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Prepping for Final Exam

  1. Jun 11, 2017 #1
    I presently teach physics to high school sophomores and we are spending the entirety of this upcoming week preparing for the final exam. However, many of my students have "checked out" and are resistant to working or studying. Review packets and problems only seem to inspire a small few students who generally want to do well on the test. Can anyone think of activities, games, or study formats which would be more inspiring for my students? I have already received some ideas to play Jeopardy or use Kahoot, but again I'm not sure how enticing that will be to the students who feel they are done working. Nevertheless, any advice will help. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 11, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Give them a worksheet and tell them that some of these questions will be on the test.

    My old EM prof did this. He handed out a 60 question worksheet and told us that 5 of the questions would be on the test. That focused the whole class of 12 to divide up the sheet and share our answers in a group.
  4. Jun 11, 2017 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    I did that once - gave them a worksheet and told them at least one question would be taken directly from the worksheet. The test was the worksheet. I still had students who failed. And complained that the test was too tough.
  5. Jun 11, 2017 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    The student group assigned me the two special relativity problems (EM 4-vector stuff) to work out for the group. To my surprise both were on the test and the remaining three were trivial. Go figure.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2017
  6. Jun 12, 2017 #5

    Fervent Freyja

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    If they already have an A/B average just let them skip the final altogether? Offer an extra 10 points for completing and turning in practice tests on exam day?
  7. Jun 12, 2017 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    Perhaps you could pair these students up with the at risk students to help them study for the test.
  8. Jun 12, 2017 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    In 25+ years of teaching, I've never done this (let them skip the final). Their grades prior to the final are typically earned on segments of the material covered - the final tests their knowledge of the course overall.

    Most likely the test-taking strategy of these students was "hope."
  9. Jun 12, 2017 #8
    I wonder if they'll accept responsibility when they do poorly or if they'll blame the teacher.
  10. Jun 12, 2017 #9


    Staff: Mentor

    My old Calculus III math professor made it clear that the student was in control of his grades during our 10 week trimester.

    He graded best 7 out of 10 homeworks selectively picking problems to score for 10% of the grade. (Students never knew which ones were selected.) He gave surprise quizzes every Friday using best 7 out of 10 scores for 15% of the grade. He gave periodic tests best 3 out of 4 chosen for 75% of the grade.

    Finally the student could select the final test grade weighting from 20% to 50% of the final grade chosen before you took the final.

    As a student you knew where you stood and whether you should risk the 50% nuclear option. I did not.
  11. Jun 13, 2017 #10

    Andy Resnick

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    Motivating students can be a struggle, especially at the end of a term, but here are a few strategies (many of the same tips appear on different lists)


    From a student perspective, it may be helpful for you to 'switch things up'- get out of the semester-long routine and do something different. For example, is there a way to prepare for the final by spending a class period outside (weather permitting)? Another possibility- find some recent science-y stories reported in the local paper and spend the class period connecting the material to your class curriculum. 'Jeopardy' can be great, but it's tough to write good answers.
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