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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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YEAH!
color cycle (slow)
kistaro
I got my Physics exam back: 73%. That's actually a B minus, which is a way lot better than, say, a D. Or an F.

This is not stopping me, however, from appealing eighteen points removed on the exam. I don't expect to get all- or even most- of them back, but I think I've got a case for some of them. I e-mailed Dr. Bernatowicz to ask if I have a case.

But you know me.




To: [Professor Bernatowicz]
From: abn1@cec[...]
Subject: Regrade question


I'm not exactly unsatisfied with my score on the last test. 73% is way, way better than the 50% I got on the previous exam. Suddenly, I don't feel like a failure.

Greedy nerd that I am, however, I'm considering an appeal of 12 points on the exam. (The fact that this would push me into the A- bracket is actually an honest coincidence. I don't expect all the points back.) I just want to know ahead of time if my request has any merit whatsoever.

My first disagreement is on question 2b (scored 1/4- question 2 was 9/18, primarily due to my not answering question d due to time and brain functionality constraints). This is the "Is this collison completely elastic within the data precision? Justify your answer." question. The red scrawl was "show K(Ei) = K(Ef)", noting correctly that I did not explicitly show that the kinetic energy in = kinetic energy out.

Problem is, that's how I solved part A. My answer to part B was "There are no nonconservative forces in the problem. All forces are conservative, so the collision must be elastic." I'm not particularly impressed with my own answer, but his answer seemed like I'd get a zero on it- it would be a meaningless tautology, as I used conservation of energy to solve the problem beforehand! (In fact, I answered part B long before I answered part A. I answered it and then went on to the next page because it looked moderately intimidating.) The answer I gave didn't use conservation of momentum- it used conservation of energy.

One of my suitemates gave an almost-identical answer and lost exactly one point.

My other appeal is the entirety of question 4, for which I was assessed a 2/15. I agree with the subtraction of four of the thirteen lost points; I'm appealing the other nine.

On parts b) and c), the grader crossed my answer out in its entirety and docked me for the entire problem value. I looked at what I wrote for how I solved the problem- which is what they're supposed to be scoring- and found it to be strikingly similar (I.E. almost identical in methodology, although unforunately not in result) to that stapled to the board outside Crow 201. The reason I lost the points is, I suspect, because my final answers looked so whacked (that's the scientific term, right?) compared to the correct answers. This is due to my 2-point error on question-part a), which I am not appealing, in which I screwed up radius vs. diameter and came to (GM^2/R^2) instead of (GM^2/4R^2) for |F[G]|. I'm not appealing that loss- I cleanly screwed it up- but I'm appealing the nine points lost subsequently to that, when I carried my incorrect answer down to the other parts of the problem. Wasn't it said that any given error should only be penalized once?

I'm not really challenging it, but whoever graded the final question seemed especially draconian (read as: anal) about showing work and docked a total of three points for "Explain ADshO=d", "be clear here," and "Shave Calc." While I'm not one to criticize handwriting, I believe I've misread the first and third of those. I have no clue what he wanted for the first one; it circled a point where I substitued in "3.80m * T" for "[T]". I did not think a clear substitution of a lever arm and a force for a torque would require much explanation. (In the previous line, there was a red modification to my numbers that made, and still makes, no sense whatsoever; the surrounding text was scribbled out, as was a -1 that was apparently not counted. I'm still wondering what the grader thought I did wrong there, as I apparently didn't do it wrong and came to the same answer as stapled to the board outside Crow.)

The "be clear here" was a one-point cut for skipping a step between (117.6N * cos(37) * 7.5m) and (124 N-m)- apparently the "Now punch it in to your calculator whole" step. I'm not sure if he wanted the value of the cosine of 37 degrees or what; it seemed clear enough to me at the time and still seems clear.

For where I was asked to shave my calculator: Looking more closely, I hypothesize the intended text was "Show Calc," indicating either that I neglected to add a diagram of my TI-89 or that the garder believes I skipped a step. Thing is, I didn't skip a step; instead, I presumed that the grader would follow my meticulously doodled set of arrows to show the zigzag spiral path my calculations followed and see the intervening step. I would presume not, as he (or she) drew an arrow of his (or her) own directly from an earlier step to my boxed answer, ignoring the two intervening steps.

Do I have a case for the refund of any of these points?

--Adam B. [last name deleted, evil stalker people!], who didn't fall asleep in class- really, I didn't, it's just that ultraviolet light units tend to give me a serious headache if I don't look away or close my eyes after about ten minutes- and this probably qualifies as the weirdest completely true excuse you've ever seen of the set of weird completely true excuses for why one appeared to fall asleep in class

P.S. Apologies for the puns. [Note: Not in this e-mail, it's puns I made after class. They were really, truly, painfully bad.] Please don't let it negatively affect your opinion of my score.

P.P.S. Apologies for the excsessive sarcasm over the last set of points off. I just felt sarcastic.

P.P.P.S. Yes, it's okay if you laughed at some point during this. I was rather hoping you would.

P.P.P.P.S. What's the proper form for the cover page to attach to my unadulterated exam to make it clear exactly what I'm whining about and want changed?

P.P.P.P.P.S. Have the post-scripts gotten a bit excessive?

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Or really quite excessive?




In other news: It finally feels like November! It dropped 40 degrees in one night! Yay!

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If I were the good Prof, I'd agree with most of your reasoning (but then, I haven't seen the test itself).

Of course, if I were the good prof, I'd also give you a lecture about excessive postscripts requiring a trend into "(P^X).S." land.

I think the punchline, insomuch as there is one, is the fact that Dr. B's reply, in its entirety, is:

"Sounds like it's valid. Show me the test Friday."

Verbosity vs. brevity indeed!

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