maths study via The Open University

Archive for October, 2012

M343 exam


That was difficult.

Looked nothing like the specimen paper and the questions seemed blooming hard in part two – the longer questions with more marks.

Quite a few people agreeing with me and some that were initially hoping for a pass one or pass two are now hoping they’ve scraped 40% and a pass four instead.

Some shocked faces in the exam hall.

I think this paper was significantly more difficult than the past papers I looked at.

Still, I was prepared for it to go badly, so don’t feel too down about it.

Not allowed to discuss the questions until the paper has been released, apparently – not even give a hint of the topics.

Revision finished

I think I’ve crammed about 70 hours into the past six days – and managed to revise about 75% of the course.
On that basis, unless the questions fall in my favour, I reckon my upper limit is a pass grade three.
Distinction is certainly out, and a pass grade two is looking ropey.
I have one more thing to glance at in the morning. I’m going for a walk now to clear my head – the world could have ended outside my door and I wouldn’t know.

Revision day three

Not a bad day today. Have revised Brownian motion / geometric / with drift etc, and also these gene inheritance questions, plus some others. Have found some handy ways to check the answers to Bayes’ formula and Theorem of Total Probability answers – to see if the answers match intuition.

A bit of Markov chains and properties to do, plus some survivor function stuff (some handy notes in the course book aren’t in the handbook). Need to make a list of handy identities for integrals, too as some of the “tricks” on past papers have been quite subtle.

I have tonight off = Jack Daniels and cola evening.

12 hours each on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to go – with a timed three hour paper on each day, plus the specimen again somewhere along the line.

Still filled with dread for the exam – it’s easy to make some silly moves answering a LOT of these questions.

Revision day two

Just updating here while I let my brain unscramble – eight hours straight of study and plenty of mixed feelings – from “ok, not too bad” to utter dread. 🙂

Half an hour off, then back to it for four hours. Grr.

Reasonably confident of a low pass but precisely zero confidence in a pass one or pass two.

Strangely managed to work out the small problem that had me stumped last night – sat down this morning and it was on paper within 30 seconds. Tired = not good for maths.

Revision day one

A productive first day, where I bashed through as many part one questions – ie shorter ones – as I could find.
Most of it came back to me quite quickly – certainly less to remember than a second level 60 point course like MST209 – and I think I got most of it right.

One niggling answer in the specimen paper – just written down as a single figure in the solution guide – spent too long trying to work out how they got it.

So, 2-dimensional Poisson processes, survivor/hazard/life functions, geometric Brownian motion, Markov Chains, R and S distances and hypothesis testing, Galton-Watson branching processes and Newton-Raphson iteration, random walks, queueing theory, and epidemic modelling done.

Just having some dinner in a minute – hopefully mop up the pints of coffee which have given me the shakes – then back onto partial differential equations in the form of Lagrange’s equation, then bed.

Having looked through the past papers, it seems there’s no way of avoiding gene inheritance-type questions – I hate these with a passion, so have blocked out five hours on Saturday to run through them.

Slightly less worried than I was at early o’clock today, but still worried.

Plan B

The earlier stated plan went out the window. I’ve done something fairly impressive to my back and neck, and have done zero revision for the exam.
Not even picked up a book to this point.
So, with six revision days to go, I am sitting here with a good few hundred pages to skim through, and half a dozen M343 Applications of Probability past papers to have a go at.
Plan B is now 6 x 12 hour days of revision, then plough into the exam in either a worried mood or a very worried one.
The outcome is whatever it is.
Post-exam, I am going back to bed.