Old Exams for PHY2048

Caveat user:
These are the actual exam problems from past semesters, which means that there will be some problems that have no chance of being on one of your exams. The kinds of problems emphasized varies from semester to semester and the order in which topics are covered changes when a textbook is replaced. Some exams contain a problem from an earlier exam that proved difficult (I will sometimes announce that a certain problem will be on the midterm, exam 3, or the final when I turn back a test). Others include problems that were assigned one semester but were not covered at all during the current semester.

Some suggestions:

(1) Download and work an exam completely before downloading and looking at its answer key. There is an important reason for doing this: Some answers indicate the type of approach that should be taken when solving that problem, so you don't want to miss out on practicing that very important skill.

(2) If you need help when doing a problem, do not use the textbook or your notes. At most you should use your 1 or 2 page summary of the key basic equations needed in this course (see the syllabus for a sample subset of those equations and/or review my study suggestions). Every problem should be worked from the basic starting equations because points are taken off for incomplete work.

(3) If you have to go to a worked example to do a problem, you have failed that problem and should mark that down as a topic to review from the beginning. Do not pretend that you got it right. Set it aside and come back to it a day later.


To save space, I have left out the cover page information and extra constants that might have been provided with a given exam. For reference:

Prior to the midterm, only "g" is given and it is on the cover page. Later exams require more data, and that data is on a separate page (either the last page or on the back of the cover page).


The midterm covers everything from the first 6 or 7 weeks of the semester. Details vary because the date of the exam has varied by as much as a week and material emphasized sometimes varies from semester to semester and with changes in textbook organization. I should also add that the midterm covers a big part of what most engineers need to know "cold" to suceed in future classes. That is, you should be able to pass these tests (without studying!) as much as a year or two after you "take" my class.

I have highlighted in yellow questions that fall in the overlap area after Exam 2 that varies a lot as textbooks or the exam date changes. For example, midterm exams based on Wolfson usually include gravity problems formerly seen only on Exam 3 (see some old "semi-final" exams) while rotation problems from some midterm exams will now appear on Exam 3.

I did not use a midterm exam prior to Fall 2001, so that is where this collection starts. FYI, I adopted a midterm exam for three reasons: (1) to force a review of the early material in the course, hoping it will increase retention of topics that every future engineer is expected to know when they pass the class, (2) make it easier to include problems that span several chapters to reduce the narrow focus of "unit" exams, and (3) create an opportunity to include problems from the early chapters that make use of calculus. I have continued to use it because it was clear that goal number (1) was met when final exams rolled around.


One semester (Fall 2001) I gave a "second midterm" on the Friday before final's week (back when we had only 4 days of finals with Monday for a review day) covering the second half of the course. I did not repeat that experiment because the calculus classes all gave their last hour exam on that day, creating too much stress for the exam to be a productive learning experience. As a result, I only have one example (which reflects some topics emphasized that semester but not in others) of an actual "semi-final" exam.

I have constructed some simulated "semi-final" exams from actual hour exams given in that same semester. They provide a partial review of material from the second half of the semester. I have not chosen problems that would necessarily rate appearing on such an exam, deciding instead to be sure at least one sample of typical problems from the last half of the semester is included in the full set.

Be sure to study your old exams and the review problems in CAPA.