on this one test as it is one of MANY. Just keep your head up and work as hard as you have been prior to getting your result.

    I'd most definitely request a consultation with your lecturer/tutor to go over said exam and see where you went wrong. This will allow you to reflect on your course of action in regards to how you study for the class. THEN try and locate resources to work on your weaknesses.
  4. Feb 22, 2017 #3


    Staff: Mentor

  5. Feb 22, 2017 #4
    You don't provide much context. It would help with diagnostics if you could articulate what, exactly, was the cause of the poor grade.
    • missed the concepts?
    • did not put the problems into the correct solution format requested by instructor?
    • goofed the units?
    • goofed the coordinate systems and Free Body Diagrams?
    • math boo-boos?
    Statics is one of those courses that starts the students on a 4-year trajectory through their curriculum. It forces the student to adopt a set of disciplines & behaviors that are necessary to be successful. The engineering curriculum is not for everyone. Statics is usually one of the first courses where students discover this simple truth. It comes easy to some of those "mutants from another planet" who just glide through it (I hate those mutants, BTW). For most of us mere mortals, the path to success is through the Swamp of Hard Work. And for statics that usually means working problems until your fingers bleed in order to achieve mastery. Only after that, in most cases, will you start to build the necessary rigor and discipline of problem set up, attack, & analysis, be able to recognize and deploy the multi-step solution patterns of the problems which provide the means to drive it to a conclusion.

    One of my students last semester also complained of studying hours, but not doing well. We evaluated his "studying" and saw that he was burning hours doing useless stuff (e.g., manually re-copying PowerPoint slides) because his study skills were so weak. He hated doing the grunt work of reading & absorbing the material and concepts, putting pencil to paper to explore & practice the concepts and methods, and gaining knowledge and subject matter mastery through hard-won experience. He thought everything should be a Google-search away and my version of "studying" was for losers and gray-haired dinosaurs like me. Luckily I was able to convince him otherwise and his grades improved dramatically.
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