How to Pass a Course/Number based tests

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In any number based test such as math or physics the answers are normally completely right or completely wrong. This is also true for any multiple choice or true/false test. The following are some tips to make sure you arrive at the correct answer.

Understand what is being asked[edit]

Read the problem and try to spot the the information that they are giving you. Mark any such information. Then read the problem again and try to identify the unknown. Once you have this information, finding how to solve the problem should be easy. Many students try to figure out how to solve the problem before they have a clear idea of what the problem is requesting. After you have this clear, proceed on to solving the problem.

Use the units[edit]

If you are working in item that uses units, you can quickly use the formula with only the units to see if the formula can give you a sensible result. For example, an acceleration item in a physics test in which you are given the final speed, the initial speed, and the time, and you have to find the acceleration. The formula for acceleration is:


\mathbf{a} = {\mathbf{v} - \mathbf{u} \over \mathbf{t}}

Using only the units we get:


\mathbf{a} = {{\mathbf{m} \over \mathbf{s}} - {\mathbf{m} \over \mathbf{s}}\over \mathbf{s}} =  { {\mathbf{m} \over \mathbf{s}}\over \mathbf{s}} = {\mathbf{m} \over \mathbf{s}^2}

The unit m/s² sounds reasonable for acceleration. So we can feel confident that we have the correct formula. This is an overly simple example, since this technique gets more useful in more complex problems. This technique is also useful in tests in which the formulas are provided, but it's not clearly stated the purpose of each formula. Finally, make sure you make any conversions. It's not possible to add m/s with km/h. Such small mistakes can be very misleading.