Sunday 7 November 2010

Exam 1, Student 0

Well, I just spent the past 24 hours doing the "open book" final exam for this terms Master of Astronomy subject, 'Astronomical Instrumentation'. I actually got about five hours sleep and slacked off (aka as lunch, dinner and a shower) for several hours, so all in all I "only" took 15 hours to complete the ten multi-part questions! I emailed my answers to the lecturer 30 minutes before the deadline - just in case there were any last minute Internet connection hiccups (our router and cable modem have been playing up recently). The questions in the exam paper were all fine - everything had been covered in the lecture notes or the textbook - but there were just too many of them. It took forever to check I was using the correct formulae, calculate the result, find reference material and image data on the web, double check my result etc. etc.

I had thought the exam paper last term was overly long (it took around 12 hours of effort to complete the ten questions), but this paper was even worse because the last question was worth 40 marks (the other nine questions were only ten marks each), and was basically a repeat of the last practical assignment - which unfortunately I hadn't finished yet (I was sick for a month in the middle part of this term and fell behind. Fortunately the lecturer had granted me extensions on the due dates, but I'm still finishing off the last prac assignment!). So for the final question I was working out how to do the question as well as researching the data and writing up my answer...

Ah well, as soon as I finish of the last prac tonight (or tomorrow) I'll be able to "relax" and start working on last year's tax returns for DW, myself and the kids. It will be interesting to see what grade I wind up getting for 'Astronomical Instrumentation' - I really need to get an HD to have any chance of getting a university medal for my MoA coarse (I got a D last term in 'Modern Astrophysics', and you have to get a GPA of 6.5 or better to be considered for a university medal. Basically that means getting Distinctions for 3 of the subjects, and getting High Distinctions for the other 3 subjects. And it may be difficult to get HDs for the final two subjects - the literature review and research project - as it will depend a bit on what research topic I am assigned).

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