Sample Essay Questions

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h2. How essay questions are incorporated into your examination

Regular examinations provide three essay questions and students choose which one of the three to answer. For a fifty-minute examination, we estimate one minute for each multiple-choice question, fifteen minutes for the essay, and an extra ten minutes to check your work. Essays often require more thought than multiple-choice questions, but there are usually many ways to answer an essay question, which gives you a chance to show what you know about a topic in your own way and on your own terms. The length of your essay will depend on the specific question and the size of your handwriting, and quality is not directly related to quantity, but strong essays usually require at least one side of a page.

Makeup examinations consist entirely of three essay questions and students must answer all three. Makeup examinations have no multiple-choice component and no choice of questions, and makeup examination essay questions are more difficult than regular examination essay questions.

* The photoelectric tube we studied in class last week has some unusual properties as a circuit element, including behaving for some voltages as if it had a negative resistance". (Note: By "negative resistance" I mean that for some values of V, "R" = V/I is negative. On our IV curve for the phototube we actually had positive current at a slightly negative voltage.) What is the difference between what is happening to the conduction electrons in the photoelectric tube as compared to what happens to them in a resistor?
* Describe briefly Rutherford's experiment probing the structure of the atom and explain why the result was a surprise.