ASU Spring 2017 Session A Week 7 Update

The last full week of Spring 2017 Session A is done. This week has been busier than usual. The third PHY 131 test happened Wednesday, had a lab due Wednesday for PHY 132, plus a pre-lab quiz, plus some homework tossed in for good measure.

I’m disappointed with my performance on the PHY 131 test. I didn’t bomb it, but missed 2 questions due to human error. Keyed one equation into the calculator wrong and then just flat out selected the wrong answer on another moving too fast again. I’m a bit at a loss on how to improve my performance on these tests. I did a lot of preparation before hand that included working out the end of chapter questions, read through the two chapters and watched some supplemental lectures. Felt pretty okay going into it, but that clock just moves too fast and I’m my own worst enemy sometimes.

I am looking forward to the change next fall over to full 15 week semesters. I think that will be good to have a bit more time to digest and absorb the new material. 7.5 weeks for some of these classes has been really rough and sometimes don’t think I’ve retained as much as I would have if I would have been working with the material for 15 weeks. Oh well, not much to do about that.

We’re down to two chapters left in PHY 131. Chapter 34 will cover Electromagnetic Fields and Waves and Chapter 35 will cover AC Circuits. 13 and 15 Mastering Physics problems respectively from the two chapters.

I plan to take the Final exam that is worth 25% of my grade on Tuesday 2/28. I have enough points in the class that worst case I’ll walk away with a C, but definitely want to do much better than that. The final exam is cumulative and there hasn’t been much said regarding what to expect. No practice exams and the TA’s advice was review the homework and practice tests and exams to review.

The PHY 132 lab this week was on Magnetic Fields. This one gave me a little bit of trouble at first, but a good friend was able to help me out. The lab manual had listed the gravity of earth at one value, but I was finding half the value. Turns out though that since we were working with vectors, the lab had us finding just the horizontal component. Once I got past that though, all was good. Still took longer than I would have liked to get the report all typed up. I can’t stress enough, whatever you think the labs will take you, quadruple that value! Well, maybe not quadruple, but start early and plan for things to take longer than expected.

One more lab and prelab quiz to go in PHY 132! So far have had perfect marks on the labs and quizzes so hopefully that trend continues through next week and I can walk away with a solid A in PHY 132. PHY 131, I’m hopefully I can do well enough on the final exam to at least pull a B. Definitely one of the most intense classes I’ve had yet.

The Fall 2018 schedule arrived on Monday and I’m able to register 2/24. I’m planning to register for the following (assuming successful completion of the classes already in the queue):

  • EEE 230 – Computer Organization & Assembly Language (Session A)
  • EEE 241 – Electromagnetics (Session C)
  • EEE 334 – Circuits II (Session C)
  • EEE 350 – Random Signal Analysis (Session C)

Hopefully this course load won’t be too insane. I’m a bit nervous about what the first 7.5 weeks will look like with the overlap of a Session A class and a Session C class, but no way around it given what was schedule Spring Session B and Summer 2017. At least there will only be three final exams in early December.



ASU Spring 2017 Session A Week 6 Update

Holy cow. I feel like I’ve been trying to grab a drink from a fire hose lately. So much information over the past few weeks. I think the speed at which these 7.5 week classes go is my only major complaint with ASU’s program so far. I have really been enjoying the material and would like to spend more time learning about the topics so it really sinks in, but with 11 chapters over 7.5 weeks just not much time to ponder the mysteries of electricity and magnetism.

I took the second exam last Saturday and did better than I thought I was going to do but annoyed with myself. I needed a few more minutes and guessed poorly on one problem due to being almost out of time. Missed three questions and just bugged by that. 12 questions in 60 minutes is tough! I nailed the circuit analysis questions, but for some reason got mixed up on some of the potential difference questions. After the test I went back through and  just made some dumb mistakes. Uhg. Live and learn.

This week the class shifted into Magnetism which is the second half of the class title. My wife accused me of throwing gang signs as she caught me applying the right hand rule trying to figure out which way a magnet field was going. I felt pretty silly, but it’s in the book and apparently how you figure out which way the cross product goes.

Next week we have a test on Chapters 32 Magnetic Fields and 33 Electromagnetic Induction. February 28th is the final and that’s a wrap for Session A.

