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Open ended exams.

  1. Oct 23, 2013 #1
    I am currently trying to learn more about what actually composes an Engineering degree (The curriculum)

    I have a particular question about open ended exams, or exams that are scored relative to your classmates scores and also pose novel problems for you to solve.

    Are these as hard as they sound? lol. Am I correct in my assumption that these particular exams with there novel problems are exercising inductive reasoning?

    I'm somewhat lost and would enjoy clarification!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 24, 2013 #2
    I've never had to do a test like that, but in my experience there's little correlation between the format of the test and how difficult it is. Even with multiple choice tests, your profs are going to try to make you deal with problems you've never encountered before (and they should). Unlike high school where you can just memorize the solution to each type of problem, engineering school is really trying to teach you how to attack a problem using your math/science toolbox. In the real world, you constantly have to deal with problems you've never seen before, and you have to figure out how to solve them using what you know. Engineering school should be preparing you for that, both by giving you a very strong toolbox of knowledge and techniques, and by making sure you can deal with problems that you've never dealt with before.
     
  4. Oct 24, 2013 #3
    I am currently taking a mathematics course where the exams are three parts. The first part is just to regurgitate formulations of theorems and definitions. The second part is to prove important theorems that were presented in class and in the assigned readings. The third part is what all of my classmates call "bonus" problems. I am sure that there are people who have solved every single problem in the given time for the three part test but so far no one in my current class has been able to do it. We never get these tests back so we never really know how we did.

    It is rumored that the professor doesn't even bother reading anything from the first two parts of the exam and only reads the last part. The professor has also said many times before that the third part lets him get to know the students thought process and since the class is small (17 students), it allows him to see where you stand and the sort of grade you actually deserve.

    This does also mean that the dreams of some people who have wanted to become mathematicians have been destroyed.
     
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