Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Drama (blogger seems to messing about!)

Keeping with the drama theme, I wasn't going to write the bit about revision in the title, but I was worried that it might scare some of you. Well erm.. might being the key word!

So onto the drama first, and as always there's plenty of it! Today was our last ever lecture with Prof S. :( Yes, it's sad news. Firstly because it means that the exams are looming and secondly I really enjoyed going to his lectures. However as always, there's a silver lining in the cloud (cheerio Stuart Little!) when one wishes to see it. We're hopefully going to be having Prof S for a module next year which is something to look forward to. Even better we're also having Dr Coleman for half of one module! Wow- I'm already looking forward to next year, although I would prefer Dr C to teach us for the whole twelve weeks, I guess we'll have to do without. Sigh. Don't know about the other lecturers we're going to be having, but at least two of my lectures will be looked forward to.

Today was just a revision lecture, and it my had my ickle heart pounding. Not in a good way of course. We need to learn lots of definitions, and sometimes one thinks that they know a definition but as Prof S pointed out today, you have to state them properly. I have a poor long term memory, well the thing is that I forget stuff which is why I always used to revise the night before! Obviously that's not practical anymore, but I'm worried that I've forgotten everything that I tried learning during Easter. Another problem which I have is that I'm so used to working in vectors, that when I'm asked for say a basis and we're working in M_2(R), I write it down as vectors, rather than matrices. I realised this in todays lecture, since I'd just done my homework and made the same mistake! (This is not the first time I've done this, but I'm hoping that I remember not to do it again!).

Now on the way home, I bumped into or shall we I say met my personal tutor who was also on his way home. It seems that both of us had got our times wrong, but in my case it didn't matter so much. So we walked and talked, until my PT realised that he was running late! I must trust my PT a lot, since I blindly followed him when he crossed the road- not the most safest of things I've done!! I did point out to him that had I died (which is obviously a possibility in these circumstances!) then he would have had to sit my exams for me. Obviously that sounded great to me, I mean 100% on all three exams sounds great doesn't it! He might have not liked it since it may have clashed with his timetable, but that's the least he could do right? (consider it my lat wish!):D

I'm actually quite happy that my PT is cool and easy to get along with. I mean I did used to feel dumb asking him dumb questions, and sometimes when the question was supremely dumb I did think twice, but I don't anymore. He's friendly and I might never shut up, but he's always good to have a chat with and moan about exams! (I see my PT quite a few times sometimes since his office is near mine- other people aren't quite lucky, or maybe they don't want to see their tutors!)

So that was the drama of the day. Now onto my revision update, or me trying to get some organization sorted out so I feel slightly better.


I have the coursework to type of for this module, and although I told myself NOT to type it up and do it by hand, I just couldn't resist. My writing is not the neatest as you've seen, and well the back space key doesn't exist when doing things by hand. I don't know why but although I was thinking, 'It's ok if I don't do too well in this, because I've done OK so far.' I just couldn't give a substandard report in! I know that had I done so then I probably wouldn't have been happy upon receiving it back. So I'm persevering with typing it up and it should be finished by tonight/early tomorrow morning!

The university computers don't have LaTeX (or maybe I can't find it!) and I'd already typed half of it up at home on LaTeX. Weirdly, since I've started using LaTeX, I don't like using word! :\ So today in university I was stuck and wondered what to do. The solution- notepad! I typed my coursework up the way I would in LaTeX, but have yet to copy and paste it to see how it looks. The good thing about doing it on notepad as opposed to LaTeX is that I wasn't 'building' the file every five minutes. (something which I'm guilty of doing!)

So if I get this last report out of the way tonight, this module is done and dusted and I'm pretty sure that I've passed. (Not in a cocky way, but after talking to the lecturer I was told how many marks are needed for a pass. And from the reports I have done so far, I have got that many marks. Woohoo!)

Sequences and Series

I'm writing the modules in the order which I'm hoping to be revising them. I've had a long and bumpy journey with this module, and I'd rather not link previous posts in which I've been pretty annoyed since I feel better now! I think I've got the gist of sequences now, and after my final list of questions is going to be answered (this Friday I hope), I'll be semi-prepared for that section of the exam. Obviously I need to learn the proofs properly, I mean be able to recall them correctly without fail and I need to do the problem sheets again (since I've forgotten the first bits!). But I feel I've got somewhere in terms of sequences. I have decided not to learn certain 'big' proofs since I hope that they won't be asked about, but I'll learn little tricks of the proofs just in case.

The problem is now series. I tried just reading over the notes first, ignoring my brain screaming, but this may not have been a good plan. The series section of the course is slightly smaller than sequences (understandably) but it's just not clicking at the moment! I really don't see it, I mean why, what, where when??!! I guess I'm feeling the same as I did about sequences, but alas I no longer have weeks to familiarize myself with such concepts. I'm hoping to finish all the series part by Friday (in time for the example class). This doesn't look likely since today is a Tuesday, but that is what I'm aiming to do anyway.

