|Dror Bar-Natan: Classes: 2002-03: Math 157 - Analysis I:||(271)||
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Subject: Term Test 4 To Dror, To start off, I thought the test was fair. There was nothing too tricky about it. I lost most of my marks for Problem 1. This was mainly because the "pi proof" took so little class time, class notes, and text book pages in relation to the other topics of Taylor polynomials, sequences and series, so that I spent much more time studying those topics rather than the irrationality of pi. Therefore, I realized I didn't know the proof as well as I thought when I was at the exam. Well, that's what went wrong for me personally.
Many, many said the π problem (Problem 1) was hard. It wasn't,
though my moral is that I should have re-iterated the fact that
theoretical material, i.e. e.g. proofs and parts of proofs and variants
of proofs done in class, is absolutely fair game. If I teach a proof it is
not because I fear that the gods of mathematics will strike me if I don't.
It's because I think it has a value. So such proofs are an absolutely
essential part of the material you ought to know coming out of this class.
In general, I believe it would benefit the class if a sample test was given prior to the test, similar to what you did for Term Exam 1. I know that means extra work for you, but it does give everybody a better idea of what is expected of us for the test.
Sample tests are indeed a good idea, but as you wrote, it's extra work
for me. I could not do it for exams 2-4. The final is more important and
there will be a sample exam in advance of it.
Finally, I have a question about the solutions to Term Exam 3. For problem 5-4, the summability of (log n)/n^2, I did the integral test and showed it was divergent. I can't figure out what was wrong with my reasoning. Perhaps you can enlighten me. Thanks, and I hope my comments were helpful, SIGNATURE Subject: Feedback for Term Exam #4 With the exception for the first question, I felt that the term exam was reasonable, compared to term exams we have written in the past. My low mark was mainly due (like all the other past exams) to my carelessness. Once I go through the solutions to the term exam, i realize how not difficult it really was, and that i didnt see the relationship in the questions all together right away. Regarding Question 1, (which I talked to many students about it) it was quite difficult, I talked to a few fellow students in the class last night over MSN, and they felt that Question 1 was very difficult, even for the students who got outstanding results in the past term exams. Other than that, I have no further comments. SIGNATURE
Subject: exam 4 Hi professor, i'm NAME. About exam 4, i did very bad in question 1, and i lost a few marks on calculation errors. so my biggest fall was question 1... i was thinking only stuff from chap 20, 22, 23 and possibly the volume/surface integrals would be on the exam and so i just studied those and that's how i ended up screwing Q1. i did understand the proof when we did the irrationality of pi in class, but it was quite long ago and i forgot the crucial move of proving such p(x) does not exist... (by the way, on the solution sheet u said 0 < int p(x)sinx < int sinx = 1 it should be 0 < int p(x)sinx < 1/2 int sinx = 1 u forgot the 1/2 )
Thanks! You are of course right, and my solution set is now corrected.
I guess I loose a point.
for the calculation errors.. i had a personal problem and so i wasn't feeling well to do the exam...didn't really think clearly um, about the way u teach, i think it's fine~ but about "WHY" we r doing it, i didn't get the msg clear for chap 20. i know Taylor is good becoz we can use it to approximate or even find the "closed form", and i have a feeling that taylor is not just for approximation.. and now i know it's for power series.. (but actually it's not related to why exam 4 is so bad..) i guess maybe u can tell us more as to what/which theorem is important in later chapters, so we know what to expect...like i still don't know why Lagrange form for the remainder term is needed when i can find a bound from the other 2 forms...(at least up til now)
I do my best to separate the important from the less important in
class; the Lagrange form for the remainder is an excellent example - I
didn't even cover it, so I agree with you it is not terribly important.
also, in our class, i don't see many people who like math, i only know Gary likes it very much, and possibly a few others, but not the majority.. i guess they don't see the differences between analysis and standard University math...maybe they didn't do a lot of exercises...i'm really not sure, just my opinion
It is the highest calculus course at UofT and my assumption will
continue to be that people are in it because they want to be in it.
