Do I need to validate?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by USNAhopeful2018, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. USNAhopeful2018

    USNAhopeful2018 Member

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    I am going through my ABS survey, and for some classes it is asking whether I want to take the validation test. Are there consequences to "trying" on certain tests? I'm pretty sure that I will NOT be able to validate physics, but I sorta would like to try. (I'm assuming its a calculus based physics course, which I have no experience with.)

    My second question: If I desire to be a MechE or AeroE major, do I have to validate certain courses in order to be eligible? Is there a possibility that I will be denied from the department of study that I choose?
     
  2. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    There are no adverse consequences to taking validation exams. They have multiple purposes. The primary one, of course, is to sort out who can be placed out of traditionally-plebe level courses such as Calc I and II, Inorganic Chemistry, and Physics. (Some departments also consider AP scores for economics and government.)

    The other purpose of validation exams is to place students into the appropriate sections of the plebe courses above. So, take as many placement exams as your academic preparation suggests you might qualify for.

    Here is one former plebe's and current professor's plug to do as well as you can on validation exams (you and everyone). Every year, there's a "should I do my best and get in a hard course, or slack off and get an easy course?" question. My personal opinion, supported by actual research, is that students who take courses that are repeats of courses they've already taken and passed, actually do slightly WORSE, as a population, on the repeated course than their first experience. This is probably because they think they know the material, and then do not do homework as frequently, study as frequently or as in-depth as they should. They have, as a group, a false sense of ease with the material and the course, and it ends up burning them.

    The other arguments for validation are especially applicable to USNA. First, if you validate the course, it is on a rigorous, no-slack-afforded exam. USNA (and other rigorous institutions) do not validate people on whims, or on lucky guesses. If you validate a course, it is because USNA is confident that you know what you need to know in order to succeed in the follow-on course. Second, if you validate courses, you set yourself up for more electives or undergraduate research/independent study with one of the faculty in your upperclass years. I don't know whether the Master's program (Trident Scholar) is still active, but if it is, the Scholars almost always validated multiple courses as plebes back in the day.

    USNA's engineering programs are accredited by ABET, meaning that you can complete all courses in four years of enrollment (assuming a student has the necessary and standard high school preparation of four years of the highest math possible, four years of science with labs, and four years of English.)
     
  3. USNAhopeful2018

    USNAhopeful2018 Member

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    Does this mean that even if I do poorly on the calc placement exam, I can still follow my path of choice?

    It's not that I am not confident in my calculus abilities; just asking for peace of mind.
     
  4. bandad

    bandad Member

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    Most Plebes take Calc 1 and Calc 2 their Plebe year although some Plebes will validate Calc 1 and possibly Calc 2. Most Plebes declare a major (I believe )around Spring Break of Plebe year. There is not necessarily a relationship between validating classes and picking a major for most Plebes. So, for example, you can validate or not validate classes and still select Mech Eng as a Major. Validating allows you the potential for "other" opportunities like a double major, add language minor, semester abroad, VGEP, or taking a little lighter load some semesters. For most, and probably rightly so, a Plebe's GPA their first semester (or two) will drive in large part their selection of a major. Therefore, IMHO the first semester GPA is critical. DS is a Plebe and Engineering major. Hope this helps.

    bandad
     
  5. USNAhopeful2018

    USNAhopeful2018 Member

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    It does, thank you!
     
  6. K-Hawk1903

    K-Hawk1903 Member

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    Are government courses standard for most (or all) plebes during plebe year?



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  7. banmom

    banmom Member

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    Yes, you do have to a Government your Plebe year...DS made a 5 on his Government AP exam and therefore validated this course...and it has been well worth it
     
  8. bandad

    bandad Member

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  9. K-Hawk1903

    K-Hawk1903 Member

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    How does the interview process work? I thought merely tests were given to move to upper level courses.


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  10. bandad

    bandad Member

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    DS took the typical validation tests, e.g., Calc, Chem, Physics, English, etc. None of these involved interviews from what he told me. It sounds like some of the other classes do involve interviews...

    bandad
     

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