The following email message is representative of several that I received
tonight, and answered privately.  I thought I would send this one to
everyone, so everyone is clear on how I feel about what you need to do
between now and 7pm on November 13, and what you can expect with respect
to a final grade.

This student, like several others, writes:

        I am incredibly disappointed in myself for doing so terribly on the  
        last test. I thought that I had the material down, but I obviously  
        was mistaken. 

What is important first is to look at the exam now, and see if you in fact
now understand what you did wrong.

        What I would like to know is how much my grade on this  
        test will effect my final grade in the course. You mentioned that the  
        most important grade is the final exam which will show where we are  
        at the end of the course. 

Indeed, I did.

        Does this mean that you will consider  
        curving the final grade if a student performs exceptionally on the  
        final exam despite a poor grade on one of the midterms? 


        By the weighting listed on the syllabus I should be able to get a 
        'B' but am  hoping that doing well on the final exam will prove that 
        I have learned the material and deserve an A. Have I blown my chances 
        of this because of the midterm?

        <<name withheld to protect the disappointed and worried student>>

No.  But what is important to do well on the final is to really understand
the material and demonstrate it on the final.  It is too easy to convince
yourself that you know it if you can regurgitate what I have put on the
board.  Knowing the material means being able to use it.  That is what we
tested on the midterm and what we will test on the final.

Good luck.

Yale Patt