Examination Information

This page provides information on the examinations for courses taught by Prof. James P.G. Sterbenz.

Graduate Course Exams

EECS 780, EECS 881, EECS 882, and EECS 983

Requirements

Exams are closed book and notes; no information brought into the classroom may be used in the exam except that stored in your brain. No calculators, PDAs, or electronic devices of any kind are permitted. The only items you will need to take an exam is a pencil and eraser. Clearly you are expected not to look at the exams of classmates. Academic misconduct on an exam will result in a grade of F in the course as well as further sanctions; see the academic integrity page for details. All exams will be copied and the originals returned to students in class, or available for pickup by appointment.

The reason for closed exams is to test your knowledge of concepts that should have been learned. This is in contrast to homework assignments, whose purpose is to give you practice in problem solving as a way to help learn the concepts that will be tested on exams. All lecture material and all readings (whether or not explicitly covered in lecture) is fair game for examination.

Exams are designed to take approximately 1.5 hours. In the case of an Edwards Campus exam shared with a lecture in a 3 hour period, this means time limiting the exam time to allow some lecture to follow. While I understand that this is exhausting, there is no alternative in a one class per week schedule. In the case where only an exam is scheduled during a three-hour period, the proctor may choose to give you more time.

If you must miss an exam due to work-related travel or other unavoidable circumstances let me know in advance; generally we will try to schedule the makeup exam in advance of the classroom exam. Of course, you must agree to not discuss any aspect of the exam with anyone else until after the classroom examination time, whether or not they are taking the class. Only in the case of medical, family, or work emergency will an exam be made up afterwards, and you may be required to show proof of the emergency. If you have transportation problems, you should arrange alternative transportation even if it means a late arrival and call my mobile phone +1 508 944 3067 (I recommend that you have this with you on exam day).

Structure

Exams consist of two parts:

  1. The first part is a set of short-answer questions (two to four per page), designed to test your knowledge on a variety of concepts. An example of such a question is: The exact number and value varies from exam to exam, but you can expect five to eight such questions with a total value of 40%–60%. Your answer should fit entirely in the space provided using reasonably legible writing, otherwise you are writing more than necessary.
  2. The second part consists of two or three long answers that take an entire page. These questions are designed to test knowledge at a deeper level, and frequently require a sketch such as packet flow or a block diagram of a system design. An example of such a question is: The total value of this portion of the exam will be 40%–60%. Your answer should fit entirely on the front side of the page using reasonably legible writing and drawing, otherwise you are writing more than necessary.

Point values will be listed on the exam for each part and question. Writing on the back of exam pages will be ignored, so plan ahead!

Grading

In graduate courses I generally grade all exams without the help of a teaching assistant. I first quickly take the exam myself and determine the point value of the items I'm looking for in each question. I then grade by question, that is, all students for a given question before moving to the next question to ensure consistency. I don't pay attention to the identity of the students as I'm grading each question to avoid bias, and won't know how individual students have done on the overall exam until results have been entered and tallied in a spreadsheet.

Exams will be returned with a numeric score; overall class statistics (max, min, mean, median) will be announced and posted on the class web page. I can give a general indication of how I'd assign letter grades on a given exam, but of course this is not directly indicative of final grade considering all factors.


Undergraduate Course Exams

EECS 140

Requirements

Exams are closed book and notes, and will take approximately 1 hour; no information brought into the classroom may be used in the exam except that stored in your brain. No calculators, PDAs, or electronic devices of any kind are permitted. The only items you will need to take an exam are a pencil, eraser, straightedge, and drawing template. Clearly you are expected not to look at the exams of classmates; there will be multiple versions of the exams, but the differences will be subtle: You have been warned. Academic misconduct on an exam will result in a grade of F in the course as well as further sanctions; see the academic integrity page for details. All exams will be copied and the originals returned to students in class, or available for pickup by appointment.

If you must miss an exam due to unavoidable work-related travel o or other circumstances, you must clear it with me in advance; generally we will try to schedule the makeup exam in advance of the classroom exam. Of course, you must agree to not discuss any aspect of the exam with anyone else until after the classroom examination time, whether or not they are taking the class. Only in the case of medical, family, or work emergency will an exam be made up afterwards, and you will be required to show proof of the emergency before you may take the makeup exam. You should arrive early to the exam, but if you live off campus and have serious transportation problems, you should arrange alternative transportation even if it means a late arrival and call my mobile phone +1 508 944 3067 (this number is to be used only in the case of an emergency). Oversleeping is not an acceptable excuse, even in the event of a power failure. You should have two alarm clocks, at least one of which is mechanical or battery powered.

Structure

Exams consist of a sequence of problems similar in form to homework problems. If you've done well on the homework, you should have no problems with the exam. You will have to memorise certain facts and formulæ as indicated in class lecture and on the class Web page.

Point values will be listed on the exam for each part and question. Writing on the back of exam pages will be ignored, so plan ahead!

Grading

The exams will be graded jointly by the instructor and teaching assistants. Questions that are difficult to read due to sloppy writing or freehand drawing of a circuit will receive a grade of zero.

Exams will be returned with a numeric score; overall class statistics (max, min, mean, median) will be announced and posted on the class web page. The letter grade for the individual exam will be at least that indicated in the Grade Scale table on the class web page. Final grades will be numerically computed using the Grade Weight table, and thus letter grades corresponding to individual exams are useful only as intermediate milestones and don't directly dictate the final course grade.


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