The oral exam will be 25 minutes long. There will be three examiners, all of whom are either professors or demonstrators in the course. At least one of the three examiners will be a professor. We will ask you specific questions about two of the three experiments you have done. You should choose the first experiment we discuss, and we will choose the second. You will not be told beforehand which experiment we will choose, so you must be prepared to talk about all three of them. You cannot specifically request not to talk about a certain experiment.
Your experiment notebooks will be your one and only resource during the oral exam, and we will certainly be looking through them during the exam. You will not be allowed to refer to the lab manuals or other references during the exam. In preparation for the exam, you may go through your notebooks and add certain notes or flags to help you quickly find the most important details. If you add notes you should use a different colour pen and make a note of the date that the new notes were added. Keep in mind we often ask the following general questions:
As the discussion evolves, we may ask you specific questions about the experiment you did and your thoughts on various aspects of it. We may ask you to find and describe a certain table or graph in your notebook. Keep in mind that it is possible that none of the examiners will be an expert on a particular experiment under discussion. Your explanations should be clear and thorough enough so that a non-expert with a general physics background can understand what you are talking about. We may ask you to go to the board and write something as part of your explanation.
Timing during the exam is critical and we must stay on schedule. Please do not be offended if we interrupt you in the middle of an explanation to move on to the next question.
When the exam is over, you will be asked to leave the room and close the door, so that the examiners may discuss your performance. Marks are first determined independently by each examiner, then compared and discussed by all three. When each examiner is satisfied that their individual mark is fair, your final mark is calculated as the average of the three individual marks. Finally, when all the oral exams are complete, the course coordinator checks all the marks to ensure that marking is consistent for all the different panels of examiners.