Quizzes will be three times over the course of the semester, and are not cumulative. Each quiz will last 50 minutes, and will have 15 parts, which will each be graded on the following scale:
3 pt: Complete answer, everything right, no wrong information.
2 pt: Some right, some wrong or everything right but incomplete.
1 pt: Right direction but more wrong than right.
0 pt: Completely wrong/no answer.
For each quiz you are allowed one 3×5 notecard, on which you may make any notes you wish. For the final, you can use a full 8.5×11 sheet, front and back. For the first quiz only, you may bring a calculator, but you will not need to use it much.
At the end of the term, your lowest quiz score will be dropped.
Preparing for the quizzes:
To prepare for the quizzes in this class, first take a look at the homework. Each homework will have example quiz questions that might have appeared on the quiz in an alternate universe. Looking at the style of these questions, think about what other questions I could ask about material covered in class. Your guide to this is the summary section at the end of each day’s lecture notes. I list there everything I think is important about the day’s material. If you know everything listed, you’re good to go.
I am far more interested in your understanding of the material than I am in your ability to memorize or recall facts. Each question will target that understanding. You do not need to memorize numbers or facts, but you do need to be able to apply astronomical models and define astronomical terms in your own words. Writing down a canned answer will get at most half credit.
Here’s an example quiz, similar to the ones I will give in class, but given in a different course. This exam covers less material than we will cover before the first quiz. The spirit of these questions is identical to those on the quizzes in this class. If you can do well on this example, you will do well on my quizzes.
I strongly recommend that you simulate an exam at home, giving yourself 50 minutes without notes to complete the above practice exam, BEFORE you look at these solutions.