PHYS 213 :: Physics Illinois :: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
If you have questions that are not answered here, visit the Contact Information page.
- I added the course late. What do I do?
Go to the Physics Department Undergraduate Office in 231/233 Loomis. Have them verify your add date. They will communicate with your lab and discussion leaders, and you will be excused from labs and discussions prior to your add date.
- How is the course graded?
See the course grading page on the course website.
- Do I have to go to particular office hours?
No. You can go to any (or none) of the office hours and any of the TAs or course staff will help you. However, many students find going to office hours very helpful!
- How can I get tutoring in Physics 213 course material?
Check the department website under Courses for a list of tutors who can work with you, for a fee.
- I went to office hours but no one was there. What
should I do?
Go to the Physics Department Undergraduate Office in 231/233 Loomis and they will contact the missing TA. They will also quickly produce someone who can help you.
- How many excused absences am I allowed in this course?
You are only allowed to submit excuses for 2 missed labs, 2 missed discussions and 1 missed exam. Any other absences will result in a 0 for that missed assignment.
- There is an exam today, and I don't feel well. What do
Do not take the exam if you think your health will impair your performance. Go to McKinley instead. We cannot replace a poor exam grade with an "ex". We can replace an "ab", if you have a valid excuse. Submit the excuse online at https://my.physics.illinois.edu/excuses ASAP and follow any directions on this page.
- I was sick/away/at religious services ... and missed a
lab/discussion/exam. What do I do?
Submit the excuse online at https://my.physics.illinois.edu/excuses ASAP and follow any directions on this page.
- I was sick/away/at religious services ... and missed a
lecture (iClicker). What do I do?
Nothing. You are permitted to miss 4 lectures per semester. It's a good idea to reserve these misses for actual illnesses or other excusable absences! It's a better idea not to miss any lectures at all: last semester 2/3's of the students who received A+'s missed at most 2-3 (out of 20) lectures.
- How is an excused absence treated when the final grade
It is replaced by the average of your other scores on the same type of assignment. For example, if you are excused from quiz #3, this grade will be replaced with the average of all your other quiz scores.
- What's the best way to prepare for the midterm exam?
Review the lectures, homeworks, and discussion problems, then work through the practice exams that are available on the course web site. Do at least one practice exam under exam-like conditions: no notes, no book, and a time limit. Use the practice exams to diagnose your weaknesses. If you are still having trouble go to office hours and ask the TAs. Also: go to the exam review session the day before the exam and ask questions!
- Is there a formula sheet for exams?
Yes. It's the same one you have in discussion.
- Do I need a reason to sign up for the conflict exam?
No. Just click on the appropriate button in gradebook. We offer a conflict exam at 5:15pm - 6:45pm on the same day (Monday) as the midterm exam, which runs 7:00pm - 8:30pm. You will not be allowed to leave the conflict exam early!
- I have a conflict for both the regular exam and the
Conflict exam. What do I do?
Contact the Exam Master by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- There are questions on the practice exam about
material that we haven't covered in class. Will that material
be on the exam?
The material covered in each Midterm Exam varies from semester to semester, so the practice exams may not cover precisely the same material as this semester's exams. If in doubt, ask the course Director.
- I missed the exam, what should I do?
Make a vigorous attempt to get a documented excuse and bring it to the Physics Department Undergraduate Office in 231/233 Loomis. We do not offer a makeup exam. Typical documentation is a McKinley or other doctor's note, a note from a funeral director, etc.
- Something terrible just happened (death in the family,
major health issue, etc.) and I do not feel that I can take
the exam. What should I do?
Contact course staff immediately. If you can document the problem and it falls under the heading of an excusable absence then you should NOT take the exam. Bring the documentation to the Physics Department Undergraduate Office in 231/233 Loomis and you will be excused from the exam. We CANNOT excuse an exam after you have taken it!
Make sure that your absence is excusable before deciding not to take the exam, because your grade will suffer less if you take the exam and do poorly than if you don't take it and get a 0.
- There may be a problem with my bubble (scantron) sheet
for the exam because my score is lower than expected. What do
Email Kate Shunk (email@example.com), and she will check your sheet. You can find out what your answers were by looking in the gradebook, which will tell you what your answer was, what the correct answer is, and how many points you got. Please note that scantron errors are VERY RARE. The scantron is not a likely cause of your surprising exam score.
