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I am taking a qualifying exam at Iowa State University on January 8th, so I'm really ramping up my studying. At the top of my list is combing through the old qualifying exam questions on their website, since the topics and caliber have been roughly similar through the years. However, there are no formal answer keys for these exams, and with no professors available over the Christmas Break, I want to make sure the answers I'm getting are correct (feeling overconfidence about an actually incorrect solution has been an issue for me in the past), and I want to figure out how to get "unstuck" on the ones I cannot solve.

There are ten questions for each of these old exams. Assuming a good number of the answers I'd give would only at most need a few minor corrections, I was wondering if it would be proper to post my entire solution set for the questions I solved/attempts for the questions I could not solve all on one post rather than to machine-gun the message board with ten questions at once.

I can't find the rules for this, since I'm guessing most multi-question posts would come from unethical attempts to have graded assignments done for you and thus would be avoided. What would the etiquette be for my particular case, however?

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  • $\begingroup$ Are there any restrictions posted on the school's web site where the exams are posted? $\endgroup$ – Amzoti Dec 23 '13 at 3:20
  • $\begingroup$ There are no restrictions posted on Iowa State's mathematics website regarding seeking outside help to find solutions to these questions. Additionally, the questions are not reused or are rarely incidentally reused, so it is not likely that solutions offered by others could be memorized and reproduced to cover deficiencies on a future exam. Link: math.iastate.edu/Graduate/QExams.html $\endgroup$ – Darrin Dec 23 '13 at 3:43
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Standard practice is to post one problem per question. You're capped at 6 questions per day, so there's no risk of you flooding the site.

Posting multiple problems per question results in really confusing answers and comments. The site was not designed to accommodate such questions, and I recommend against it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your response. 6 questions a day will be a good pace for me! Is it proper to post questions to ensure clarity, even if one is confident that one's answer has the correct idea? $\endgroup$ – Darrin Dec 23 '13 at 3:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Darrin As long as you're specific about the parts of the solution you think are suspect, I believe it's fine. $\endgroup$ – Potato Dec 23 '13 at 3:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Darrin It is probably useful to know that, besides 6 questions per day limit, there is also 50 questions per month limit. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Dec 23 '13 at 20:22

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