Math 150
Quiz/Exam Policies

This document explains what you need to know about exams (including the quiz). The Exam Policies Homework will make sure that you have read and understood the important points. You will not be able to take any exams until you pass this homework with a 100% score. However, this homework will not count towards your total score.

About the Exams

There are four exams and the final exam as well as a quiz. This is where most of the credit for this class comes from. You have 3 tries for each. Don't waste them.

The recommended procedure is this:

Don't wait until the last possible moment to take the exam. There may be lines outside the labs (if too many people are procrastinating), or you may run into computer problems or other snags.

How Does Exam Taking Work?

You should also review the comments on exam taking in the FAQ file at this point.

Practice Exams

Exams are different from homeworks in several respects: You don't have any of the help functions available, and you don't get feedback until you are done with all questions. You are limited to 3 tries, and there is a time limit. Many students have reported that the first exam was a shock to the system, so we put in some practice exams.

The practice exams are a bit shorter (10 questions instead of 12), but otherwise identical to the real exams. You can take them from any computer. The password for all practice exams is "practice".

Practice exams only carry a small amount of credit (10 or 20 points each), but you have to try them at least once. You cannot take an exam until you have taken the corresponding practice exam at least once and get at least 10% credit.

Practice Exams are counted as part of the homework scores for the grades (so do your best on them), but they don't count towards the extra credit for passing all homeworks at the 80% level.


There are four exams spread through the term, corresponding to the four major topics: algebra review, linear equations, linear programming, probability and statistics. Exams have to be taken in the computer labs. The exams have a 60 minute time limit.

In theory the deadline is at 9pm on a Saturday. In practice the deadline is whenever the computer labs close that day. You should start no later than an hour before closing time (2 hours for the final), to make sure you have the full time available. It is your responsibility to check when the labs close that day.

Final Exam

The final exam is comprehensive, with a 120 minute time limit. The final will be available until Friday afternoon of finals week, whenever the computer labs close that day. There is no specific time for the final exam. You can take it before Finals Week if you want.

Note that during Finals Week, everything closes on Friday afternoon. Make sure you are aware of when the final deadline is.


This quiz tests you especially on the applications of exponential functions (compound interest) and graphing of inequalities. It is required by the department. The quiz has a 30 minute time limit.

Academic Dishonesty

Iowa State University has an explicit policy on academic dishonesty. This policy will be strictly enforced in all Math Department web-based courses. Before you try to use crib notes or other means of cheating, ask yourself whether you would really like to lose all the points from an exam, and have a heart-to-heart talk with the Dean of Students.

Keep in mind that we have log files about your activities on the course web sites, and that the lab monitors can see (and take snapshots of) your computer screen from the monitor's station.

The rules below are mostly concerned with cheating during exams, but we have also reported other attempts at cheating in the past, such as attempting to get make-up exams with fake excuses.

Rules Related to Academic Dishonesty

This is all stated above already, but we will repeat it here to make sure everybody understands this.

During the exams, the only things allowed on your desk are

The only things allowed on your computer are

You are not allowed to use other books or notes, printouts of earlier assignments, any computer programs or web sites not listed as being allowed, and you can't communicate with someone else via talking, notes, email, instant messaging, looking at their screen, or whatever.

Violation of these policies constitutes academic dishonesty and will be handled in accordance with university policies. We had about 10 such cases in Fall 2009, in case you are curious.

Warning: The policy on cheating will be strictly enforced. The lab monitors will report observed cheating to the course administrator. In serious cases, they may also step in and interrupt the test. The handling of each case is up to the course administrator, in accordance with university policies. You will also get penalized if you refuse to follow the lab monitor's orders.

What Happens If I Get Caught?

Usually, the course coordinator will zero out the score for this exam. That means a score of 0 for all three attempts, not just for the one where you get caught. For the final exam, we will cut your score in half, since the final is worth 20% of the grade. Either way this usually means that your overall grade drops somewhere between 1/3 of a grade and a full grade.

The course coordinator will also write a report to the Dean of Students. You will be invited to comment on the charges, and you comments will be added. The Dean of Students will contact you (which may take a couple of weeks) and invite you to a meeting. At that meeting they will make a decision.

The usual outcome is either a written reprimand, or academic probation. As long as you don't get caught for anything else, that will have no effect on your degree program, financial aid, or anything else. More information can be found in the Class Policies provided by the Department of Mathematics.

Why Are We So Strict About It?

The Math Department offered online courses for several years before cheating became a major problem (as far as we know). In 2003, the computer lab monitors started seeing a lot more of it, and we started to crack down. Apparently, other departments noticed the same thing, and by 2004 the Dean of Students Office started to take interest, on a campus-wide basis.

We have been officially asked to make an effort to detect cheating in the computer labs, and to report to the Dean of Students Office every single case that results in a punishment (such as a loss of points for an assignment).

last updated: Sunday, January 3, 2016