(in MY opinion) the exam is appropriate, Q1 is the hardest, then others r really quite routine...i wouldn't say it's harder than the homework assignments i think Q1 is hardest because i don't remember its proof for pi...i forgot the proof, and it became very hard to proceed...i didn't come up with the move "consider int p(x)sinx ..." hope this helps. sincerely, SIGNATURE
Subject: Test Hi Professor Bar-Natan, For what its worth, my personal result is lower because I got a little lazy and didn't study as much as I should... In terms of difficulty I thought the test was comparable to the others. Some of the questions like Q4 and Q5 everybody should have gotten since they were almost identical to questions in the book. Q1 was difficult becuase I didn't realize we were being tested on material from that chapter (perhaps others thought this as well?). Q2 was nice becuase it required a little bit of thought and then became a straightforward calculation. Q3 parts 1 and 2 were easy and again part 3 required some thought. I think you presented the material concisely and cleary with enthusiasm.
Hello, I cannot really say conclusively what went wrong as a group; personally i did ok. I was troubled with the first question for quite a while but i think this is more a result of my own mistake in reasoning, rather than the exam being inappropriate. I believe the exam was quite fair. From other people's responses i can speculate the following: It is possible that the new material was more foreign than anything we did previously, so people didn't really see the major points. It is possible that people were stuck on previous material and so couldn't understand new material. Sorry, this is not so helpful. I did not expect the results to be quite so low; I am likewise surprised. Good day. SIGNATURE
Subject: Term Exam 4 Personally, the biggest reason why I didn't do well in this Exam is because I didn't do the homework questions unlike the other times, when I was up-to-date with the homework. As a result my marks have dropped significantly in this test. Also, I haven't been attending the lectures regularly recently. Earlier, I went to every lecture. It is harder to catch up on my own.
Class attendance is ESSENTIAL and even more essential when the
material is less fun. What you like you have a chance of learning all
on your own. What you don't like is completely hopeless without an external
But I guess, the underlying reason I identified, is the subject matter itself. Otherwise, if I found the topic interesting, I would have definitely done all the things above the right way. The entire gamut of topics on Sequences and Series seemed very bland. It wasn't as interesting as Integration or Differentiation. But I guess I should have been motivated enough to study it nevertheless.
I agree. Sequences and series are a little less exciting in my
mind too. But there's nothing I can do about it - not every day is party
Hey Professor B, I think there are a couple reasons why this term's average might've been far lower than the previous ones. First, i think this is about the time everyone goes berzerk trying to juggle 10 different assignments, essays, and tests around their schedule. Personally, this has meant a lot less studying time for this Calculus test, which i regret but saw no way around it. I started studying a week in advance for the other midterm tests, whereas this time around, i could only start the saturday afternoon before the midterm.
I hereby offer my sincere empathy. Exhaustion is an old friend of mine
and I know her well. I wish I didn't and I wish you didn't either, and I hope
things will be better near the final.
Secondly, I think the topics themselves are a little confusing for one to wrap his/her head around. Personally, sequences and sums are so intimate that it becomes a challenge to differentiate (no pun intended) the two sometimes. Mix this in with some limits, delta's and epsilons, as well as derivatives and integrals, and we're dealing with practically everything we've learned since September. It's not as bad once one understands what it is we're trying to achieve, but i think it's this big picture that we lose track of sometimes, especially now when we're nearing the end of the year. As for the test itself, questions 1 and 3 were, i thought, hardest to answer. 1 because perhaps most of the class didn't think to study for the irrationality of pi proof (myself included), and 3 because one wasn't sure how rigorous a proof the marker was looking for (for which i lost all marks for). All and all, i believe the test and the way you've taught the past several chapters have been more than fair in all respects. I think it's just the sheer exhaustion of the students and the increasing complexity of the topics that is influencing the overall marks. The end is near though, and now that things are starting to die off, we can start paying more attention to the class and less to the work. Thank you for your concern. Sincerely, SIGNATURE
Subject: What went wrong. I don't feel that the test was unfair, however the first question really caught me off guard because I thought that the irrationality of pi wasn't on this test. I also thought that in general the test was difficult (but not too difficult). By this time of the year everyone is really stressed and busy. I know I didn't study as much as I had planned. The content also was different. Everything up to now has been about continuous functions (for the most part). The test was fair though, I'm just glad it's over. SIGNATURE
Subject: MAT157Y Hi, This is NAME, and I personally got not excellent, by all means, but pretty respectable (especially with surprisingly low mean average) grade around 80 in the exam. I didn't think the exam was exceptionally difficult compared to the previous ones, although I found it more challenging than the previous ones (hence the lowest mark among the 4 exams) in a way that I didn't prepare for some of the questions in the exam, for example the first one. I did, however, remember some of the techniques of proving that pi is irrational and I got marks for it, but I think that question is where most people lost the marks. But again, I am pretty happy with what I got and hopefully, I can continue to be so in the final exams and the courses to follow in future. Thank you SIGNATURE
Subject: Mat 157 I think the time of the test was bad, right now I have essays to write, term projects to do, and other tests to study for; and every one I know is in the same situation. I didn't have tthe same amount of time to study for this test as I did the last few. I think it would have hellped if the test was a week earlier or one or two weeks later.
