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How big is the SAT Physics curve?

  1. Jun 26, 2008 #1
    Wow... I felt like I did horribly on my SAT Physics test, but I got an 800! This doesn't really make me happy though, since I know I missed a lot of questions: I'm pretty sure I got every question right EXCEPT for all the optics questions (and maybe one on fractals). I had never seen optics (I've always skipped it - seems way too boring), and between 10 - 15 of the questions were on optics. I left like 7 blank and guessed on the rest - I'm sure I must have missed most. The curve must be huge! Does anyone know how big it is? I hope the other tests' curves aren't this big, or all those good scores are suddenly meaningless.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2008 #2
    There was a fractal question on a physics exam?
  4. Jun 26, 2008 #3


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    I think almost everyone gets an 800 on the sat physics. At least every one I know did. It's probably because only people who like physics take it.
  5. Jun 26, 2008 #4
    Yeah, there was one question that gave you five different functions and asked which one would most exhibit a fractal pattern. I guessed, since I could eliminate three of them. One of the functions was y = sin(x), and I can't remember the others.
  6. Jun 26, 2008 #5
    Wait a minute... The SAT II, the test for high schoolers, expects you to know about fractals? What schools teaches you fractals?!
  7. Jun 26, 2008 #6
    when in highschool in the US for my student exchange, the AP Calculus book contained an introduction to fractal geometry, but it was very general and we were never tested on it.
  8. Jun 26, 2008 #7
    The fractal question I had on my subject test basically asked "what is a fractal?"
  9. Jun 26, 2008 #8


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    I'm a first year undergraduate and I don't know what a fractal is yet..
  10. Jun 27, 2008 #9
    Ha! I teach a short lesson on fractals to my Jr/Sr physics class as a "fun" thing, but I haven't ever seen it in a calculus book. Neither of my (1993-1996 era) calculus books mention them.
  11. Jun 27, 2008 #10
    I don't think very many juniors or seniors know what a fractal is, let alone be taught what it is in their schools. However, the question wasn't bad - a couple of the functions were obviously not fractals, so I could eliminate those answers right away.

    For those of you who haven't seen fractals before, this website has a basic introduction and Wikipedia has some examples of the Mandelbrot set .
  12. Jun 27, 2008 #11


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    dx, isn't your avatar a fractal?
  13. Jun 27, 2008 #12


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    yes.. :)
  14. Jun 28, 2008 #13
    If you want to play with fractals, google "fractint" and run that program.

    I've been using Fractint since I first downloaded it from a BBS in the very early 1990s and ran it on an 8088 computer...which needed quite some time to calculate many of the fractals. Days, in some instances.
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