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Royston

Exam lunacy

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I've just finished my current course (physics), got good marks throughout the year for my assignments only to completely dive-bomb at the exam (which is worth 50% of the entire course...Gah!)

 

Walking out of the exam room feeling like a complete failure, I bought my own body weight in alcohol, and logged onto my Uni forums only to find a flurry of posts of people mainly in a state of shock.

 

Even people who had already had degrees in math et.c and sat several exams through my Uni, were making comments such as 'that's the hardest paper I've sat'...'whoever thought of these questions got out the wrong side of bed'...'I want to burn all my books'...'I'd be happy if I managed 40%, but I want just over 15% so I can do a resit.' So long story short, it was an absolute b*tch.

 

Practically everything I concentrated on revising, which I thought were the important principles et.c seemed to be non-existent. It was the same for everyone else. I'm not allowed to discuss the content of the exam, needless to say it sucked.

 

So I was wondering, has anybody else had this experience, where everyone was doomed for a crappy mark, how is this sort of thing dealt with...like it or lump it ? Or, do you have other options. I really hope I can do a resit, because I'm aiming for good marks to go onto postgrad education.

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We once had a set of questions on a Physical Chemistry exam set by one lecturer (this was only 2 Q's - not the whole exam though) where out of the 10 week course he went through 10 topics. I really liked the course and revised REALLY hard for his questions and done loads and loads of past papers and was extreamly confident about the whole exam - espessially his section. Last lecture he says 'don't worry too much about today - were just introducing bucky balls and their chemistry at the end here to make you aware of their chemistry, but it's not really that imoportant it's something new were introducing to the course' It was interesting, but not like the rest of the course - which was one of my favourites. Basically - I descided to make sure I knew the first 9 topics expertly and didn't waste my time really revising much about bucky balls because he said they wern't important - and I had other stuff to LEARN let alone revise. Got to the exam, and you've guessed it, BOTH pissing questions he wrote were about bucky balls - and really in depth too. Bastard! Good job the rest of the exam went OK - I was gutted - I would have played a joker on his course I thought I knew it so well.

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The swine...I trust you gave a swift kick to his bucky balls. You should of threatened to fire his testicles through a diffraction grating.

 

Umm, I could carry on, but I'll spare everyone with my lame jokes.:embarass:

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Being fair though..lol.. there was this other lecturer who was having trouble explaining something and we were all struggling to understand and kept asking him questions he couldn't really explain the answers to properly -- anyway - he just came straight out with it and said 'look, don't worry about - it's not on your exam anyway so just forget it... make sure you alll turn up next week though (;)) it WILL be very important!' Fantastic.:D

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Most universities will moderate marks if there is a very significant skew, at my UG university they aimed to achieve a bell curve around about 55 - 60% across all the modules.

 

Sometimes examiners will know they've set a hard exam and mark favourably themselves as well...

 

I had one exam where everyone walked out and started filling in complaints forms the same day as 80% of the stuff on the exam hadn't be covered in the course and wasn't mentioned in the syllabus... there was no action taken in the end and no moderation done, everyone got about 40% higher than they thought they'd got.

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My chem prof (gen chem) spring quarter last year was absolutely awful. Couldn't teach worth a damn. Didn't know anything about the class material. Blatantly plagiarized the textbook and wikipedia for notes. He actually was on probation for recycling tests also, but that's another story.

 

Anyhow, the second longest question on the test was about grignard reactions. Which is something that had never even been mentioned in class before.

 

The question literally started out like this:

 

"The 1912 Nobel prize in chemistry was awarded for discovering the following set of reactions. See what you can make of them."

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Well, I had a similar problem in my first semester of Biology. Our teacher hadn't shown up for about half of the time we've been taking the class, we didn't have hardly any labs, and when we got a test, she got it from a website from a different book than we were studying from. The only reason we passed was because she actually didn't have many grades in the grade book. Now just about everyone is avoiding taking her specific class.

 

I guess it didn't help that she was actually a chemistry teacher.

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I did come out of a GR exam once thinking I had totally screwed it up, and everyone else was saying the same thing. I was almost suicidal after that because I thought it had lost me the class prize.

 

It turned out that everyone else had done so bad that I was still first. In fact, my mark was good enough that they didn't feel they could rescale the mark to let more people pass, since I had demonstrated it was doable. They publicly said that, and then everyone hated me.

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I did come out of a GR exam once thinking I had totally screwed it up, and everyone else was saying the same thing. I was almost suicidal after that because I thought it had lost me the class prize.

 

It turned out that everyone else had done so bad that I was still first. In fact, my mark was good enough that they didn't feel they could rescale the mark to let more people pass, since I had demonstrated it was doable. They publicly said that, and then everyone hated me.

 

I think it's only fitting that your score was relatively excellent. Although I suppose all observers perceive A as A no matter what their own score is.

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Well unfortunately I have to do a resit next year, just being a few percent below a pass, so my result was as expected, but I still feel incredibly sh*tty right now.

 

I discussed the results with other students, and they couldn't believe I sat the exam under the circumstances I was in at the time. A tutor told me it was the first time he didn't have one distinction in his group...so it was tough, and I had too much going on outside my studies to be thinking clearly (anyone who thinks that as an excuse, can kiss my arse). The concensus was that the majority were just happy to pass, regardless of the grade.

 

The problem I have now is that my revision for the resit will clash with my next course, albeit they're similar subjects, my next course being more math orientated. Anyway, despite trying to rationalise my result (i.e it's not solely my fault), I'm still seriously p*ssed off at the moment.

 

I'm taking a break from anything remotely science for a few days, to get composed, and get back the determination and focus I have for the subject, despite this heavy knock to my confidence. :-(

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Long ago and far away a researcher at a well known University was told to do some lecturing and to set an exam. He didn't want to- it got in the way of his research- and he said so. They told him to do it anyway.

He taught the course- badly. Then he set the exam- an absolute bastard by all accounts but, strictly within the rules.

 

They never asked him to teach again.

The University quietly "adjusted" people's marks.

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John, your story is very common.

 

In fact, in the past I have even been advised to not put much effort into my teaching, because doing it well won't get me much credit and will just distract from my research.

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Well as disheartening as all that sounds. (I guess there's a lack of physics teachers these days.) I've dusted myself off, I'm already attempting my first assignment, which is due around mid February for my maths course (having studied the first unit), and hope to finish four units before the end of the month. So I should be two months ahead, which will give me ample time to revise for the resit.

 

I've ordered past exam papers, plus assignments for my last course, which are part of next years presentation...just to keep it fresh in my mind. It's going to be tough (as I work full time as well), but ho hum.

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Man, hope I never get a teacher like that one. Don 't have that kind of horror story ...yet.

Long ago and far away a researcher at a well known University was told to do some lecturing and to set an exam. He didn't want to- it got in the way of his research- and he said so. They told him to do it anyway.

He taught the course- badly. Then he set the exam- an absolute bastard by all accounts but, strictly within the rules.

 

They never asked him to teach again.

The University quietly "adjusted" people's marks.

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