maths study via The Open University

Archive for October, 2012

M343 exam

Loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool.

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.

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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.