All 8 entries tagged Exam Reflection

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June 30, 2011

Exam Reflection – Results!

Looking back at previous entries, I believe my expectation for the marks I’d receive goes something like this:
Intro to Geometry >> Japanese writing > Probability B = Probability A > Games & Decisions > Geometry and Motion > Differential equations > Linear Algebra > Japanese Oral >> Analysis
In fact, the results (final exams only, Japanese is blended) went more like this:
Geo & Motion > Introduction to Geometry > Probability B >> Probability A > Japanese > Linear Algebra > Analysis > Differential Equations > Games & Decisions

So the most surprising ones were Geo & Motion, where I scored far, far beyond what I expected (I suspect mark adjustment) and Games & Decisions, where I scored some distance below. I also underestimated my Analysis mark by around 50%.

Details: I took 145.5 CATS, scored an average mark (in the final exams) of 78, with a sdev of 10.9, which is pretty damn large, really.

Individual comments:
For GeoMo I eschewed doing past papers, instead reading through the notes and worked examples, and doing some of the worked examples. This paid dividends – I was very well prepared. It also didn’t take that much time. I feel having the worked examples helped tremendously. Unfortunately, most modules lack these.

The difference between my Prob B and Prob A mark is around ±10% – quite large. While I suspected I’d done better initially in Prob B during the exam, I thought I’d corrected my mistakes. Not having lecture notes hindered me in this course: my own notes, despite apparently being in chronological order, wibble and wobble all over the place. As an example, I didn’t know (and still don’t!) anything about bivariate conditional/marginal distributions – I presume we looked at it briefly, and I skipped over that section.

Finally, a graph of exam marks against date of exam.

The graph shows a few things: for one, my belief that I was doing better on exams as time went on looks pretty wrong from here; second, the four day exam stint didn’t appear to have much effect on my marks despite the wild zagging between below 70 and above 90%, and finally that looking at the rest of my marks the coursework propped me up a fair bit. Geometry & Motion was the only module where I did better in the exam than the coursework.

I’ll conclude by saying that my mark for Programming for Scientists, a cool 95.75%, narrowly beats out Geometry and Motion for the top spot. That course was pretty ridiculous.

June 14, 2011

ST114 Games & Decisions Exam Reflection

I feel I’ve become both more relaxed and more flippant as the exams went on – I also feel that generally I performed better on the later ones. Having questions in which a girl believes she can predict her marks down to the last percentage point are more fun to do.

This was one of the exams, like Analysis, in which I did more than the bare minimum of questions: i.e. all 3. Unlike Analysis I was able to give complete answers to all three.

I began confidently with the question on Games, but couldn’t remember the exact graph method, flipped and flopped around, tried to work out the final answer a different way, got something else, gave up and moved on.

I then moved back to answer the first question, drew a tiny decision tree, and gave an answer on discounting a 69 vs a 70, assuming you have your estimated marks perfect. This part was fun.

I then rushed through the second, trying to recall definitions, and giving an example of a man who is certain that any given coin comes up both heads and tails at the same time (he’s wrong). For the last part, I misread min as max (NTS: don’t do that), forgot how the log function worked, forgot how functions in general worked (I saw min(log(r),100) as min(log(min(r,100)),100)), but I think I was able to sort it out. Narrowly finished on time. Enjoyed the exam. Probably worse than Prob, but around there. More fun, though.

June 09, 2011

MA134 Geometry and Motion Exam Reflection

Like most of the exams that weren’t Analysis, this exam also went well. I wasn’t quite able to derive the final result on one of the questions and my notation was messed up because I didn’t realise that r’ with respect to x and r’ with respect to y would be different and so my attempt to save on writing instead confused the whole situation.

I eschewed the normal “do past papers” style of revision because there are no answers, and doing past papers without answers is even more of a waste of time than doing past papers normally. And doing past papers without answers after the syllabus has changed is even more of a waste of time than that.

Instead, I read through the lecture notes again, doing some of the examples. These lecture notes incidentally happen to be very readable. And concise. I also did some of the exercises from the example sheets, because those had answers. I also read through answers for the questions I couldn’t be bothered to/didn’t have time to do (this was the morning of the exam). It’s very useful to have a lot of worked, short example questions. I can understand a rationale for not giving students example sheet answers (if you never change the questions, they could sell/distribute them to new first years) but it’s still a pain.

As for how it went – probably better than Linear Algebra, but worse than Probability. I did enjoy this course, though.

June 08, 2011

MA133 Differential Equations Exam Reflection

From this I’ll conclude that I’d memorised less than I thought I had, but I was able to derive more than I thought I would be. So overall +.

