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Is it normal for university exams to not include some of the material?

  1. Aug 27, 2013 #1
    Is it normal for university exams to never include some of the material that is in the curriculum?

    I have some modules that are quite extensive, but about 4 to 5 groups of exercises appear to repeat in the last few years. However, they also ask for students to study about 10 to 15 types of exercises.

    If the time is limited and a module is extensive and demanding is it worth studying (and practicing) them all?

    It's possible that if those modules' leaders are asked they will say "It's part of the studying hence they have a chance of being tested" and I can usually study them and understand them. But practicing them is another matter. If they need about a day each of exercising to be confident to solve them in an exam on your own and they never appear to be entering the exams the last few years is it worth working them?

    There is a point that it becomes extreme because there is only so much time that can be allotted to a graduate level module. If more than 20 days of non-stop solving of exercises still has left some of them leaving (big) questions, isn't it extreme? Split it in 2 or 3 modules if you're so determined to be complete.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2013 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Yes, it's normal.

    This is the third message you have posted of the form "the university is doing it wrong!" If you want to do better in your classes, changing the university is probably not the way to go about it.
  4. Aug 27, 2013 #3
    Anecdote: I went to a highly respected liberal arts college and also a very highly respected graduate school. In both cases for almost all of my classes, exams took the form of a 3-4 hour exam, with 4-8 questions. In graduate school, our qualifier exam was two 4 hours tests. I think we were supposed to answer 8 of 12 total problems, 2 each from Mechanics, E&M, Stat Mech, and Quantum. For that particular exam (oo was that fun), I studied for months.

    There's no way to test literally everything you should have learned. That's not an exam's function.
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