I really shouldn't be freaking out, but I can't help it. My 'first impressions' after reading my notes weren't good. This exam is next Friday at 2pm. I'm going to be doing the past papers and recapping all the proofs on that Friday, which is why I'm not too concerned now, but couldn't the exam only be on sequences? Series are confusing. Limit comparison test, integral test, modified integral test- what the heck! How many tests does one need? Ok, relax beans. This Friday is the provisional deadline but I'll leave Saturday open as a maybe.

Linear Algebra

Sigh. And sigh again. In the Easter holidays I revised the first half of this course in the way I would for the exams. However I didn't attempt learning all the proofs, since like I said, I'd forget them for the exam. I must also confess that I rushed through certain topics which I didn't take a liking to, but I suppose the real reason for this was that I got 'bored' of reducing matrices to row echelon form. I also revised some of the second half of the course up till the end of the orthogonal stuff. So I have vector spaces and Linear transformations remaining to revise properly. Prof S made another good point today. We start revising from the beginning and by the time we get to the end topics (like I've mentioned), which are very important, we probably run out of time. Or in my case lose steam!

Now I've attended all my supervisions (I hope!) and handed in most of the work- well tried to anyway. Hopefully I've got about 10% already (if it works this way!) and the coursework test was worth a further 15%. So in total I should have around 19/20% in my back pack. That's obviously an approximation since I don't know how much I've got from the supervisions, and haven't converted my test mark into 15%. I'm just trying to reassure myself to stay calm. I know I'm not hoping to get only 40% in the exam, but I've got to make sure that I get at least 40%! I really don't know how this system works and how they do the total mark, but there's hope left for me yet.

So I've written what I've done and got so far. Now on to what to do next. Saturday is when I hope to start revising this module properly, but Saturday is really going to be recapping what I've revised so far and probably doing the question sheets. Sunday is when I get down to business and start revising liner transformations, and hopefully by the following Wednesday I will have completed my revision. The exam is on the 17th, a Thursday and unfortunately it's in the morning and is 3 hours long! Like normally I'll probably be up at 4am doing past papers and last minute cramming, but I'm really hoping that I stick to my plan and finish revision by Wednesday. So many definitions to learn, but I've got to think positively now (no matter how unrealistic my plans are).


Last but not least it's calculus and applications. Once again I have to say that I'm not going to be looking at this module for a while- not until 19th May that is! I seem to have problems remembering the first half of the course, but since I followed the lectures until we started doing oscillations I'm hoping that 10 days is enough to revise. I mean after the sequences exam we have 10 days until this exam, and I probably have to be careful not to slack of in them 10 days, but it's not practical to revise for this exam at the moment. The priority is linear algebra and sequence and series since they're one after another!

To be honest, I'm not sure about 'how' I want to pass this exam. I mean where to put the marker? I've got 14/5% say already from the courseworks and supervisions (out of 20%), so I need a further 25%. Hmmm, once again I don't only want 40% but I'm not really expecting myself to get 'brilliant' marks! Maybe the same as my stats exam would be nice, but then again a pass is more important since that means no resits! (I've gotten over my previous problem of wanting to resit at most one module.)

So on paper/my screen it looks a lot nicer than how it's going to be. As always come exam time, I tend to post less. I'm hoping to do the same this time round- just watch out for 17th May. During the Christmas holidays and the January exam I had a rhythm. It was pretty good since I was quite focused. At the moment my focus is blurring and I'm hoping that by doing what I have written, I'll shake the double vision away. My plan is to wake up early so then I won't feel that the whole day has been wasted; eat lots of apples and bananas; drink lots of water and hopefully not freak out too much (as I am known to do so). And best of luck to anyone else who has exams, hope your revision goes as planned and your exams are a success. If you don't have exams and would like to sit some- for the sake of it of course, or maybe to test yourself- then get in touch with me! I'm going to 'randomly' lose my library card if worst comes to worst, so drop me an email if you're interested.

(OK, that's never going to happen, but one can live in hope! It's whats keeping me a live! \hyperbole. Excuse the disjointness, I seem to have the idea that today was a Monday in my head!)


beans said...

AAAhhhhh- my P drive isn't working! I can't access it from home. Humbug. (It's my uni drive where I saved the notepad file :( )

beans said...

Steve: the link you gave me was a life saver!

If anyone's interested you can complile Tex files into pdf ones here:


It's going to be a messy business, but I still haven't been able to access my p drive! So I've emailed myself what I've done at home and when at university tomorrow I'm going to add the two peices together and compile the document using the above link. The pictures also appear- cool. Hopefully my plan will work!

(I have not been sat at the computer for the last hour pressing F5! It was only 30 minutes!) I seem to enjoy doing things the hard/long way, but can't wait to have got rid of the darn coursework.

steve said...

Glad that link worked. Coincidentally someone has just been asking about online Latex compilers on AoPS, so do add what you think at Online Latex Compiler ??

beans said...

Have just done. Probably scared the poor person! You have to be patient when using them links, and like I said certain things just don't want to work at times.

(Actually the time constraint was the cause of that, but thankfully today I can access my P Drive which sadly means that I'm already of track and haven't handed in the coursework today! The deadlines Monday, but I thought 'out of sight, out of mind!').