Monday, January 31, 2011

Astronomy DSST

I thought this was a tough exam. I knew that I had gotten about half correct, and I was hoping that I had guessed well enough on the rest for a good score. The exam had more depth than I expected. There were only 82 questions, which I think makes it hard to get a really high score. I studied 4 weeks and got a 57, which is an A at Excelsior.

I chose different materials than what were recommended (Cliff Notes online). I chose the Idiot’s Guide because I wanted to use a book format that was up-to-date. Idiot’s Guide had worked well for the Civil War DSST. Since there have not been a lot of very high scores on the Astronomy test, I wanted to try for a better score, but as you can see, it did not work for me.

Here is what I used to study:

Idiot’s Guide to Astronomy – I wanted a book that was up to date plus it has a CD with lots of excellent pictures. I enjoyed reading from an astronomer’s perspective, which made it easy to understand the concepts except for a couple topics. When I was studying it, I thought it would be too deep for the test, but that was not true. I did need to back up and look elsewhere for some of the basics, like tides, moon phases, Kepler’s laws, early astronomers, etc.

The Sky Observer’s Guide – Golden Guide – It taught the basics about actually looking at the night sky.

Pass DSST Astronomy the Easy Way – This book is not enough to know for the exam by itself, but it did help me on several questions.

IC – There are excellent pictures and explanations which helped on several questions.

Astronomy Study Guides - SparkNotes – quizzes and fact sheets on sun and planets – I was getting about 2/3 of the answers correct.

Explorations An Introduction to Astonomy! - online textbook – I used the quizzes and was getting about 2/3 of the answers correct. I should have paid more attention to the quiz answers and looked at the chapter summaries and the web tutorials may have been helpful, also.

Astronomy - CliffsNotes – I looked up a couple things but did not use this site. From others experiences, it may be more adapted to a college level course than the Idiot’s Guide was.

I thought that all of the other websites mentioned looked good but I did not use them.

Star evolution handout – - This was great, but not deep enough to answer all of the questions asked on the exam.

DSST Fact Sheet – I did not do well on this practice exam.

Having multiple questions on some of the topics helped me piece together some of the answers.

I did earn an A and got to spend a lot of time studying for this exam. I was disappointed, though, by the number of answers that I did not know and that all I had learned was not deep enough for this exam.

I have always wanted to learn about all of this and I really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to getting to do some sky observing and will be able to use all that I have learned for the rest of my life.

Extra note: I really liked the Wiley Self-Teaching Guide for Chemistry and just noticed that they have one for Astronomy also.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks bro. I really like your blog. It is inspiring to read it. 60 credits in 60 days. Hahaha