going over practice exams w/ profs

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going over practice exams w/ profs

Postby rawrab » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:06 am

This is a seriously dumb question but how does going over practice exams with profs work? I am very intimidated by my prof so I feel stupid asking him too. He agreed to go over practice exams with me but I am unsure of the logistics of it. He doesn't email, so do I bring him the exam I took and my answer to it and then come back another time once he has read it? I feel like if I asked him this he would laugh in my face.

what are your experiences going over practice exams with your profs? did you find it helpful?

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Re: going over practice exams w/ profs

Postby jess » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:10 am

Last edited by jess on Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: going over practice exams w/ profs

Postby rawrab » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:42 am

I generally go the e-mail route, but since that's not available, I've done it two other ways.

1.) I print out my answers, hand them to the professor, and then schedule a meeting for a week later.


2.) I go to their office hours and ask specific things I was confused on, verify the direction I went in was right, etc. etc. This method is least preferred, of course, but sometimes professors don't want to "grade" your practice exam.

I'm assuming he doesn't provide a model answer or sample student answer?

He does not provide model/sample answers.

So if I print out my answer do I hand it to him after class or go to his office hours and hand it to him and then schedule another meeting? It just seems so awkward.

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Re: going over practice exams w/ profs

Postby iShotFirst » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:47 am

You really have to ask him, come on thats his job and hes already said he would do it. What more do you need?

I did that for all my exams the first year, and different profs did it in different ways. The 'intimidating' professor of our section did it like this: he would look over it and give it to you, then you look over it, and meet only if you have any questions.

Another option could be a TA (if your class has them). In my experience they are very willing to go over practice exams with you, and they are selected by the professor for their high grade in class so they could be a good resource for you.

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Re: going over practice exams w/ profs

Postby Ph1neas » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:23 am

In my experience, the professor won't review a completed written practice exam because they are not able to do it for everyone in the class. Take a practice exam and then review that exam with the professor during their office hours. What they will likely do is walk you through the "model answer". That has been my experience. Also, the information you get in an exchange during office hours is much more valuable than you would likely get in a completed review of your written work. If you've ever seen a graded law school exam there is not much feedback rather check marks, plus and minus signs.

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Re: going over practice exams w/ profs

Postby sillyboots » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:56 pm

unless your teacher is super generous, bringing in a full written answer is probably bringing too high of expectations and in my opinion has potential to annoy the professor. I think you're best going in with an outline of an answer and asking him if he'd prefer for you to talk through and summarize the outline of your answer and see what input he has, or if he'd prefer that you just talk to him about points you were confused on and places where you weren't sure what direction to go in.

Even though it is technically a professor's job to be available to students, I think a lot of students really push too far with how much they rely on the teacher and how much they squat in teachers' offices. Teachers have administrative and research concerns, and on top of that are adults with lives and often have random shit to worry about like filling out forms for their kids' school or how they might rearrange their schedule make it to their spouse's award ceremony at his/her work. Even though it's the "professors job" it doesn't give you a license to make it unnecessarily tasking-- it's a janitor's job to clean shit up, but it's not a free license to make a mess. Point is, if your teacher is generous and is offering to make themselves available and seem happy to meet with you, go for it, but be sensitive and use some social awareness to gauge when you push your luck, and if you're going in relatively frequently, err on the side of not doing so next time, and when you do go, spend some good time preparing before hand so that it's as short and to the point as possible. I have had two professors actually thank me for being quick and concise when I go in. With the exception of things like going over practice exams, I've also found that everything I would've asked a professor, I wandered my way into the answer on my own eventually.

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Re: going over practice exams w/ profs

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:15 pm

rawrab wrote:go to his office hours and hand it to him and then schedule another meeting? It just seems so awkward.

That's what I would do:

"Come on in"
"Hey prof X, I was wondering if you would be willing to go over my exam with me? I understand that it's been a while since you've read it so I printed out a copy and could meet with you later once you've gone over it again."

Doesn't seem awkward to me. I will add some of my own caveats about going over exams with profs (in that it's not always helpful):

1. They won't necessarily read them before hand even if they say they will. A couple of mine were flipping through the exam while I was meeting with them and clearly hadn't read it in a while.

2. They won't necessarily give great responses. Classmates and I often had similar answers to the model exam yet got wildly varying scores. The prof often would struggle to find a reason for the grade and then would fixate on something small as the reason for a drastic score difference. Welcome to law school grading.

That being said, some profs were excellent and quite helpful.

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Re: going over practice exams w/ profs

Postby kalvano » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:31 pm

I've done it, it's been exceptional helpful, and anyone who says looking over a fully written model answer is asking too much of a professor can suck it. They get paid an exorbitant amount to teach 1-3 classes a semester. It's absolutely part of their job to be available to you. Going over a full model answer takes maybe an hour. It is in no way an imposition on them.

Just don't drop by if you have a full answer, email them and schedule a meeting for an hour or so.

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