Hi Dror, I have a few ideas about what may have been different for this test as compared with the previous 2. For me, I thought that the infitite series chapter was one of the most difficult chapters in terms of exercises since least upper bounds or limits. I did well, so nothing really "got" me this time, but other students said they weren't prepared to reproduce part of the pi is irrational proof. I guess that if one didn't remember to consider p(x)sin(x), then it's difficult to figure it out on the spot.
Not just difficult, practically impossible.
In other classes, too, averages have been going down. Many people in MAT 157 are also in Physics, in which the averages went from ~70 before Christmas to ~50 this term. That's not a reason for the drop in marks, of course, but it may be that students are just feeling the pressure to do well more this term and it's hurting all their classes. That's all that I can think of right now. I think that you've been doing an excellent job- consistently throughout the whole year. -SIGNATURE
Subject: Feedbck on Test # 3 Greetings, After speaking to several of my classmates, it became clear that the unsatisfactory results of the test are not due to: 1. Possible unfair complexity of the test. [test covered exactly the material we studied] 2. Larger amount of theorems or concepts to learn. [actually there were less than usually] 3. Lack of examples given in class. [there was no deficiency of examples, and all of them were really helpful] However there seems to be a consensus that this test: 1. Covered material never previously learned by most of the students. [example: series and sequences applied specifically in analysis] 2. Was considered hard by some students due to their absence from lectures and tutorials. [it is almost end of the semester and attendance had sadly dropped] 3. General exhaustion of majority of the students. [End of the semester is filled with tests, assignments, essays, and exam preparation] I sincerely hope that at least some of these ideas may help determine the real cause of the test results. Best Regards, SIGNATURE
Hello, My name is NAME and I am a student in your mat157 class. I have noticed that with the weekly assignments some students copy each other or copy straight out of the solution manual associated with our textbook. And thus many students were not practicing the new material and once the test came around they found they had a lot of work to catch up on. This may be a reason for the low average.
The reason I do nothing about students copying from the manual or
from each other is that there is nothing I can do about it. And you are
of course right that it hurts the people who do it.
I am sorry I do not have any suggestions on how to improve the average. -SIGNATURE Ps I personally liked the weekly assignments because it forced me to review the material that was taught in class.
Subject: term test 4 feedback a) the proof for pi irrational was quite daunting, i don't think i understood what function you were looking for and how you picked the needed criteria for that function b) Taylor series were great, but i started getting confused when the remainder and error stuff was added c) the following was confusing and definitely not intuitive: lim x-->a of [ ( f(x) - Pna(x) ) / (x-a)^n ] = 0 d) on the exam, problem 4 part 2: i don't know where to begin! perhaps more examples concerning sequences in class?
I agree a class example would have been helpful, though notice that
a similar problem did occur in the HW: Chapter 22 Problem 5.
e) determining the limit of a sequence or series, or determining whether or not a series converges -- i didn't practice enough on those
Commentary on Mid-term #4: Reasons why I faired badly on the exam. 1) I was pretty sure that the chapter on pi would only be on the final exam, (not on the midterm/I believe you said this in class).
