Last night I took a quiz.
for the curious amongst you this is my 10 minute MSPaint recap of said quiz..
That right there is, I’m reasonably sure, the correct way to solve that problem. It’s simple, elegant, the length of the beam cancels itself out, all of the given values are used. The method is accurate.
The problem is that at a real test you’re given a time limit. You’re stressed so you’re not thinking clearly and you tend to dive into problems instead of thinking about them carefully and rationally. My answer on the quiz was completely wrong, a disaster.
Granted, I still did a moment analysis around point P. But I included the mass of the beam in my spring analysis. UGH. and then I got the spring constant of the spring (k) confused with the spring constant for the whole system. This is such a foolish mistake! And it’s exactly that – a foolish mistake. While I respect that mistakes result in wrong answers and wrong answers result in space shuttles breaking up in re-entry, being tested in such a manner still seems silly. When given a job at work that requires ANY equation, I dig through it systematically and always verify my results with known experimental results to make sure it makes sense.
If given this problem in real life, I’d take a lot more than 20 minutes to make sure that it was perfect. Of course the other side of the argument is that if I truly had a mastery of the content, than I would have swept through the problem quickly on my first try – regardless of the environment or a time limit.
Maybe my complaint isn’t the method of quizzes. It’s simply that I’m really sick of school.