**Frequency:**Common

**Penalty on Exam:**Depends, but it's usually moderate to severe

**Issue:**Many students are very sloppy with their graphs. They don't label axes and/or points and their lines look like curves (or their curves look like lines). If a student does not show accuracy on a hand-drawn graph, then the professor must assume that the student doesn't know how to graph. Some things are minor deductions, but if the student's graph looks like a mess, then that could cost everything on that problem!

**Remedy:**Practice graphing! If unsure, give a sample of your work to your instructor. Make sure that anyone reading your graphs can easily see (and would be impressed) that you are graphing a line, a parabola, or something else. Be sure to take your time! Your professor should have built extra time into the exam in consideration that they want you to create a beautiful graph. An accurate, and well done, graph should generally include the following information:

__Algebra Courses:__

- both axes labeled
- both axes scaled properly
- vertices labeled (for quadratics) or centers labeled (for circles)
- proper behavior for the curve (e.g., a parabola should not look like a "V")
- any and all asymptotes labeled (for exponentials, logarithms, and rational functions)

__Trigonometry and Precalculus Courses:__

- everything from "Algebra Courses" plus,
- key points for trigonometric functions (e.g., the five key points for graphing the sine curve)
- accurate behavior of polynomial and rational functions near their roots (e.g., extremely "flat" cubic behavior near a root of multiplicity 9)

__Calculus Courses:__

- everything from "Trigonometry and Precalculus Courses" plus,
- appropriate concavity on intervals
- exact placement of maximums and minimums
- distinct behavior at cusps/kinks
- justifications of asymptotic behavior, maximums/minimums, and concavity using calculus