I don't recall saying so. I did say it wasn't on Term Exam 3;
for Term Exam 4 I wrote which chapters where in and I didn't exclude
2) I did not study well/long enough, (very busy writing essays, others tests). 3) With regard to comments about yourself, I sincerely doubt it had anything to do with your teaching. Conclusion: I believe it had mostly to do with lack of time. (hope this was constructive.) thanks, SIGNATURE
Subject: Term exam 4 In my case, I would have to say that I didn't study appropriately for this exam, ie. I didn't do enough questions to be comfortable with the material and I guess it's obvious how to fix that problem. SIGNATURE
Dear Sir, I do not think the last exam was inappropriate. The questions on Taylor polynomials, cosmopolitan integrals, and convergence of series were definitely at the right level. I can assure you that you presented the material very well, so teaching was not the problem. I think one of the main reasons for the low class average was the first question. I know some people that did not study the proof for irrationality of pi because they thought it was "just for fun". Another reason could be that some people stretched themselves too thin while trying to study for the MAT240(algebra) test along with this exam. Besides the more general reasons I gave above I can also give some reasons for my less than stellar peformance. I misinterpreted part 3 of question 3 and showed what was required for "a small value of x" instead of for "small values of x". It would have been clearer if the question stated what it meant by "small values of x", but at the same time that could have given away too much. Another reason has to do with the proof for irrationality of pi. The "back-of-the-envelope" proof that was provided was little to go by. For example, it would have been helpful if it stated that we're only interested in what p(x) is on [0,pi]. It took me a while to figure out why p(x) was "clearly positive yet small", because if my understanding is correct, without the restriction on the domain of p(x) it would be easy to have a value of x for which p(x) would not be positive all the time. I'm sure all of this was explained in class, but I just assumed that I could learn the proof from the textbook which usually explains material quite well.
I guess the moral ought to be that both class attendance AND reading
the book are ESSENTIAL.
I hope this is more or less what you wanted as feedback. Thank you for taking the time to listen to what we thought about the test. It's an opportunity that we don't usually get, unfortunately the algebra professor doesn't seem to be concerned with low class averages.
He/she must be more senior than me... :-)
With respect to the results of the term 4 exam, some of the low results can be attributed to the fact that it's the end of the year and there are a lot of assignments, essays and term exams going on. I personally feel that first two questions on the exam were a little confusing and hard. The first problem was confusing because you wanted to know whether or not you could find such a polynomial and the way in which you proved that pi was irrational was that you could find such a polynomial. So I thought there was one because I guess during class it wasn't made clear that the polynomial itself doesn't exist. For the second one, it was confusing because the previous questions that you had assigned for the cosmopolitan integral i believe didn't use inequalities but equations so one could just use the equations for volume. So since it hadn't been seen before, it was difficult and personally, it seemed a little inappropriate for an exam for that reason. Just in general though, the last little while I've been a little confused with series and sequences and the convergence of a series versus a sequence converging. There wasn't really a problem with the way you taught the material, it was just difficult distinguishing between the two. So, in sum, I feel the first two questions were difficult and there's a little confusion about the difference between series and sequences. If when pi was proved irrational it was also made clear that the polynomial thus, overall doesn't exist and if inequalities were dealt with beforehand in the assignments and more explanations and examples of the difference between sequences and series (ex. the difference between having a cauchy sequence and the cauchy criterion for a series), the results would have been better. SIGNATURE
Generally speaking, it is quite fair to have an exam question which
isn't quite like class or quite like HW - we are trying to acquire a
certain body of knowledge; not merely a set of routines for solving
repetitive problems. So in studying, beyond solving HW problems and
memorizing proofs there has to be a stage where you stare at your notes
and try to really really deeply deeply understand what is going on. See
for example what I wrote About the
Second Term Exam.
