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What to expect from a test

We probably have covered much material since the last test (or if this is the first, we have already covered a great deal!)

However, there is much material (and many links).  My advice to you is to get the big things.  Every paper has one or two main points that you should get.  You do not need to read every word of every blog entry and definitely not every link that I provide.  Get the gist of the article.

You will be allowed cheat sheets for the exams.

All classes will be testable.  So pay attention to discussions, guest lectures, and videos that we may have.  BY FAR MY BIGGEST PIECE OF STUDY ADVICE!

As a general rule I will try to have about 5-10% of the exam (a bit higher for  upper level courses) from the blog and out of class material.    An additional 5-10% will come directly from text.

The remainder of the tests will come from class lectures (both notes provided on web and those in class).  As a tip, I expect you to take notes and follow along in all classes.  If I see a large number of people not doing so, this greatly increases the likelihood of me asking questions on that topic.

My tests are generally challenging.  I expect you to apply what we have learned.  Thus the test will by nature be more challenging than the relatively straight forward examples we use in class.

A sports analogy may help you understand this. Consider basketball.   In practice you spend hours doing the fundamentals.  Why?  Not because you are going to be able to shoot uncontested lay-ups, but because the better you are at uncontested lay-ups, the better you will be in a game when you are being pressured by defenders.
(thank you to Joe Coate for this example).

After the test, do not panic if you do not have 100%.  I do not expect you to.  In fact, if you have that high of score I will apologize to you for underestimating your intelligence.  I want to challenge you.  The Duke basketball team does not get better playing Div III opponents.  Likewise a too easy of test will not help you get better.


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