Frequently Asked Questions (Online)
End-of-Semester Related Questions
May I take an
exam early or take a
No. I present all exam days on the
syllabus the first day of class.
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. 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 to only a few students requires me writing
an entirely separate test (I post answers to all students the
evening of the normally scheduled test) and unfairly gives those
students more time to study than other students.
Do you offer
No. 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
the course. Third, offering extra credit too often results in a
larger quantity of the same or lower quality work, and grades
are determined based on relative performance.
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
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 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.
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!
Paul Gilligan (best cartoonist
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 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 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?
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 inflating 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, the
Grades Tracker Pro app, or Ben
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