Subject: Exam feedback I'm sorry for sending this late. On analysis of Term Exam 4, I have found that many of the mistakes which caused me to lose marks were computational in nature. For instance, I computed the wrong Taylor Polynomial in Question 3 and I forgot to change the bounds of integration when I made a substitution in calculating the volume for Problem 2. Problem 5 was more time consuming than it should have been, because I had to think quite a bit about which convergence tests to use. The last one on that problem was particularly frustrating. In terms of conceptual difficulties, Problem 1 and Problem 4 were the most problematic. I felt the most clueless about Problem 4. I remembered that the first part of Problem 4 corresponded to a theorem in the textbook, but I could not remember the proof of it. I do not know if I would have been able to figure out the second part, because it did not look familiar to me, and I ran out of time since it was one of the last questions I tackled. Subjectively, I felt a lot more pressure on this exam than I usually do. I am not sure why. I stayed up late studying the night before and so I was very tired while taking the exam, which probably explains the computational mistakes to some extent. Many of the things I studied in depth were not on the exam - I spent a lot of time studying the proofs of theorems in Chapter 20, since I seem to recall a good deal of emphasis on those in the lectures. Ideally, I would be able to study everything with equal depth and have everything internalized, but given a finite amount of time, this is very difficult to manage. Internalizing a proof seems to consist of one part understanding and one part memorization. The latter gives me some trouble, as I often have trouble recalling things that I have even proven by myself. But had I spent the same amount of time studying Chapter 22 as Chapter 20, I probably would have done much better on Problem 4. Another stress factor was that I was worrying about exams in other classes, such as Algebra. Besides figuring out a better study technique for myself, one thing that I think might have been helpful would have been if I had a practice exam to study before the taking the actual exam. I do look at the previous year's exams, but more and more, I find the emphasis of these exams to be different than both the material taught in class and the material on our exams.
I guess that's why HW23 says "for what
it's worth" before "review last year's fourth term exam...".
Subject: test problems Sorry this is getting to you a few hours after the deadline but this is the first chance I have had to get to a computer today. I have spent some time thinking about what went wrong with the test. I knew when I had finished writing it that I did not do very well, but it surprised me to see that the class as a whole felt the same way. I found that in previous tests, more of the questions seemed to be very similar to questions I had come across in reviewing the homework and tutorial problems. Solving problems similar to ones I have already thoroughly understood, although perhaps not as useful, takes far less time on a test. I don't think the questions were unreasonable, but just that they might not have been what the class was expecting to see or had time to work out. I might have a little more success if we had more time or less questions. Maybe others might have found the same. Studying might have also been a problem. Although I studied class notes and the chapters in Spivak, I spent a lot of time practicing homework and tutorial problems. I found most of the homework consisted of questions on how to use the theorems rather than understanding them (questions like #5 from the test). I found myself practicing a lot of those types of computations and remembering theorems, so perhaps I (and others) were sinking into a routine and forgetting to see the bigger picture as you said. Maybe suggesting a few extra problems similar in structure to ones we could expect to see on an exam might be useful. I would be very interested to see what other people thought went wrong as well.
Dear Prof. Bar-Natan, As you requested, here are my comments about Term Exam 4(I hope the deadline wasn't strict). I guess it's worth mentioning that I got around 60 this time and 80-100 on exams 1,2, and 3 respectively The level and adequacy of the exam: Besides perhaps sub-questions 4 and 5 of problem 5(which tested problem-solving abilities rather than the knowledge of the material) the exam was about the same level as the previous ones, and these, in my opinion, adequately tested the knowledge of the material. The lectures: I think the lectures are comprehensive and adequate in terms of teaching the material. I missed a lot of lectures in the Winter term, though, the main reasons being the fact that they are held in the morning, and an excess of homework that made me stay up late at night. My excuse: I had two consecutive tests on Monday, so I had to study for two tests at once. The results of these unfortunate cirumstances are apparent. Particularly, I didn't have time to review the proof of the irrationality of PI, and couldn't even approach problem 1. Perhaps a mandatory homework assignment(I think there wasn't one) on this topic would have helped or, rather, forced me to understand the proof. General excuse: It appears that, as a rule, full-year courses become more demanding towards the end of the year. Consequently, the results are lower towards the end of the year. This, of course, would infleunce mat157 results even if the level of mat157 were about the same throughout the year(which, I think, is the case). Sincerely, SIGNATURE
Hi, the reason I didn't do so well was because of 2 reasons. Firstly, the 1st question which was based on the proof that pi is irrational was unexpected since in class you had said that you MIGHT ask for a part of it on the FINAL exam. This lead me to believe that you would not ask anything about it for this test, hence I hadn't looked at it and had no chance to get any of the marks for question 1. Secondly, the question with the recursive sequence was too much out of the blue for me to figure out. I guess since I hadn't seen one before I just got confused. I think that in the future you should tell us exactly what parts from the text will be tested on, and try to give an example in class of for example a recursive sequence just so that it isn't too confusing. Stefan Banjevic ps, I'm sorry for the lateness of this response, I couldn't get to a computer yesterday.