- My password expired and I couldn't complete the
homework on time. Can I get an extension?
Sorry; you are responsible for keeping your password up to date. You are notified long before your password expires. Please do not ignore this notice!
- I can't get problem ___, can you help me?
The most common errors are: ± signs (either in the final answer or one of the terms in your equation), units (was that liters or cubic meters?), factor of ten error, and failure to carry enough significant figures through (your answer will be accepted only if it is within 1% of the true answer; note that if the correct answers are A=100, B=100 and C=A-B=0, and you enter A=101, B=99 and C = 2, the first two would be "correct", while the third would not). There are lots of office hours offered the days before each homework is due.
- I have an answer for the homework that I am sure is
correct. Is there an error in the homework problem?
Likely not. Most of the homework problems have been tested over multiple semesters. Check the common error list above. If that does not resolve the issue, go to office hours! In general, routine homework questions will not be answered by email.
- I missed the deadline for the homework. Can I complete
Any portion of the homework that you did not complete by the first deadline can be completed up to about one week later for 80% credit. See the homework page for precise deadlines, which are sometimes a couple days later or earlier than you might otherwise expect.
Discussion and Labs
- Can you switch my lab/discussion section? It doesn't
fit into my schedule.
If the computer scheduling will allow you to switch, you can switch (usually this is possible up to the time of the midterm); however, labs and discussion sections are designed to accommodate a limited number of students and cannot be overloaded. If you do switch, it is your responsibility to coordinate with both TA's to make sure your grades are properly recorded (with your new section).
- Is the lowest quiz grade dropped?
Yes, we drop the lowest quiz score before computing your grade at the end of the semester.
- Is the lowest lab grade dropped?
No, all four labs are counted in the final grade.
Lectures and i>clickers
- Are points deducted for incorrect answers on
- I was sick/away/at religious services ... can I get my
Sorry: you are allowed to miss 4 lectures during the semester and still receive full credit. (The first lecture is an automatic freebie.) It's a good idea to reserve these missed checkpoints for real illness or emergencies. However, experience has shown that most of the top students in the class attend all (or almost all) the lectures, i.e., you should come to lecture.
- I'm signed up for one lecture at, but I'd like to
attend another lecture. Can I do that, and will my i>clicker
points still be recorded?
Yes. You are permitted to go to any lecture (space permitting), and we will still capture your i>clicker answers.
- I've used an i>clicker before. Do I need to register it
for Physics 213?
Probably not, but it won't hurt if you, and could save you grief. Just go to https://my.physics.illinois.edu/iclicker to register. It takes two seconds.
- My i>clicker points aren't showing up. What do I do?
Register your i>clicker again. You won't lose points if that is the only problem. You will lose points if you leave lecture before more than 50% of the i>clicker/ACT questions were asked. Also, i>clicker scores are only imported every few lectures, so they may not be precisely up to date in gradebook.
- The serial number has rubbed off the back of my
i>clicker. How can I register it?
Bring it to the bookstore.
James Scholar Credit
- I want to take the course for James Scholar credit.
What do I do?
Visit the James Scholar page linked on the course website. Short version of the requirements: read several chapters/articles and turn in a 1-2 page summary of each.
- Are the exams curved?
Yes, but only up (i.e., if the average is low, we presume it is our fault; but if the average is high, we presume that you have understood the material, i.e., we will never curve down.)
- Are the quiz or lab scores curved?
No. We've gone through great lengths to try to ensure uniform grading across the various sections. However, if you feel your TA is way off in the wings of the distribution, you can contact the Discussion or Lab coordinator as appropriate (see the contact information).
- The total number of lab points is 80, but the course
description says they're worth 145 out of 1000 points. How
does this work?
You'll receive (your # lab points)x (145/80).
- I am disappointed in my grade. What can I do?
This is heartbreaking for us, but there is nothing we can do. To be fair to all students we set out clear rules for grading the course in the course description web page, and we follow these rules consistently.
- Why is the range of points for a B so narrow? Why
don't you just set the cutoff for a B- at 800 points?
The grading scale reflects the experience and judgment of course staff in how point totals relate to understanding of the material. Because there are a lot of "check-off" assignments in the course, (e.g., you can keep trying the Homework until you get it right), you need to go the extra mile to rise above a B. In past semesters ~60% of students received a B- or higher.
- Is there extra credit in Physics 213?
Sorry, we cannot offer extra credit in a course of this size.