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S217 Physics: from Classical to Quantum

Are you ready for S217? is a web-based set of diagnostic self-assessment questions for prospective students of this physics module.

The questions cover requisite mathematical skills only, as we do not require you to have much background physics knowledge before starting S217. You will receive feedback on each question as you complete it, and, at the end, overall feedback on each set that should enable you to judge for yourself whether or not you have an appropriate level of knowledge to embark on Physics: from Classical to Quantum.

You should expect to spend no more than 3 hours working through the questions.

Is your computer ready for Are you ready for S217?

You will need an appropriate web browser in order to complete the questions. We support

• Internet Explorer version 6 onwards.
• Firefox version 1 onwards. The latest version of Firefox can be obtained here.

Some questions make provision for you to enter superscripts (e.g. 1 × 104) and subscripts (e.g. H2O) that may not be supported by other browsers.

Click the link to run Are you ready for S217?

Please note: if any interactive materials fail to load, please use the ‘Back’ button on your browser and click the link again to reload it.

Suggested prior OU study

In S217 it is assumed that you have a certain amount of existing scientific and mathematical knowledge from your earlier studies. Specifically, we recommend that you have already completed the following OU modules before attempting S217.

Essential mathematics 1 (MST124) will provide you with the background mathematics you need for S217. You can also find valuable preparatory mathematics material for S217 on the Physics, Astronomy and Planetary Science subject website. 

Physics and Space (SM123) provides a thorough preparation for S217 in terms of physics concepts. These concepts were also covered in Exploring Science (S104 - now discontinued). Questions in Science (S111) is a useful module to have studied as it introduces a number of scientific ideas that will be developed further in S217, in particular relating to atoms and waves.

If you are coming to S217 without having studied MST124 and SM123 (or S104) then it is essential that you establish whether or not your background and experience give you a sound platform from which to tackle the module. You should be able to start S217 if you have studied maths and physics to one of the following levels: A level, Certificate of Sixth Year Studies (Scotland), or HNC.

Other skills

You will also find it useful to have acquired, or begun to acquire, the following skills, although they are not assessed directly in this quiz.

Basic study skills: organising your study time; learning to pace your study; effective reading to identify and extract relevant information from irrelevant or redundant material; retrieving data from scientific texts and accounts.

Writing skills: writing coherently; structuring and presenting arguments in a logical sequence; writing a scientific account with appropriate diagrams.

Cognitive skills: recognising trends and patterns in data; using evidence to support or refute theories and arguments; assessing the adequacy/limitations of explanations.

Problem-solving skills: solving problems using given evidence (including negative evidence), and using more than one source of information.

Computer skills: basic mouse and keyboard skills; familiarity with basic Windows operations and web browsers; saving, moving and backing up files.

Preparation for S217

If, after completing the quiz, you feel that you do have the required skills and knowledge to begin S217 then you can sign up for a coming presentation. However, if you do not yet feel ready to do this, or had difficulty with particular parts of the quiz, then you may wish to consider the following options.

• Obtain a copy of The Sciences Good Study Guide (Northedge et al., Open University, 1997, ISBN 0–7492–3411–3), which is specially written for OU science students and contains a wealth of guidance on studying science modules. It includes a large ‘maths help’ section with almost 100 pages of worked examples of basic mathematical calculations.

• Read any A-level book on physics.

• Much of the maths you need to study physics at this level is also covered in GCSE maths texts, but you may need to use a higher level text for some topics such as logarithms, exponentials, and differentiation.

The first week of study for S217 will be devoted to revising your mathematical skills before embarking on the module itself. 

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