Frequently Asked Questions (Online)
End-of-Semester Related Questions
May I take an
exam early or take a
No; please read
my syllabus. I present all exam days on the
syllabus the first day of class, and I do not randomly change
exam days on my students.
My expectations are 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.
Do you offer
No; please read
my syllabus. First, offering extra credit to
some students but not others is unfair. Second, offering
extra credit to all students unfairly creates work for students
who have already devoted significant time to doing well in
class. Third, offering extra credit too often results in a
larger quantity of the same or lower quality work, and grades
are determined based off relative performance in the class.
Do you drop
the lowest test grade?
No; please read
my syllabus. 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
in the class throughout the entire semester.
How can I do
better on tests?
There are many
reasons that you may not have done well on a test:
carefully read the
chapters and attentively watch the lecture videos. Take
good notes when you are doing both; this will help you
remember and understand the material better. You will
also have better notes, which you may use when taking the
open book, open note online exams.
time to the class. Some students learn from high
school or technical 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 just
memorize answers. The key to answering questions in
economics is first 1] identifying the correct economic model
or tool to use to answer the question, 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.
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.
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.
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 news—it
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.
End-of-Semester Related Questions
your final exam policy work?
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 87% times the average of all your tests and 13% times
the homework and introduction assignment. 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 ultimate
calculation if it is equal to at least 89.5, 79.5, 69.5, or 54.5.
Can you bump
my grade up so I do not have to take the final?
This is not fair to other students and is asking me to violate
my professional integrity. Ultimately, I must
declare margins which satisfy the high standards set
by the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business, and Department of Economics.
exempt the final exam?
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 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.
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 overinflating final grades or lowering the standards set
by the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business, and
Department of Economics.
do I need to make on the final exam to make a/an A/B/C/D in the class?
calculate this using basic algebra, or you can use Ben
grade calculator, which many students recommend.
How do I
study for the final exam?
The best way to
study for the final is to first focus on the homework questions
from this semester. Many of the questions on the final
are similar in nature. Next, study your notes. I can
always use different shifters, for example, than I discussed in
class. I don’t recommend
rereading the entire book. The final exam is cumulative,
and I equally weigh each test's material onto the final.
Please also see
"How can I do better on tests?" above for