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The Physics of Test Taking



After not performing as well on the practice physics test as I would have hoped, I began to think about the physics of test taking, mainly using energy. We've learned that kinetic energy = .5mv^2 and that potential energy = mgh. In this instance, m = the question number, v = the speed that I answer questions, g = how easy the test is (the greater g is, the easier the test is), and h = my confidence. Therefore, my potential energy at the beginning before I take the test is converted to kinetic energy throughout the test taking process. Since mgh will equal .5mv^2 by the end of the test, the m's cancel out, showing that the question number does not matter in this scenario. By this equation, my velocity by the end of the test will equal (2gh)^(1/2). With this equation, it is clear that when I am more confident and have an easier test, I take the test faster and more efficiently. Also, my velocity can vary throughout the test since g is a constant but h is a variable as my confidence can rise or fall depending on if I get questions right or wrong. So, my goal for this midterm is to either study a lot and gain confidence, or just hope that we get a really easy test.


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During a difficult test, its not to easy to increase h except maybe stopping and settling your brain down, but prior to a test you can study equations and concepts in order to increase h

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