I wasted ~ 20 minutes due to pointless mistakes – swapping x and y,not changing a sign through an entire bracket…but I found them in the end. There were likely more I didn’t see. I also wasted a lot of time trying hopelessly to figure out how to answer certain questions :)

Overall I think it went better than Linear Algebra but worse than probability. Only one more exam to go until I get a break of at least a day! Hooray!

June 07, 2011

MA125 Introduction to Geometry Exam Reflection

The exam could not feasibly have gone much better. The questions – straightforward, for the most part, but entirely possible. A 14-mark walkthrough of proving Ceva’s theorem – a proof I already knew. Could have done with being a bit harder, I guess.

I didn’t do anywhere near as much revision for this as for other courses, but then again the course is also significantly shorter.

I think my reading Euclid long ago has aided my ability to construct proofs in some way, but considering it was “nonexistent” before that I can’t say by how much. I still believe it was useful, though.

June 06, 2011

MA1312 Analysis II Exam Reflection

So, that went poorly.

Could I have done more revision? Yes, most certainly. Would the sort of revision I had intended to do have helped? No.

I missed cases or failed to accurately read questions in some cases. There’s not much help for this – it’s something I try not to do :)
I forgot how to prove the latter part of the Extreme Value Theorem, despite only doing it the day before.
I couldn’t see how to solve some questions.

I should become more comfortable with Taylor polynomials to the level at which I’m willing to use them even if they aren’t explicitly specified. Currently I avoid them out of some vague sort of discontent.

Current mark expectation:
Japanese writing > Probability B = Probability A > Linear Algebra > Japanese Oral > Analysis

June 02, 2011

Linear Algebra MA106 Exam Reflection

This year’s exam was written by a different person (Daan Krammer) to the previous years’ and so naturally it differed. In particular, the last question wasn’t a series of true/false, which I preferred for easy marks and occasional interesting point (and nice tricks – an identity map is not always an identity matrix, for one).

As before, I did past paper questions, got bored quickly, and flipped through the markschemes the morning of the exam. I did find a much better (shorter) “ranks are equivalent” proof than the one I’d previously learnt, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

The first question was standard fare even for previous papers. One question was awkwardly phrased, so I decided to take it literally. The second dealt with surjectivity and injectivity – a new topic for exams, but one I’m pretty sure was dealt with in assignments. The third contained a matrix proof where I couldn’t be bothered to memorise the subscripts involved, in the hope it wouldn’t come up – ah well. The fourth contained a horrible “find this 5×5 matrix determinant” that I got terribly wrong. The last part of four was an interesting original proof in which I used parts of my old rank-equivalent proof, mostly relating to bases of row spaces and the like. The fifth, which I didn’t do, was full of questions that would be easy to work backwards. I was turned off by the hint to the second part, which I couldn’t comprehend in the time limit.

Overall I think I did pretty well, but I may have got large swathes of it incorrect. Nonetheless, it was a more interesting exam than the previous ones – original proof questions are very fun if you get them.

Probability A/B – ST111/2 Exam Reflection

Probability was the first Maths exam I took this term, on the 31st. I had a bunch of past papers, but the lecture notes were still incomplete. No answers were provided for any assignment bar the last, but I got most of the marked questions right, and probably most of the rest of the questions as well.

I did…around 3 past papers of the old style, and one or two newer ones. I skipped some of the questions of PGFs and the like that aren’t in the syllabus. Before the exam, I felt like I’d done enough revision – more that I didn’t feel like doing any more.

The exam itself was split into two parts: A and B. A bore some resemblance to past papers but had a fair few questions on the theory, the like of which hadn’t come up before. I was glad I picked Games & Decisions at this point, as the extra work on basic probability helped.
I think I did pretty well on Prob A, overall. I was able to answer all of the questions, which is a good sign. I wasn’t exactly sure what “basic set operations” were, though, especially when Probabilities are added to the mix.

Probability B was different. I couldn’t remember how to find joint or marginal densities, the version of Markov’s inequality was different to the one I knew, and I thought that a question asking for an expected number of offers relating to “a” (nonspecific) cdf F meant to average over all possible cdfs, so one question was right out. 4 past paper sub-questions came up, so that was very convenient. Couldn’t remember exactly how to find P(X < Y) given distributions, did a double integral that seemed reasonable at the time.

Overall, I think this exam went very well, although as it was the first I did more revision on it than I have for many other subjects (there were more past papers available, too). I think I did too much revision – I could quite easily have done substantially less and got a similar mark. I am planning on doing more Stats later, though, so no harm.

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