In the two weeks leading up to the final exam I make sure to take a moment each day and tell students what to expect, so there are no surprises when they show up today. As I explain in this video, this two-hour exam consists of one hour of individual work, and another hour of group work.
Students spend the first hour working individually on this multiple-choice exam, which consists of 32 questions. I try to stick to straightforward problems that assess essential knowledge and skills from this Algebra 1 course. Take a look at the exam, and please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below.
One hour, less the few minutes it takes to get started, is enough for my students to get through these 32 problems. In fact, some students will finish in 30-40 minutes. For anyone with time to spare, I've prepared some bonus problems. When students are done with the first part, they return it to me, keep their bubble sheet, and get the final eight problems, which are numbered from 33-40. These problems come from old American Mathematics Competition exams. The Art of Problem Solving Wiki has problems and solutions for exams dating back to 1985.
When the first hour is up, I tell everyone to hand in everything they've got. I project this familiar random group generator on the front board, press the sort button, and tell students that these are their final exam groups. Then, I tell everyone that when they find their group and place to work, I'll provide a copy of the exam.
Here is Part 2, the group part of the exam. The instructions are written on the first-page cover sheet:
I take a moment to read the instructions with students, and I take clarifying questions.
There are five problems, and here's a note or two about each one: