Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Ultimate Challenge

So I'm sat typing this as a 'draft email', since I'm sat downstairs. I seem to be in a different world altogether. The TV is on, and it just seems a mess of pictures, with a lot of gabbled sound. I'm the only one in this world and there is a perfectly good reason for this. My exams are finally over for this year. Finally. Truthfully, I must say this again, that I understand how Frodo felt upon reaching Mount Doom. Obviously he had to trudge ahead and destroy the ring, which I take will be my results day, but the hard work has been done!

Before I go any further, a big thank you must be said to my calculus supervisor for this semester. In our last ever supervision we had gone through the past paper questions, and like I mentioned he'd helped me devise a strategy for this exam. This played an important part, since in my other exams I've been rather 'reckless' and not really had a technique.

So I woke up at 3:30am this morning, which explains why this 'draft email' is taking me a while to type. I'm actually thinking... thinking before typing - a rarity indeed. Anyhow, I didn't actually 'properly' get started on revision till about 4:30am. In the past few days, when I haven't been posting, I was actually attempting revision. With the mechanics stuff I hadn't really bothered about 'frames of reference', and for the ODE bit I had yet to make sure that I
knew all about 'existence and uniqueness' and the graphical bits. (The bit I hate). So my plan had been to do all this in the morning and do the problem sheets which I hadn't done.

Lot's of things happened in the early hours of the day, and the panic was building. I didn't really do the mechanics which I wanted to, but at least I know the existence and uniqueness theorem! (Well I hope so anyway). I know that Dr H had told us in the riot act (which I seem to have read more than once! :o) that Maths is NOT a spectator sport, but I must be one dumb fool, since knowing this I decided to only look at the solutions for the mechanics sheets. (I'd attempted most of the ODE sheets, when they had been given, so I didn't answer them again properly, but rather 'briefly'.). The question that I was looking at the answers for were the ones to do with 'a component of angular momentum being conserved' and all the stuff of frames of reference. You see last years paper had a question on the angular momentum stuff (note how I no longer become distressed upon hearing that word!!), and I hadn't been able to 'dig it out'. Partially because of my 'dodgy' revision.

Anyway, being 'OK' with the ODE stuff was the only comforting thought for me in the morning. I got into Manchester for 8:45am, making sure that that part of my nightmare also remained a dream. The plan: revise in the Newman building until 9:30am. Bella happened to also be in the Newman building, and whilst she found our courseworks for the first Matlab coursework, I went over all the mechanics notes- one last time. It might have been more effective had I done the questions, but thankfully Bella being there helped. Upon having found our courseworks (we have turns in finding them :D) we both went through last years paper and she helped me with the angular momentum question. I was nervous about it, but I knew how to answer at least one part which was comforting. The coursework returned was for the Matlab report which I had a terrible time with, however I'm quite happy with my mark. :)

You see I was relaxed about getting to the exam hall on time, and this had rubbed onto Bella. Normally 30 minutes before she'll start getting nervous and pushing us to hurry up, but this time at 9:30am she was there with me as we hurried to the exam hall. Well Bella hurried, whilst I ate my bananas. Why am I going through the whole day? I don't know to be honest- things haven't sunk in yet I suppose. This is the first exam for which I arrived early (wasn't I eager!) for on my previous two exams I always had to stay behind at the end and fill in the front. I did comment that in my Linear Algebra and sequences exam, I had stupidly treated them as English exams, however today that wasn't the case. (Sadly I must say :( ). I'm not pleased with my 'presentation' it seems (amongst other things), my writing deteriorated quite rapidly, and I hope my 'sorry' will make the marker have some mercy on me!

So my theory was to do all the mechanics questions first and then the ODEs ones. I was initially (t=0) thrown into a panic as I flicked through the paper, since it seemed impossible! However the second flick (t=60) slightly calmed me down. The mechanics questions were not nice. There were only three darn questions, yet they took me about 1hr and 45 minutes to complete. Aha- I know why I'm giving the whole 'commentary', it's because I'm not going to perform the full post mortem of the exam. Nope. All you need to know is that this bean is very silly and stupidly 'derived' the equation for velocity in polar co-ordinate form. And then I went and derived acceleration as well. No wonder I was stumped for time! The darn equation had been given to us, but no, I didn't read the whole question.

I don't really know how I have done, which isn't reassuring. I did miss a question out and left another incomplete, but overall, I really don't know what to make of the paper. I think this is because the paper had a balance between 'good' and 'evil' i.e. mechanics and ODEs. I did spend an awful amount of time on the mechanics questions, but they were 'longish' questions (especially if you hadn't revised properly) and I'm glad of this. Sigh. I'll dismiss this paper in a few hours, but right now I think I might be feeling a hint of 'regret'.

