Online reading assignment: helpful/unhelpful Midterm 1 physics study tips

Physics 205A, fall semester 2019
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students have a bi-weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.

How difficult do you think this midterm will be?
Very difficult.   ****** [6]
Difficult.   *************** [15]
Neutral.   *********** [11]
Easy.   * [1]
Very easy.   [0]

In general, I am (or will be) prepared for the material covered on this midterm.
Strongly disagree.   [0]
Disagree.   *** [3]
Neutral.   ****** [6]
Agree.   ************************* [25]
Strongly agree.   [0]

In general, I understand (or will understand) the basic concepts of the material covered on this midterm.
Strongly disagree.   [0]
Disagree.   ** [2]
Neutral.   ****** [6]
Agree.   ********************** [22]
Strongly agree.   *** [3]

Describe something notable that either helped or did not help with studying for this midterm. Selected comments may be discussed in class. (Graded for completion.)

The following are all of the student responses to this question, verbatim and unedited.
"Going over the in class quizzes and familiarizing yourself with the questions on them will help."

"Writing everything out is helpful. My wall is a whiteboard so I try to write out everything and leave out no details. Also, writing out exactly what the question is asking for so even if you write down more than you need, you don't include it in your final answer."

"Getting a good night sleep before the midterm will help."

"More practice problems!"

"Going back and working out the quiz questions helped me with practicing the math parts of projectile motion problems."

"Going through the practice problems that are on the blog will definitely help with the midterm."

"I've reviewed the questions listed and I'm hoping that that will be enough to do well on this midterm."

"Working the midterm examples, and hoping that the midterm will be similar with review material."

"I learn best when I do multiple practice problems over and over."

"Working through examples in class are the most helpful to me. Additionally, worksheet problems in class are helpful."

"Doing lots of free body diagrams and kinematics equation problems."

"I felt like the practice examples helped a lot because it helped me to become more familiar with concepts that I had previously struggled with."

"Actually discussing the subjects in class."

"Drawing A LOT of force diagrams and using my hands to visually see how objects are interacting. Watching videos online was also helpful."

"Something that will help me is doing the practice problems offered by the website. Also reviewing old quizzes is always helpful."

"I enjoy working on the worksheets in class so I can learn how to do any challenges topics with other students around me."

"Something that helps is going back and looking at my notes and doing the examples on the blog."


"Normal force is perpendicular to the surface and static [friction] means stuck."

"Going over the past midterm problems will help."

"What I believe will be most helpful for me is to find example questions to practice in each chapter to make sure that I know where to go with the questions being asked. I feel like I have a good grasp on concepts for the most part, but sometimes I have trouble acting out all the steps in the right order. What is not helpful is that there are no library hours to have a quiet place to study. Weekends at home are loud."

"Free body diagrams help you to account for every force and which direction they point. It's important to draw these diagrams for appropriate problems."

"A practice midterm would help like how we get a practice quiz before every quiz."

"When doing the practice problems, something that helped me was to continue working on a problem until I didn't just get the right answer, but until I understood why it was the correct answer. If you can logically predict what the answer might be, or think your own answer through logically, rather than just trusting the number the math/process gave you, it will make you much more confident in your answer, and more likely to pick up on mistakes for when your answer is incorrect/doesn't make sense."

"I don't really think re-reading the book will help, but I plan on re-doing the homework questions as many of these are from past quizzes and midterms so If I am able to understand those, I think I should be able to do well on this midterm."

"I take frequent breaks from studying because if I spend too much time on a set of problems, I get a headache."

"Studying the practice midterm and the review problems will help me while studying for this midterm."

"Study with a group going over my notes and problems we've worked on in class. Re-doing them and going over terms. A list of all the equations we need would be helpful."

"Something notable that would help would be reviewing any problems from the course website that are marked as previous midterm questions."

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