Hi, Sorry this is late, but I naturally thought the feedback was required at the same time as the rest of assignment 24 and I only just noticed it was dated for the 28th. Anyway, I don't think there is any one thing I did that went wrong with this exam, I think it was an accumulation of things. As an idea of the level of student (such as it is) that I represent, my previous exam marks were approx. 60 and now around 30, so I have been struggling all along (usually just below the average), but obviously this last exam was much worse than the others in terms of my performance. For the other exams, even though I did not do particularly well, I always felt I understood the material and also understood the places where I went wrong, in the sense that AFTER the exam, with the leisure of time on my side, I have always been able to come to the correct solutions or at the very least understand the provided solution. In this exam, however, this was not the case, which suggests that there is something fundamental that I am not understanding. Issue 1: I believe the main problem I have is that the newer material does not build on the previous material in as linear a fashion as previously, or at least I am not able to percieve it as such, which also could be the problem. For instance, derivatives built directly on limits and boundedness, etc., and integrals are very directly related to derivatives, etc. But the cosmopolitan integral section, and the irrationality of pi represent a break from the path we were on, and I was not able to assimilate this material very readily. Likewise, taylor polynomials, sequences, and series, although we'd seen examples of each previously in the text, were in fact something of a digression I felt. I mean this in the sense that yes, the tools we have developed are necessary for these chapters, in the sense that we needed to go back to our concept of limits to prove convergence of sequences and series, and we needed derivatives to formulate taylor polynomials; so in that sense these chapters do build on previous material because we need those prior tools to formulate our newer concepts. However, the newer chapters are actually a break from the previous material in terms of the concepts themselves, their purpose, computation, etc., which are all very new and alien compared to what we have seen thus far. I think part of the problem is that all of our previous concepts related obviously to geometry, in the sense that a derivative was a limit of seconds, and integrals are the area under the graph, etc., whereas in these sections the 'picture' was not so obvious, and in some senses was quite abstract (how does one 'picture' infinity anyway?). Even the cosmopolitan integral, which was quite obviously geometric, was so in such a way that it was quite unfamiliar to anything we've done before. I don't want to suggest this was the whole problem, but only a part. The other half of this is that I felt I understood the new material as we progressed, when in fact I did not. This is always the worst situation to be in, because if you think you understand the material when you don't, you can't even address the problem because you don't knot the problem exists. As an example, the cosmopolitan integral section I thought I understood, and I was able to do the recommended and required homework questions for this, although in most cases only after discussing the problems in tutorial or with other students. However, in hindsight I discovered that I never fully understood the section at all, because I never realised that the formulas we developed for the disc and shell methods and for surface area were universal; I thought we derived them only for those particular shapes. As to why I thought this, I can't say for certain because it is quite obvious in hindsight. Thus, on the exam, I tried to develop a formula from scratch which a) I screwed up and didn't quite get right, and b) ate up a lot of time. So even though my reasoning was correct and I was on the right track, by not remembering and applying the right method I really screwed myself up; but prior to writing the exam I don't see how I would have known this since I didn't even know I had a problem. Issue 2: I believe there was a lot more memorization required for this exam. Perhaps this is not true, and is an indicator that I didn't understand the material. But in previous sections, such as 'significance of the derivative', even though there were many things to memorize, they felt very natural and inter-related, and we had much repetitive practice with each, so that it did not seem like we were memorizing so much. But in these chapters there is just as much material to memorize, but it all feels unrelated, arbitrary and abstract (again, perhaps indicating there is something I am not 'getting'). In 19-appendix there are three integrals to remember plus all our old geometric formulas, which may not be fresh in the minds of many (such as surface area of sphere, etc.). In chapter 20 we have to remember the form of a taylor polynomial and how to find the coefficients, 3 different remainders, etc. In chapter 22 there are many similar things to remember, as well as sequences. In 20 and 22 much of this material seemed unrelated (not just from each other, but from the rest of the book as well), and its