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Not in the homework/reading

  1. Jul 11, 2007 #1
    Hello, all

    I recently took a chemistry test and we were given a couple questions which we did not go over in class, nor did we have them in the homework or reading. I and other students were frustrated because we had to guess. I am a bit puzzled as to why they were on the test. I don't understand why profs do this. I am open to any opinions, including the "Welcome to College" response. lol


  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2007 #2
    Were the questions at least loosely related to the material you've already covered? Exam questions SHOULD be different from homework problems. Tests are your chance to show that you understand the PRINCIPLES underlying the problems introduced in the readings and the homework - not just that you can reproduce the mechanics of a specific problem.

    If the questions concerned were based on material you really haven't covered in the course then the prof was just lazy and recycled a previous exam. Does the teacher seem to be on top of things otherwise? If all the other students in the class were as stumped as you then I wouldn't worry too much.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2007
  4. Jul 12, 2007 #3


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    I suspect recycled exam is most likely but this is college!
    If this course is your major you are somewhat expected to make it your life while at college - which means reading everything you can find and have time to read on the subject.
    Where you the kid that read all the other chapters in the textbook at high school that the teacher didn't mention? That's what your major is supposed to be.
  5. Jul 12, 2007 #4


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    Perhaps they were testing you on how you could adapt methods you'd been taught over to a problem which hadn't specifically been solved in class.

    Not all answers are found in a textbook :smile:
  6. Jul 12, 2007 #5
    Indeed, it depends what the question was. If you could have been expected to hazard a guess and apply a method you should have already known to an unfamiliar problem, then you have no excuse for not giving it a shot.
  7. Jul 12, 2007 #6


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  8. Jul 13, 2007 #7
    Id say about 40% of all my test questions are from stuff never covered in class. Grow up, honestly. It is your responsibility to know the material. and by material, if you are taking a class in Newtonian mechanics, and they give you a question, you should know it, just because you weren't thought it in class, doesn't mean its not fair game. what stopped you from getting a different book and trying to learn absolutely everything you can about the subject.

    I remember hen I took Philosophy in college and the final was to write a 20 page paper within 4 hrs on 2 philosophers the class was never thought about. I early in the year realized that we needed to know all philosophers from a specific time period and it worked for me, bad thing was most people were to babied and dint realize this and close to everybody failed horribly.

    Is it me or are kids just darn lazy these days, when I was in HS anything poertaining to a subject was fair game. We needed to know it all and it only got worse in college.

    i swear they baby kids to much these days, telling them exactly what to read, when to read, what to solve, when to solve it. Use that mind of yours, instead of being a drone.

    no offense, things like this just get under my skin sometimes.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2007
  9. Jul 13, 2007 #8
    How rude. First of all, Llama 77 doesn't know anything about me. I work 50 hours per week and am taking an accelerated chemistry course along with it. So don't tell me to grow up. Working all these hours is what prevented me from checking out every book on chemistry ever published.

    I use my mind as much as I can when I am not working and trying to raise a family. Congratualtions on your success in your philosophy course. It must have been beneficial to have all that time to study without the constraints of earning a living.

    You are correct. Many kids are lazy and need to be spoonfed. But I am not lazy and I am not a kid nor a drone.

    I posted this to get some perspectives on professors and I get this condescending and accusatory rant from Llama77.
  10. Jul 14, 2007 #9
    Here's a bit more context for Llama77's study advice (bold emphasis is mine):

  11. Jul 14, 2007 #10
    I tell ya, what gets under my skin are condescending people with poor spelling/grammar. If you are going to be ostentatious in your reply the onus is on you to at least do a spell check.

    First off starchild, if no one's said it yet, welcome to college. I can sympathize with your exam frustrations. On my first midterm freshman year I ran into the same thing - a problem that I hadn't seen before and that I was sure we hadn't gone over. It turned out it was to be covered in the next chapter. The only reason I really remember this is because it was the only question I got wrong on the exam and when I went to the professor to inquire about it he remarked that he can't write the test so that everyone gets and A. In fact, he didn't want anyone to get 100% on it (I believe 3 did out of 240+ to his dismay).

    So, if you're looking for a reason it might be that they don't want it to be too "easy" an exam and throw a few cheap questions in there to keep all of you honest, so to speak. If I could offer some advice i'd say don't fret too much about it, listen to some of the more constructive comments on this board, try and understand the material thoroughly and try to keep learning how to learn. I think this could be the most important thing to figure out in the end.

  12. Jul 25, 2007 #11
    There are a few possibilities. It may have been a mistake, and left on there from a previous semesters test. It could have been something based on the material covered that you would need to be very familiar with the material and know how to carry out derivations (you'll see this alot in physics and upper level math test), or it may have been something obscure in the material. One of those footnotes may have had an asterisk saying "refer to this guys book on p.chem" and the professor expected you to do it.

    Try asking the professor where the question came from and see what he says
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