I keep on wanting to talk about me 'exam plan' but I don't. After the exam Fizz commented that she'd started from question 1 (ODE one) and then done the next, another ODE one etc, and so towards the end when it came to do the mechanics one she ran out of time. I managed to complete everything (apart from the bits mentioned above) but I didn't check all my work properly. The big thanks to my supervisor is for the following reason. I have previously complained about the lights in the Sugden sport centre, and today yet again, after 2 hours I had a blinding headache. It was the sequence and series type, and it wasn't very 'good'. I was 'holding' my head whilst trying to write at the same time. It was hard work trying to think and towards the last hour I was on auto pilot. Cue applause to supervisor. The only reason I came out of the exam having attempted all the questions is because of him. He hit the nail on the head when he said that you have a period in the exam when you're not at 100%. I didn't actually think that his comment would be painfully true!

Anyway, my exams are over. As always when one suffers from lack of sleep, they tend to go hyper for a while, and then erm ... crash! I've got three more books for my maths collection now- thanks to Bella and Fizz (Milo has been thanked previously :D). I'm going to give my assessment of how my first and second semester went tomorrow, but I feel that I was a 'bad' student in the second semester compared to the first semester. Anyway more on that tomorrow. We didn't discuss the paper in too much detail since all of us were not sure what to make of it. Panya was surprisingly 'nice' and good today. I mean normally I don't tend to talk much with him (I have my reasons: college) but today I have officially decided that college was college, and Panya will never change some of his Panyanic habits (:D), like I'll possibly never fully grow up. Therefore he will now be known as Arthur (you know that cartoon- 'I say hey, what a wonderful kind of day....', you probably know about Buster surely! And Francine or maybe Binky... surely you've heard of Arthur!). No real reason, but erm... I didn't recently watch Hey Arthur or anything- what would give you that impression?! Arthur it is. (Sounds weird compared to Panya- but hey, I'm low on inspiration).

Milo went home today and I helped him pack. At the time adrenaline was my friend, which I long for now. Milo had a lot of stuff indeed, and well, I like doing stuff like that and helping Milo was cool. (Although tomorrow may be a different story- I'm just hoping that it's not too bad). Milo was particularly eager to get home, since he's not had the best of times with his flat mates. I have yet to form an 'opinion' as such, on them, but it feels weird that we're all probably be going to see each other again in about 3.5 months time! I like the routine of lectures etc, but I'm hoping that the time will fly since unlike previous years I have an agenda for these holidays.

One thing that I will NOT miss about term ending, is carrying a damn heavy bag. My own fault, but not having carried it for a week seemed to have taken it's toll on me. Actually I lie- I'll be going into university on 6th June. This blog isn't going anywhere, so the lots of things which I have to post can always be posted tomorrow! (Trust me I can talk for England and also type for England.)

Is it weird that I want my exam results now? As in right now. I mean the minute I step out of the exam hall, I want to know my results! Ok, I'll shut up now- I think the celebrations have got to my head. So it's been a difficult month and we always have to look forward and upwards. (Easier said then done... 3x3x3=9: BTW I've been telling that to everyone!). 'A sobering final comment' (damn me quoting my notes again):

One can grow to appreciate and maybe 'like' mechanics. I'd include the ODE bit in that as well since that had the oscillations. When I was revising, things about oscillations made sense, which is always good. All that 'mumbo jumbo' about resonance, damping, spring constant etc made sense. I began to appreciate how mechanics applies to the real world, but still struggled in the questions. My advice: keep at it. I know I'm not the 'model student' for mechanics, and never will be. I will always find mechanics difficult, but I'd follow the advice on this page seriously (well the last two paragraphs anyway!) if you want to 'like' it better. I think having understood some concepts, and how to derive them i.e. remember that you 'cross product with r here etc' was the difference today, since I didn't have to memorise much. Oops, getting carried away again, but there's more to what I want to say that'll have to wait for tomorrow.

BTW tdstephens, if you're reading this, how come your blogs disappeared?!


PS: Now I can post as much as I want, with no guilty consciouses. Muhahah- although I will try my best to be more organised!(It's either two posts tomorrow or one loooong one- you decide :D) No more having to wake up at 9ish and revise anymore -woohooo!

1 comment:

beans said...

Oops I've been giving the wrong information! Last years paper had a question on a particle moving in a sphere (motion not in a plane I think) and that was what I'd been worried about. The angular momentum question did come in the exam but it was to do with central field of forces as well as motion confined to a plane. (The word prove cropped up!)