Preparing For Prof. Burns' Exams

Midterm and final exams are not part of the learning process. They are conducted to measure the extent to which students have mastered the material covered in labs, lectures, and the reading assignments. As such, they tend to be long and difficult.

The class average tends to be 60-70%. Perfect scores are rare. The grading philosophy and the 1000-point grading system take this into account.

Questions include:

The best way to prepare is to stay current with all reading and lab assignments, and to attend every lecture. Review your lecture notes before an exam. Above all, go into an exam with the confidence that you know the things you know. Don't worry about the things you don't know -- you can't do anything about that anyway.

Exams are open book and open note. You may take books other than the class textbook -- that is, reference books.

No ScanTrons are required, and no Blue Books. You just need any good 20th century writing instrument -- like a pen or pencil.

Books and notes cannot be shared among students. No electronics of any kind are allowed, including notebook computers, iPhones, and the like. If you need to be contactable by cell phone, set your phone for vibrate mode and give it to Prof. Burns to hold for you.

Midterm and final exams are not returned to students. Prof. Burns keeps them for his records, in case it becomes necessary to explain or defend a student's grade. You may see (but not copy) your midterm exam during the office hour period.