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Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents:

Course Related Questions

Test-Related Questions

End-of-Semester Related Questions


Course Related Questions

Do you offer extra credit?

No.  Offering extra credit to some students but not others is unfair, and offering it to all students unfairly creates work for students who have already devoted significant time to the course.  Grades are based on students' mastery of the materiala measure of quality, not quantity.

Do you drop the lowest test grade?

No.  Once you take a test, it is in the system for good.

To adjust for contingencies (accidents, broken alarm clocks, epidemics, etc.), I allow each test to be skipped; this places the entire skipped-test weight onto the final exam.

I do curve tests for difficulty, and you can earn more than 100%.  Curving works better than dropping the lowest test grade for two reasons:  first, dropping the lowest test grade results in lower test scores if all tests are difficult, and second, curving allows students to know where they relatively stand in the class throughout the entire semester.

Can I have your notes if I miss class?

No, I am not your secretary.  Please realize that I have many other department and university-level responsibilities.  Obtain the notes from another student; if you do not know any other students, this is a great time to learn how to networkan important skill in the real world.

What's your advice on withdrawing?

If you're overloaded with classes this semester, withdrawing can be a good strategy if you think that you can increase your other course grades (specifically in your major).  After all, employers care most about the GPA in your major.  You can always take a difficult class when you have a lighter course load, and a W on your transcript does not affect your GPA.

If, however, you think that withdrawing would only marginally increase your grade in my course by one letter grade or less, you should consider not withdrawing.  Redoing more than half a semester's work for the benefit of one letter grade or less is costly.

Think about withdrawing from a marginal perspective (weigh the additional benefits versus costs).  Please don't ask me if I personally think you should withdrawal; only you can make this decision, and I support whatever decision is in your best interest.  Also, you may calculate what grade/grades you need on future tests to make an A/B/C/D in the course by using basic algebra, the Grades Tracker Pro app, or Ben Eggleston's Grade Calculator.

Test Related Questions

May I take an exam early or take a make-up exam?

No.  I present all exam days on the syllabus the first day of class.  My expectations are clear and consistent—please plan ahead.  As I teach over 1,000 students each semester, it is impossible for me to fairly accommodate individual students on this margin.  Also, giving make up tests early to only a few students is unfair, since these students relay test information to those who did not yet take it.  Giving make up tests afterwards requires me writing an entirely separate test (each takes me about 6-8 hours to write) and unfairly gives those students more time to study than other students.

How can I do better on tests?

There are many reasons that you may not have done well on a test:

  • If you don't come to class, come to classTake notes when you are reading and in class, since this will help you remember the material better.  If you have not purchased the book, you should do so and read the chapters.

  • Devote more time to the class.  Some students learn from high school that A's are easy to obtain and very little studying is required.  The University of Georgia's standards are significantly higher, and it is not uncommon for students to devote an average of 8 or more hours per week to each class (16 or more hours per week for online classes, which are only 8 weeks long).

  • Take the homework seriously.  It is more important "how" to do a question than to just memorize answers.  The key to answering questions in economics is first 1] identifying the correct economic model or tool to use and then 2] correctly applying that model or tool.  If you were fixing a car and needed a screwdriver, but you pull a hammer out of the toolbox, there is no hope of correctly fixing the problem.  Once you have identified the correct tool, you then must know how to properly use it.  So, first focus on understanding what economic variables or questions each economic model or tool explains, then learn how to properly use those models or tools.

Poncho illustrates how to open a can by first 1] identifying the incorrect tool to use, then 2] incorrectly using the correct tool.  Super cute, but super ineffective!  Source: Paul Gilligan (best cartoonist ever!)
  • You may learn better in a group setting; I encourage students to form study groups.

  • I am more than happy to help students who show up to class during office hours.  If you need extensive tutoring on a subject, you can also check my syllabus for additional tutoring resources.

  • Some people are not good test takers.  This is difficult to remedy other than preparing as much as you can for each test and getting a good night's sleep before you take it.  Cramming at the last minute and pulling "all nighters" actually hurts your performance.  Imagine taking a driving test after pulling an "all nighter"; you might know what you're doing, but you'll drive poorly!