purpose and application were often vague or misunderstood. Ie., I'm still not sure I understand the purpose of the remainder, except as a measure of error, but if that is it's sole purpose why do we have three versions of it and how do they relate to the rest of the material? In chapter 23 there was again a lot of similar issues, and although the material built quite directly on chapter 22, I found the volume of material quite daunting: there were 9 new theorems as well as lemma's, conditions, criteria, etc. In addition to THAT, the convergence/divergence properties of many series had to be memorized in order to make the comparison test a useful tool. Issue 3: Here is a breakdown of why I did poorly on each exam question (you may want to skip this I guess since it is more specific to me and not necessarily representative of the problems the class had as a whole): Question 1 I don't think I could have gotten even with extra time, which probably means I didn't really understand the irrational pi proof even when I thought I did. Quesiton 2 I discussed above. Question 3 part 1 I got wrong, but it was a simple arithmetical issue, where I couldn't multiply 2 by 3, etc. and ended up getting my sign confused (multiplying by 1 instead of -1, because I took the derivative of x instead of -x), which are simple mistakes I made under the pressure of exam anxiety. 3 part 2 I didn't realize was supposed to build on part 1, and since I got part 1 wrong there was no way I could do this. I didn't even attempt it correcty however since I thought you were looking for some completely general formula when you were not. 3 part 3, again I didn't realize it was building on part 1 so I could not have gotten it right however long I took, and since part 1 was wrong, it wouldn't have helped anyway. Question 4 part 1 I could not have answered. I didn't see how to approach the question at the time and now that I do I'm not sure I could have come up with it on my own, even though I'd looked at the theorem and its proof several times. 4 part 2 I could not have gotten either, since I did not think to apply part 1, although in hindsight the answer is quite simple and obvious, it's a case where I don't believe I would have come up with the answer in an exam setting. Question 5 was quite hard I thought. This is the one section where I felt I had a chance to make up some marks but did not. I spent a lot of time and effort looking at series from the book and determining if they di/converge. However, with a couple of exceptions, the examples on the exam were quite challenging (even if they were from the text). Part of my problem was simply exam anxiety and part was arithmetic problems. Solutions: Unfortunately I do not see any simple answers to these issues and even if I did they might only be applicable to myself. Issue 1 might be helped by more examples, by more references to how the 'picture' looks, by more references to the relevance of the new material and how it relates to or developed from material we already know. (and then again, maybe it won't help) Issue 2 might be helped by improving issue 1. Otherwise I'm not sure there would be any way around this. Possibly by doing more numerous but less challenging homework questions? (or maybe the opposite is true, and we should do fewer more challenging ones? I'm not sure). Issue 3 is my own problem, but as a guideline I study by re-reading the text, re-reading my class notes, and by re-doing the homework along with all recommended problems. I then repeat as necessary until I run out of time or feel comfortable (more often the former). But I feel this is a reasonable study method and ought to yield good results, so hopefully I will improve naturally if I am able to properly grasp the material. As a next to final note I think in general you do an excellent job of presenting the material and teaching to the level of the class (this isn't sucking up but is meant to indicate that perhaps the fault is not with the classroom presentation per se, but simply with the material or our class as individuals, and that by changing too much it might make things worse rather than better (ie. if it ain't broken, don't fix it, and just because the exam mark suggests something is broken, perhaps it isn't)). As a final note, I found this exam the most challenging yet. Possible difficulties with the material aside, I felt the style of the exam was quite different from the previous 3. In the past, the format for the tests was Q1 was a difficult proof, Q2-Q4 included some graph or application style question, an easier proof, and a variation on a homework problem, while Q5 was usually a computation of some kind. Exam 4 I felt strayed quite dramatically from this format and part of the problem may be that it took people by surprise. Q5 was computation, but much more difficult than usual; there were no real homework Q's as such; there were no application Q's except perhaps Q2 which was a very difficult reworking of the type of problem we had faced in class and text, etc. Well, sorry for the length of this, but I hope some part of it helps! Thanks, SIGNATURE
Thanks for your very thoughtful notes! I read them carefully, but at
6PM the evening before I have to teach, I can't write an as-thoughtful
response. I'd be happy to read your notes again with you at my office