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I lost 10/100 points on a physics exam

  1. Jan 27, 2010 #1
    and that's because i didnt finish the calculations on the second exercice

    i had a square root of something and i left it like this, she told me that i had to calculate the square root too, but i didnt have the time and that's why i left it like this

    if you were the teacher would you do the same?

    i feel really dissapointed
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2010 #2
    Dude its 10 points. Get over it.

    Oh and if I were the teacher of course I would do the same. You didn't finish the problem, therefor you do not get all the points.
  4. Jan 27, 2010 #3
    I hate it when I lose points for no serious reason.

    the problem had 20 points overall, and I got only 10, if it was Math, I would say OK, I didn't finish the calculations, I deserve it.

    But it's Physics we are talking about, It was just a number which I didn't analyze more, nothing else, and that's what's bothering me, the whole logic was correct.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  5. Jan 27, 2010 #4
    I think you might be missing a very important concept in physics- the fact that it is the analysis and interpretation of the results (with units) that IS physics. The intermediate steps are math, not physics.

    Now, maybe 10 points was a lot for what you are claiming is a small part of the problem (we cannot really know since we don't know the problem nor do we know where you left the solution at), but as long as the grading was consistent for everyone you don't really have anything to complain about.
  6. Jan 27, 2010 #5
    In most classes I've been in, if you leave the answer in the form of something like "7√2" instead of "9.899," it's either acceptable or preferable.

    Did the teacher tell you beforehand in what notation to put the answer?
  7. Jan 27, 2010 #6
    no she didn't
  8. Jan 27, 2010 #7
    Probably had to put units after it so it wasnt actually a valid answer? Just got your marks for the working out?
  9. Jan 27, 2010 #8


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    Gold Member

    Jack and Danny bring up good points.

    Maybe your answer would have been better represented/understood by using decimal notation? A solution of "9.899 ml" makes more sense than "7√2 ml" with regards to volume.
  10. Jan 27, 2010 #9
    7√2 is an awfully exact answer. Depending on the level of the class (coupled with the likelihood that this is the first exam of the semester), significant digits might have also been important. Your answer should not be more exact than the inputs to the problem
  11. Jan 27, 2010 #10
    the answer was something like this sqrt(83*10^-15)
  12. Jan 27, 2010 #11

    Chi Meson

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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You didn't have time to punch in four or five buttons on the calculator?

    Personally, If I were grading this, you would have missed two points, or three: One for not finishing the calculation, one for not showing significant figures, and one more if the unit was not shown. I would have a hard time justifying the loss of ten points, since there is "no point" to scoring the other points.

    But let this pass and get better. That's what really matters.
  13. Jan 27, 2010 #12
    I know the feeling.

    I once lost full credit on 1 problem of a 4 problem test. I did 2 pages of derivations and at one step in the middle I miswrote a cube root as a square root. This mistake then passed into the final answer. I had full understanding, correct derivation and one tiny error, but no points. That's life.

    I once lost 20 out of 25 points for sloppiness. I was rushed on the final problem and in the intensity of the moment my mind when into overdrive in an adrenalin rush. I worked at lightning speed and got everything 100% correct. I knew the material, did the problem correctly and did it faster than anyone else in the class. But, I got 5 out of 25 points. That's life.

    It's only later in life that I understand the lessons. A mistake in an engineering calculation can kill someone and work that is not understandable to someone else is useless. Those are just some facts of life.
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