**Exam philosophy****Midterm 1:**Wednesday October 23, in lecture**Midterm 2:**Wednesday November 20, in lecture**Final:**Tuesday December 10, 3:00-5:59p.m., room TBD**Practice exams**

I write relatively difficult exams with typical medians of 50-75%. Many of you will be used to fixed grade scales where 60% is a failing grade, so this may come as a shock. In our class, your absolute percentage on exams is virtually meaningless because your final grades will be curved in such a way that the class's final score distribution conforms closely to historical score distributions for Math 20C. For instance, the median will be *roughly* 2.7 (B-), *roughly* 30% of the class will receive an A+/A/A-, 30% B+/B/B-, 30% C+/C/C-, etc. To give you a sense for how you're performing in the class, after each exam I will post summary statistics on Piazza. Since the course is curved in this way, you would not get a better final grade even if the exams were easier.

It would actually be easier for me to write easier exams, so why do I insist on harder ones? There are several reasons.

It would actually be easier for me to write easier exams, so why do I insist on harder ones? There are several reasons.

- Easy exams give poor statistical distributions. If you plot the histogram of an exam with a 90% average, you'll see a "cliff" at the top end where the distribution is cut off, preventing the exam from distinguishing between top-performers.
- Easy exams often test basic mechanical ability (e.g. the questions are all minor variations on homework) without also testing understanding. I care deeply that you learn both. This may be a new experience for some of you.
- Math 20C is a large service course taken by thousands of students, and it is important for grades in such a course to be consistent between instructors and over time. Hard exams make it much easier for me to make reasonable curves which conform to these norms.

To study, do practice exams under time pressure (50 minutes). Create a beautiful note sheet that you know well enough to never look at. Review your lecture notes, the homework problems (online and written), and the textbook. Do additional problems from the textbook similar to the assigned ones.

To study, do practice exams under time pressure (50 minutes). Create a beautiful note sheet that you know well enough to never look at. Review your lecture notes, the homework problems (online and written), and the textbook. Do additional problems from the textbook similar to the assigned ones.

To study, do practice exams under time pressure (3 hours). Create a beautiful note sheet that you know well enough to never look at. Review your lecture notes, the homework problems (online and written), and the textbook. Do additional problems from the textbook similar to the assigned ones.

These will be posted on TritonEd.

The practice exams are adapted from past Math 20C exams. They are provided*“as is”*.
They may differ in content, emphasis, form, rules, number of problems and
problem parts, points/weighting, etc. from the exams given this term.

The sections covered on the practice exams are close but may not be exactly the same as in this class.

Additional Math 20C practice exams are posted on Prof. Golsefidy's Math 20C class website. Some are from past Math 20C classes that used a different textbook. The other textbook had some differences in notation and covered the topics in a different order, so topics may have been covered on different exams than this quarter. You can also find other practice exams on other Math 20C course sites.

The practice exams are adapted from past Math 20C exams. They are provided

The sections covered on the practice exams are close but may not be exactly the same as in this class.

Additional Math 20C practice exams are posted on Prof. Golsefidy's Math 20C class website. Some are from past Math 20C classes that used a different textbook. The other textbook had some differences in notation and covered the topics in a different order, so topics may have been covered on different exams than this quarter. You can also find other practice exams on other Math 20C course sites.