Exploration of the value of using a formula sheet for physics examinations

Wheijen Chang, Ruey S. Shieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study is to explore whether and how allowing students to prepare their own formula sheet (FS) for use in examinations helps them engage in meaningful learning and improve their academic performance. An action research is adopted to conduct the study. Three years (2009-11) of evaluation of the FS policy in introductory physics courses was undertaken. The data collection consists of the students' FS, examination results, and self-reported surveys. The results show that the students who were allowed to bring an FS to the examination outperformed those who were not. It is also found that the quality of individual students' FS was significantly correlated to their examination score (p < 0.001). The reported benefits of using an FS consists of facilitating conceptual understanding, highlighting cognitive demands in learning physics, and alleviating stress in examinations. The FS strategy appears to have the potential for strengthening students' understanding of physics concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1411-1422
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Nov 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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