Numbers


Significant Digits and Precision

The computer carries out all calculations to at least six significant digits. Do not use "significant figures" algorithms to round off your answer. Do not round off 'intermediate' calculations. Six digits are shown in solutions. To be scored as correct, an answer must be within 1% of the computer's answer (except for an answer of zero, which must be exact). You will be informed of any exceptions to this tolerance.

Scientific Notation

Very large or very small numbers may be input with "scientific notation," e.g., +3.56e-10, which is 3.56 times ten to the negative tenth power. However, 468 (or 468.0) is just as good as +4.68e+02 or +4.68E+02.

Constants and Conversion Factors

Be aware that using conversion factors and/or constants not identical with those used by the algorithm in the computer may cause discrepancies (e.g., using pi = 3.14 instead of pi = 3.14159265358979324). In general, constants other than those given in the links below should be given in the question by the instructor.
Constants | Conversion Factors

Number of Tries Allowed for Web submission

You will be told immediately whether your answer is correct or not. If your answer is incorrect, you are provided additional opportunities (multiple tries) to get the correct answer, as follows:

Multiple-choice questions:

You are allowed n - 1 tries, where n = "number of choices."
Please understand that Quest guards against random guessing on multiple choice questions by imposing negative point values should you choose the wrong answer. If you are assigned a multiple choice question, it is suggested you choose your answer very carefully before you submit it.

Numeric questions:

On "numeric" questions (you input the number itself), you are allowed seven tries.


Randomization

All students have the same generic question. However, each student has different parameters and hence different answers. The order of the choices are scrambled from version to version.


Scoring

Multiple-choice questions

A randomly guessing student should, on average, receive the same score as a student who does not answer. Our multiple-choice scoring scheme corrects for random guessing by giving negative scores for incorrect answers. (The SAT does this also.) This scheme makes haphazard guessing a waste of time, which will not improve (or help) your score over the long run.

If you are not sure of the correct answer, but you can eliminate one or more of the choices as wrong, you increase your chances of selecting the correct answer. Statistically, it is to your advantage to answer such a question.

The table below illustrates how the neutral scoring scheme works for a +10.00 point question. The table is subdivided into three blocks, which represent the number of choices for a particular multiple choice question: Block 1 (10 choices); Block 2 (6); and Block 3 (3 choices). Each block includes three columns: Try represents the number of times a question is attempted; Correct represents the question score if answered correctly on this particular attempt; and Incorrect represents the question score if answered incorrectly on this and all previous attempts. For example, when you select the correct choice on the first try, you receive full credit; a score of +10.00. If your answer is incorrect (on a 10 option question), however, you are penalized and you receive a negative score of -1.11 (at least until you try again).

Question with 10 choices
Question with 6 choices
Question with 3 choices
Try
Correct
Incorrect
Try
Correct
Incorrect
Try
Correct
Incorrect
1
+10
-1.11
1
+10
-2
1
+10
-5
2
+7.78
-2.22
2
+6
-4
2
0
-10
3
+5.56
-3.33
3
+2
-6



4
+3.33
-4.44
4
-2
-8



5
+1.11
-5.56
5
-6
-10



6
-1.11
-6.67






7
-3.33
-7.78






8
-5.56
-8.89






9
-7.78
-10







Numeric questions using web submission

For more than one try, the full credit score is multiplied by 0.93 ^ (t - 1), where "t" is the number of tries that you use, and the "^" is notation for "to the power of." (Note: 0.93 ^ 0 = 1.)