Exam Prep Day 1: Where the heck are you?

Scratchpad Gradebook Example

Image "ScratchPad Gradebook Example" Copyright 2011 Scratches on the Notepad

Download ScratchPad Gradebook by clicking here.

It’s that time of the year again! The sky is blue, the grass is green, the flowers are starting to bloom… and you’re stuck indoors studying for those dreaded exams. So much fun… no?

In order to make this a little easier for you, I will be releasing a few blog posts in the upcoming weeks to help you prepare for your finals. Stay tuned and I hope you find them useful!

On to today’s post…

As the cliche goes, “you can’t know where you are going until you know where you have been“. As corny as it is, this saying is absolutely true. As finals creep up, it is tempting to just charge ahead and jump into that mountain of readings you have yet to do. But that sort of unstructured busy-work is at best inefficient and at worst absolutely useless. Before you start studying, you have to know how you’re doing in your courses. That is, you have to know where you have been.

So where are you academically? One of the quickest way to gauge your progress is to look at your grades up until this point in the term – and that is where the ScratchPad Gradebook comes into play.

What is the Gradebook? It is an excel document that tells you your overall grade in the course (sans the final exam) once you input your current marks. Aside from showing your current mark, it will also show you the maximum grade you can get in the course (assuming you obtain 100% on your final), and your mark if you just pass the final (50%) on the final. You can see an example in the image above.

If you don’t have sufficient information to create a detailed grade breakdown, take a guess! Guess what your percentage/GPA is in your course right now, and make your you note how much the final exams are worth.

Now what to do now that you know how well you’re doing…? Check out the next post in this series!

How to Use the Scratchpad Gradebook: (all of this is included on the first page of the excel template):

1. Open up a new document using this template. New>>From Template>> (browse to where you’ve saved this and click on it)>>Ok. Save this new document!
2. Navigate to the “Data” tab and Input your grades and their weightings. Follow the example above. Remember that “Contribution to Overall Mark”, “% Mark”, and “Weighted Mark” are in DECIMALS, not percents!
3. Once you have put in all of your marks, navigate to the “Gradebook” tab. This page shows you how well you are doing in each of your courses.
4. In the “Gradebook”, your current mark is how well you are doing in a course taking into account all of your known marks. Maximum grade is calculated assuming you obtain 100% on the final. “Just pass the exam” grade is calculated assuming you obtain a grade of 50% on your final.
5. Questions? Concerns? Did I make a mistake? Shoot me an e-mail!

Tips:
1. Marks from the final exam is not actually shown on the gradebook. This is because gradebook is not really for calculating precise marks, but for figuring out how well one is doing in the course prior to the exams. If there are some marks that you do not yet know. Give them your best guess and perhaps denote that the mark is an estimate in italics.
2. Be careful! Cells are linked together and changing any formula WILL affect your results. Only input words and numbers in coloured boxes on the “Data” sheet, leave the “Gradebook” sheet alone! (Unless you’re intensionally trying something).
3. This excel template is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0), and is free for personal use. You are welcome to edit and pass it on to your friends, but you must attribute the original work to me! For details about what you can and cannot do with this template, consult: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

This excel template is a SotN Original.

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3 thoughts on “Exam Prep Day 1: Where the heck are you?

  1. Pingback: FYI: Scaling, Scaling, Scaling… « Scratches on the Notepad

  2. Pingback: Midterms ‘n You (Studying for Midterms) – A Resource for First Year Students

  3. Pingback: End of Term Reminders – A Resource for First Year Students

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