INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS
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Problems in Microeconomics are designed to help you learn more easily and completely the material in microeconomic theory. The problems give you practice in working with most of the economic models you will encounter in a micro course.
After reading this section, go to the download page. For each problem set you have to download two files, the printed instructions (which includes a printed copy of the questions), and the Excel spreadsheet you'll need to find the answers. Failure to download the instructions will cause a leather-winged demon to spring from its lair in the bowels of the earth, hurl itself skyward in search of your blood, all the while dripping with the entrails of its last victims.
Make sure you are using Firefox, or another one of the Mozilla family of browsers (Firefox, Mozilla, or Netscape). The Excel workbooks won't open properly in Internet Explorer. If you insist on using Internet Explorer, take this link for a work around.
From the download page, click on the instructions for the problem set you want. Print out the instructions, and read them. (Remember the leather-winged demon.)
From the download page, click on the name of the Excel workbook you want. Use the spreadsheet to answer the questions, and enter the answers on the Answer Sheet contained in the Excel workbook. You'll get instant feedback on your answers, and infinite tries to get them right.
The Excel spreadsheets contains several useful buttons. One will print the sheet itself, something you're required to do in some cases. Another sets all of the variables in the problems to their baseline values. And there's a button to take you to the Answer Sheet. The Answer Sheet itself has a button that prints the answers so you can turn them in for credit. The Answer Sheet also has a button that will save your answer sheet as a file, which is handy if your instructor wants answers submitted electronically.
Learn how to use Goal Seek! Failure to do so may well turn you into a quivering mass of protoplasm pleading for a visit from the aforementioned leather-winged demon.
Other useful stuff
These exercises will work best if you do certain things that are probably not now part of the way you study.
1. It is important to experiment with how each of the interactive computer files works. This means playing with the model by trying different values for some of the variables in a problem. This experimentation is more important than simply working through the steps to answer the required questions. Don't worry about hurting anything when you experiment. If things seem to go haywire, just click on the Set to Baseline button to return to the original wake-up screen.
2. Do an exercise as soon as possible after the material is covered in class. Do not wait until the day or evening before a set of assignments is due to work on it for the first time. Go to a computer lab or the course help room as soon as you think the material for a problem has been covered.
3. The interactive computer problems are not substitutes for more traditional ways of studying economic theory -- they are complementary to them. For example, the traditional way to learn about most economic models work is to practice drawing the graphical representation of the model. To do well in microeconomic theory you will have to continue that traditional way of learning. Experience has shown that if you do not practice beforehand with the economic models using pencil and paper, you will be unable to solve exam problems.
4. Some students doing these problems will already have had quite a bit of mathematics, including calculus and beyond. To make the problems a little more interesting for those students, most of the problem sets have a final section called Math Maven's Corner. That section is designed solely for students who have an interest in the mathematics that sits behind the computer display. Nothing in Math Maven's Corner is required, and you can feel free to overlook everything that is in those sections.
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