PHY 132’s lab this week had us working with the KET DC Circuit Simulator. It was pretty short compared to the first few. We had to work with two different circuits to verify Kirchhoff’s Current Junction Rule and Voltage Loop Rule, then in the second part took a look at electric power. I think these will be a taste of what’s to come with EEE 202 next session. Only 2 more labs to go to wrap up PHY 132.

ASU Spring 2017 Session A Week 5 Update

Test 2 for PHY 131 is open 2/10-2/11. I’m planning to take in on Saturday to give myself a little extra time to study. Hopefully there won’t be any issues with the RPNow proctoring service. The professor provided a 23 question practice test in MasteringPhysics to work through. There is definitely a lot of material to know between chapters 28-31 that we’ve covered the last 2 1/2 weeks. We’re again able to use our book and notes, but with 60 minutes, not much time to waste.

I have been able to keep ahead on the MasteringPhysics Homework so by last Monday I think I had made it through all the chapters that will be on the test. I’ve spent the rest of the week reading, watching lecture videos, working the practice test problems and watching the Van Biezen videos. In addition, trying to work through some of the end of chapter problems in our text book. Hopefully all this preparation will pay off!

PHY 132 had a lab that was surprisingly less work than the last labs. I think my lab reports had been 15-20 pages, and this one was only about 10 and that included a few pages of screen shots and graphs. Hopefully I didn’t miss something, but I hit all the points on the checklist, triple checked for questions buried in the lab manual…

This weeks lab was on DC Circuits and Ohm’s Law. We again were using the PhET and KET simulators. In the first part of the lab students were tasked with determining the resistance over a virtual pencil. We also needed to take into account error propagation. We used Ohm’s Law and then used the dimensions and the resistivity to determine the length of the virtual pencil. During the second part of the lab, we looked at a non-ohmic light bulb and explored how the resistance was not linear and how the temperature grew hotter as more voltage was applied to the light bulb. The prelab quiz was a bit tricky this time, but on my second attempt was able to get 15/15. Definitely helps to make sure your units are in meters, amps, kilograms, etc before you apply a formula!

Summer 2017 schedule came out on Tuesday and there were no Physics offerings for some reason. I was planning on wrapping up PHY 241 – Physics III this summer, but had to adjust my plans and drop EEE 230 during spring session B for PHY 241 along with EEE 202 – Circuits I. I’ll probably pick up EEE 230 in the fall. I was able to register for EEE 203 – Signals and Systems and have been having the worst time trying to get registered for CHM 114 – Chemistry for Engineers, but have been getting some cryptic error message. ASU’s support is working on it, but no resolution yet.

All those courses hinge on successful completion of PHY 131 though and to pass that need to do well on the Tests. The next big one in front of me is Test 2 so I better get back to studying for that or else all my session B and summer 2017 plans will have to change! Just have to take things one assignment/test at a time and eventually I’ll have completed them all!

ASU Spring 2017 Session A Week 4 Update

At the half way point for this session already! In PHY 131 I’ve been spending a good amount of time working on the two sets of homework for Chapters 29 & 30 that were due Tuesday and Friday. Chapter 29 covered Electric Potential and Field and in Chapter 30 we explored Current and Resistance. Next week we have Chapter 31 on the Fundamentals of Circuits. Both chapters had 15 Mastering Physics problems.

I’ve started working on preparing for the upcoming Test 2 that will be on February 10th and will be covering Chapters 28, 29, 30 & 31. Lots of material and again we’ll have one hour to complete the questions. The professor has provided a practice exam online in Master Physics. I’ve found some nice lecture notes to supplement the ASU ones from the University of Colorado that are really nice and concise. In addition the Van Biezen videos are pretty helpful. Hopefully following the same tactic as I did for Test 1 will work out well for me.

In PHY 132 this week’s lab was on Capacitors. We looked at how varying the separation distance or plate surface area impacts capacitance, stored charge and stored energy. In addition we used a circuit simulator to look at parallel and series capacitor circuits. The prelab quiz had four questions again and I was able to get 15/15 on it. Hopefully that trend continues.

That’s about all there is to report this week. Back to the books for me!