Friday, 17 October 2008

S282: The exam

Time to face the decider, the exam for this course where all hopes and aspirations live or die.

After getting to the exam centre in plenty of time, and finding my seat and unloading all my stuff on the desk, and then having forgotten my watch and had to go back to the bag dumping ground to fetch it, I started on the admin tasks of filling in all the ids and stuff on the answer book.

Then one of the invigilators came over to the two of us taking this exam and gave us a couple of corrections to the exam paper. Basically a couple of the multi choice answers were telling you to pencil in the wrong rows.

Then it was time to start. Eight multiple choice questions that all have to be answered. Some of them are ok, work out a value and tick the right box. Others are much more tricky given eight statements and pick out the two right ones or two wrong ones. These are tricky as sometimes it all hinges on one word. Some most of the sentence is correct, but a small word somewhere like always can make the whole thing untrue.

Then part 2 - four questions, answer 3 - mostly on the life and death of stars, and often something specific about the Sun.

Part 3 - four more questions, answer 3 - this time on galaxies and cosmology.

I got through the multi choice in about 20 minutes, the paper says to allow 50, but there were 3 of these that I wasn't very sure about and didn't have a good answer, so I left them hoping inspiration might strike.
Then I did 3 of part 2, and followed by 3 of part 3. Then back to part 1 again and this time narrowed it down to at least the right number of answers. Some of them I just couldn't get to gel, and had to guess between two possibilities. Then I still had 30 minutes time, and as they take the best marks from section 2/3 (allegedly anyway) I did the two question I hadn't done, as it filled in the time.
I got stuck on one of them, when I couldn't find the equation for rotational mass/velocity to derive the weight of a black hole. I tried first working it out in terms of an unknown which you needed for the next part, so it would end up as something like 3.4 * M (where M is the answer I couldn't work out for the previous part).
However at some point the equation more of less jumped into my head, and after working the numbers the result didn't look out of place, so I went with it and gave a figure for an answer.

So now - over to the markers - hope they can read my scrawl!


Peter said...

Staring this course in Febuary, wish me luck in the dreaded EXAM!!!

Anonymous said...

Excellent article. I am facing many of these issues as well.


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