Exam #1 – getting ready & what to expect

The first short exam will be in-class Tue-Wed (Sept 17-18). It will run about 25 minutes. The brevity of the exam can make the experience feel a little intense so here are a few notes on how to prepare and what to expect:

First, on-line resources:

  • Exams page: exam policies, academic honesty expectations, copy of last year’s exam & answers (check these out so you can see what ‘answers’ look like)
  • Conferences page: some extra problems; these are meant to challenge you, to make sure that you are looking at some items that might get overlooked, but they are not meant to be examples of exam problems
  • Classes page: class schedule, handouts, answers to in-class activities

Second, getting ready: The exam covers the material from Days 1-4. Read the learning objectives (listed at the end of each activity) to see what I expect you to know. Learn the important sections of the Periodic Table – I will not allow/provide Tables during the exam.

I will hold a Q&A session on Monday 5:30 pm in Chem 301 (if that room is unavailable, we will move to another room in chemistry – look for a note on the 301 door). The session will be limited to your questions & my answers. I will not be giving mini-lectures, study suggestions, etc., – it is not a ‘review’ session.

Third, what to expect: The exam will be given out at the beginning of class. Don’t be late. After that we will take a short break and the rest of the class will be given over to a lecture on hybrid and molecular orbitals.

If necessary, I will ask you to clear your desk surface (put away all books, notebooks, phones, music players, etc., – the exam is ‘closed everything’) and adjust the seating arrangements in the class before I hand out the exam. Please do not sit right next to another student. Leave one empty chair (or a comparable space) between your seats. This is done mainly to provide each student with something like a “distraction-free personal space” in which to complete the exam. Organic chemistry exams have an exceptionally high visual profile – the answers are mainly drawings – and the extra space offers a bit more insulation from visual distractions.

I will hand out the exams to all students. Please do not start reading or working on the exam until I say ‘begin’. At that point, I will go into the lobby next to E314 and take a seat. If you have questions or would like a hint, find me right away because the exam will be over before you know it.

When I come back into the room and say ‘stop’, please put your pencil down. If you are in the middle of a formula (say, a Lewis structure), please complete it by transferring what is already in your head onto the paper, but don’t extend your work time, don’t begin checking over your answers to make corrections, don’t start a new problem, don’t even start ‘part D’ of a four-part problem. When I say ‘stop,’ the exam is over. Just check to make sure that your name, FIRST & LAST, is PRINTED on the top of the exam.

Good luck! Alan

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