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Multiple Choice for Physics Courses

  1. Sep 28, 2014 #1
    Hey guys! This is my first post, so hopefully it is in the correct spot.

    I'm a grade 12 student in Canada. I am thinking of majoring in computer science because I love logic and technology. I plan on taking some physics electives because I enjoy physics, more specifically modern physics. However, this is where my problem arises.

    I took physics one year ahead, both with only grade 10 math. Unfortunately, my marks were not as high as I had hoped. They ranged from low 80s to low 90s... very rarely high 90s and 100s, but I ended up with low 80s in both the gr 11 and 12 courses.

    I am very involved in my school and community, and therefore I have less time than most for homework and studying. So while I understood the topics very well, and even explained them to other students, many of the multiple choice questions on tests brought my marks down. My teacher and I figured out that my problem was overthinking the questions. After this, my marks improved on multiple choice, but were still around low 80s.

    If I take physics courses in university, will I run into major problems? Does anyone have any tips on how to succeed on multiple choice?

    While I still enjoyed the physics I did in high school, I found the courses a tad boring, besides the few weeks of modern physics. In order to take an introductory modern physics course, I will need to take an introduction to mechanics course, but I'm afraid I won't find it appealing. Should I be concerned?


    - Anele
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    At large universities, and even at many small schools, you will be stuck with multiple choice questions on exams, in the introductory courses. Grading homework-type problems where you have to look at the details is very laborious, and impractical for large classes. I sometimes taught introductory physics for a maximum of about 60 students at a time (at a small college), and avoided multiple-choice problems. Grading exams was a lot of work. The people who teach that class now use mostly multiple choice questions, I think.

    In upper-level courses the situation is different, because classes are smaller, and problems do not usually have single numeric answers, i.e. you usually have to derive an equation for something.
  4. Sep 28, 2014 #3
    Thank you for your input! This brings me to... how do I improve multiple choice? And whether I'd be ok with first year classical physics.
    Thank you!!
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