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Thin magnetic film switching was investigated for fields near those needed for pure rotation. Experimentally the films were switched using <0.4 ns rise time field pulses. The resulting flux changes were detected in the easy and hard direction with a response time of 0.6 ns. Measurements were made for pulses both longer and shorter than the magnetization switching times. By analyzing the voltage waveforms and flux changes, it was concluded that instabilities and rapid rearrangements of the magnetization can occur within a few nanoseconds, causing anomalous results during switching. Equations of existing quantitative switching models-pure rotation, spin-wave, and stripe domain-were solved with a digital computer. To better compare theory and experiment, the solutions were modified to account for the sense system's finite rise time. It was found that none of the existing models adequately described the switching processes for low amplitude magnetic fields. However, qualitatively, the stripe domain model best fit the experimental data.