    I gave a freebie survey question to over 900 students one semester during a test and found that students who got between 7 to 12 hours of sleep scored 3 points higher on average than students who received less than 7 hours of sleep.  Students who got more than 12 hours of sleep performed 10 points worse, but this was a small percentage of the class and they may have been suffering from flu or other sicknesses.  So, get enough sleep before a test, and if you are not feeling well, skip the test.

  • The worst case scenario is that economics just doesn't "click" for you.  I always feel bad when a student works as hard as he or she can, but that effort does not translate into performance.  All people are good at doing different things, and bad news can be good newsit lets you know not to focus on a specific field that you will fail at later, saving you resources.  Instead, focus on fields that you are relatively good at and love.

Why is my test grade in the system different than what I calculated?

Follow these steps:

  • Did you calculate your grade correctly?  For example, if there are 30 questions, each question is worth 3.33 percentage points, not 3.00 percentage points.

  • One of the most common mistakes is bubbling a different answer on the scantron than on your take-home sheet.  I only take answers from the physical scantron sheet.  Take-home sheets are easy to forge, and some students attempt to "hedge" for points by bubbling in different answers on their scantrons versus take-home sheets.

  • Did you put your test in the correct version pile?  If your score is extremely low, it is possible you put it in the wrong pile.  If this is the case, I am happy to regrade your test, but I may deduct 5 points.

  • Did you correctly bubble in both your name and student ID?  I may deduct up to 5 points for not doing both correctly.

  • You may email me for your scantron answers, as I receive them from the testing center, so we may determine what caused the discrepancy.

End-of-Semester Related Questions

What is your final exam exemption policy?

Students who take all tests have an opportunity to exempt the final exam. After the last tests are graded, I will calculate pre-final averages and email each student his or her corresponding letter grade, with directions on how to exempt.

I calculate the pre-final average as 90% times the average of all your tests and 10% times the homework.  You will find these grades in the homework system.  I do not round each exam before entering it into the above formula, but I do round up the final calculation if it is equal to at least 89.5, 79.5, 69.5, or 54.5.

Can you bump my grade up so that I do not have to take the final?

No.  Ultimately, I must declare margins, which satisfy the high standards set by the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business, and Department of Economics.

Should I exempt the final exam?

If your pre-final average is high on the margin, then I highly recommend you take the final.  If your pre-final average is low on the margin, you should exempt and focus on your other finals.  If you are sitting in the middle, recognize that there is a lot of competition above you who are closer on the margin, and you should only take the final if you do not sacrifice grades in your other classes. 

Think of the final as being the finish line to a race; if you are close, you have a short way to go.  If you are further away, you have to significantly increase your speed (performance) to pass those already close to the finish line.

Please don't ask me if I personally think you should exempt the final; only you can make this decision, and I support whatever decision is in your best interest.  Also, you may calculate what grade/grades you need on future tests to make an A/B/C/D in the course by using basic algebra, the Grades Tracker Pro app, or Ben Eggleston's Grade Calculator.

Do you curve the final exam?

Yes; I curve the final exam as much as possible to bump up as many as I can, without inflating final grades or lowering the standards set by the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business, and Department of Economics.

What grade do I need to make on the final exam to make a/an A/B/C/D in the class?

You may calculate this using basic algebra, the Grades Tracker Pro app, or Ben Eggleston's Grade Calculator.

How do I study for the final exam?

The best way to study for the final is to first focus on the homework and test questions from this semester. Most of the questions on the final are similar in nature.  Focus on the material from tests that you did poorly on first, while paying extra attention to the questions you got wrong.  Next, study your notes.  Although much less common, I can always test on something that I discussed in class but was not able to cover on a previous test.  I don’t recommend rereading the entire book.

The final exam is cumulative, and I equally weigh each test's material on the final. 

Please also see "How can I do better on tests?" above for more tips.


























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