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19 April 2011

Electricity and magnetism fundamentals review

This quiz is available via the Google Docs link in the text
Folks nationwide are in review mode for the AP physics exams.  I find that electricity and magnetism are tough enough for first-year students when the topics are presented in isolation.  The class can, finally, get most of the facts down with enough quizzing and hammering.

However, as we review for the cumulative AP exam, students no longer have the luxury of focusing on EITHER electricity OR magnetism.  They have to deal with both topics, presented one after the other, or even in the same problem.  Aarrgh!  Suddenly I'm seing right hand rules applied to electric fields. 

Yesterday I gave a two page, cumulative fundamentals quiz on all electricity and magnetism topics.  You can access (and use!) my quiz via a google docs version.  This one is tough... my class averaged probably 16-18 out of 25 points.  Thing is, none of these problems really requires much synthesis.  These are basic facts and basic analysis which must be instinctive for anyone who claims to have a solid understanding of E&M.

How do I use this quiz?  I gave it in a 9-minute class-opening segment.  I graded it yesterday evening.  Tonight as an additional assignment, students will correct their mistakes, justifying all answers thoroughly.  Then I'll give a second, different fundamentals quiz on electricity and magnetism tomorrow.


  1. Any chance you could post a key to this document ;)

  2. No, sorry, no key... for a few reasons:

    (1) For a student, the key defeats the purpose. A student should take the quiz, then go over it with another student, using the teacher to arbitrate any disagreements about the answer.

    (2) I'd prefer a teacher to make his or her OWN key. Part of teaching physics is learning the material to the same level as the students.

    (3) Some teachers will use this as an in-class quiz. I don't want the "official" answers floating around the web.

    If you have a specific question about one of the questions, please email me, and I'll be happy to discuss it with you.