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Topic: what type of exam questions are common in your country?  (Read 3240 times)

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Offline sdfsfgfdgdfdf

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what type of exam questions are common in your country?
« on: February 04, 2013, 01:41:48 PM »
Hi everyone, I would like to ask about the types of exam questions that are common in other countries for an undergraduate level of studies.

In my country the proffesors very frequently require that we know the chemical formulas of compounds or the chemical equations of certain reactions by heart, regardless of the subject - inorganic, analytical, organic, biochemistry etc. I personally believe this is absurd, especially since in many cases these reactions are not in a very deep context, they're just sort of, mentioned in the material we are given. I have some experience with international education, and have found that this is not the case elswhere, but I am not sure. So, I would like to know, what approach the proffesors have to exam questions in other countries, and is this learning of formulas and equations by heart a practice anywhere else in the world? To me, this has been a great source of frustration throughout my entire studies.

Offline Dan

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Re: what type of exam questions are common in your country?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2013, 03:10:10 PM »
So, I would like to know, what approach the proffesors have to exam questions in other countries, and is this learning of formulas and equations by heart a practice anywhere else in the world?

I sat my final exams in 2006 in the UK.

Generally we had to had to know or be able to work out the formulae of chemical compounds, the outcomes of reactions and were given no mathematical formulae at all.

It is not unreasonable to expect students to know the basics. For example, if you memorise the periodic table (as we had to) you have enough information to determine the electronic configuration of any atom/ion, which gives you a good starting point for a lot of questions in inorganic chemistry. You have to be selective in what you strictly memorise, because you can't memorise everything. With plenty of practice you will find that you can absorb a good deal of the core information passively.

A solid education has to be a mixture of knowledge and application.
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Offline sdfsfgfdgdfdf

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Re: what type of exam questions are common in your country?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2013, 12:21:59 AM »
Maybe you didn’t understand what kind of memorizing I was talking about. Let’s take analytical chemistry for an example. There is a chapter for determining inorganic ions. In this chapter, some 30 or more inorganic ions are covered. For each of these ions, there are several methods for determining them. For each of these methods there are several chemical equations that describe them. That’s at least 100 chemical equations total. Each of these equations has to be memorized. And that’s just one chapter.

I think of chemical formulae as a tool that chemists use, and of course if you work with a reaction long enough you’ll know everything about it, but how important is it really to memorize this kind of information? Even if you do memorize it for an exam, you’ll forget it pretty soon. And besides, there is a lot of reference material available and even that is not necessary, because you can even find a lot of the information on the internet.

I understand, like in maths and physics, where you have problems and if you solve enough of them, you learn the formula, and even if you don’t know it you can always derive it, but in chemistry, it’s not the same thing.

And also, I don’t think it’s fair to ask students to memorize the entire periodic table, that’s just… unfair. It’s the periodic table! You can hang one in your room if you really want to…

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Re: what type of exam questions are common in your country?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 04:27:55 AM »
Maybe you didn’t understand what kind of memorizing I was talking about. Let’s take analytical chemistry for an example. There is a chapter for determining inorganic ions. In this chapter, some 30 or more inorganic ions are covered. For each of these ions, there are several methods for determining them. For each of these methods there are several chemical equations that describe them. That’s at least 100 chemical equations total. Each of these equations has to be memorized

Bolding mine.

You don't have to memorize each of these equations. Once you understand the idea behind (say - Ag+ is detected by precipitation with chlorides) you should be able to write the reaction equation just because you know how to write reaction equations. And the idea is not a random one, as you should already know the solubility rules.
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Offline sdfsfgfdgdfdf

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Re: what type of exam questions are common in your country?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 10:20:03 AM »
It would have been really sweet if all of those reactions were precipitation reactions :) Especially if they were of the type

Ag+ + Cl- (arrow) AgCl  ;)

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