The last few weeks have been quite stressful, as my studies on Open University course MST121 came to an end. My final assignment was due in on 15th May, and then the final exam took place yesterday. Between finishing that assignment and doing some serious cramming for the exam, I’ve had virtually no time for anything else.
The prospect of an end-of-module exam was quite terrifying. I have not sat an exam since my GCSEs in 1999, and reliving that experience – the rows of desks, the dead silence, the invigilator solemnly roaming the room – was not something I was looking forward to.
The exam was held at the Gateway Conference Centre in London Road. I arrived half an hour before the 2.30pm start time to find my fellow students milling around, chatting amiably to one another. I felt a tinge of regret for not going to a single tutorial – in retrospect, I could have done with the support from my fellow students and tutor. But they were held in Wallasey, for heaven’s sake. Who wants to go there?
My one blind spot – trigonometric identities. I can get my head around plain trigonometry easily enough, but trying to understand that cos²θ + sin²θ = 1, and applying that to rearranging equations – well, I found it difficult. I devoted extra time to studying it, but hoped that it wouldn’t come up in the exam.
The Maths gods were not listening. Not only did it come up, but the question was 9% of the total mark. Bah.
The first part of the exam was multiple choice, which sounds easy, but the questions required some involved working out of answers, and all the possible choices – 8 for each question – were plausible (no ITV phone-in quiz answers here). In this section, there were no marks available for showing your working – you’re either right (in which case you get 4 marks) or wrong (in which case it’s a big fat zero).
I almost ran out of time, too. The exam paper was designed to be completed in two hours. At the end of the three hour time limit, I was still scribbling away. I had left a couple of the multiple choice questions to come back to later – in the end I just guessed the answers, as I didn’t have time to do them.
Although I’m not completely happy with my performance, the pass mark is 40%, and I’m fairly confident I’ve managed that, at least. Results are released on 19th July – until then, I’m enjoying the summer without any study work to do. 🙂