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Courses I think I failed my mechanics course

  1. May 2, 2017 #1
    I took my mechanics final yesterday and I got one out of five problems correct. I know this because I checked online and four of the five answers were available from my professor and the last problem I couldn't do due to lack of time. We (the class) needed to get a 40% on the final to pass and I think I got a 20%. I almost got the other problems but I was off by one step. I had to use the lagrangian to derive the acceleration for a hoop down some incline which I did perfectly except (for some stupid reason) I used the moment of inertia for a sphere! I also had to show that the momentum was conserved for a certain mass in the problem which I did do and was one of the parts of the problem. Then another problem I had to prove that if a droplet falling in the atmosphere acquired mass as a rate proportional to its area (dependent on radius) then the speed increases linearly with time which I was really close to getting but I messed up on the last step, however I got the first part right. Finally another one I almost had but I messed up because I did not know how to integrate this function - it was a trig sub and I used sine, sinh, and cosh but not cosine which is what it was. I was frantically trying to figure this out and for another stupid reason I did everything except cosine and so I didn't finish the problem although I got the first part correct. So I basically got one completely right, three of them I got half right, and the final problem I got nothing. My teacher said that four of the five were all or nothing and the three I got half right were a part of those. So I basically failed. I think I failed. On the other hand the class was immediately talking about how they failed after the exam and there was the usual few who broke down beforehand - I think this is a good sign as a curve and leniency in grading may happen as a result. I just really love physics and I want to continue in this major. Is this normal for someone in this degree? Does everyone nearly fail but just not as bad and then there is a curve and you end up passing? That test was pretty difficult. I'm terrified and I've never had to worry about something like this because I've never taken a course like that.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2017 #2
    Worrying too much before you really know the results is seldom helpful.

    Lots of profs award partial credit, so it is often possible to only get 1 of 5 problems completely right and score better than 20%.

    All you can do while you wait is think of contingencies: what is your plan if you passed? There is likely room to improve your preparation habits in downstream courses.

    What is your plan if you failed? You may need to make adjustments to next semester's schedule as well as in your preparation habits if you need to retake the course.

    If you retake the course with the same prof, I think a meeting before or early in the semester to get your prof's advice on improving your preparation would be highly recommended.
  4. May 2, 2017 #3
    I just spoke to my prof who I am also taking for mech 2 and she told me I was going to get a B in the course and that she does reward partial credit so I did fine. Wow. That was terrifying.
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