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Year View| Summary| Highlights| Month View| Friday 30 April 2004 (Day View) – Exam – INFS2200

30.04.2004Friday 30 April – Relational Database Systems Exam

I got out of bed ten minutes before my train was due to leave. I couldn’t afford to miss the train either, as I had to use every spare moment of time to study, so it was run, run, and run. Jumping out of bed, into clothes, and running – all before seven o’clock and within the space of a few minutes is not my favourite way to begin the day. Trying to avoid coronary failure, breathe, and read my textbook on the train isn’t the best way to begin a day either. I had to skip my first lecture, and go down to the computer labs and study for an hour there. I then went to my “Relational Database Systems” tutorial, which was apparently supposed to be exam revision, but wasn’t. I couldn’t see any logic in learning about query optimisation the hour before an exam that would not examine query optimisation, so headed back to the labs and did some more study with Clint and Kieran, before heading up to the exam.
  I can’t believe how stupid I am. You’d think I’d have learnt my lesson by now – but no, it doesn’t look like I ever will. I went well the day before yesterday – studying weeks one through three and even the tutorial solutions, so I left weeks four through six for yesterday. But, of course, I was slack last night, and didn’t start studying until late, and then, unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, someone on the BITS IRC channel mentioned last year’s practice exam, so Clint and I obtained that and attempted to do it. It was fortunate actually, as the exam ended up following the same format exactly, but it meant that I ran out of time to study and only ended up studying up to week four, when we were examined up to the end of week six.
The exam was held during our normal lecture period, and in the same location, which was quite full – unlike during lectures. It consisted of twenty very poorly designed multiple-choice questions. Most of the options were either ambiguous, or (I thought) irrelevant for finding out our understanding of the subject matter – which is surely the entire point of the exam. It didn’t really test understanding of the basic subject matter at all. To answer the majority of the questions one had to rely on a combination of advanced (in the context of this course) knowledge of the subject matter, ability to decipher the meaning of the question and its five possible answers, and a certain quirky sense of illogic to find the “most right” out of what seemed to usually be several semi-correct or mostly incorrect answers. Because I’d not studied enough, I didn’t have the required advanced knowledge – but I’m not sure it would have made any difference anyway, because even when I did understand the question and knew all the answers – I was still left guessing between one of a few ambiguous and usually incorrect options.
  Here’s the first question from the paper: “Question 1. The process of requirement engineering (RE) has the following steps: Domain Analysis, Elicitation, Negotiation and agreement, Specification, Specification analysis: Validation and Verification, Documentation and Evolution.
  A: RE is process that will go through the above 7 steps and create a final software for the testing.
  B: RE is process that will go through the above 7 steps and create a system implementation environment for software developers to implement the system.
  C: RE is process that will go through the above 7 steps and create a system requirement document as a prerequisite of the software engineering.
  D: RE is process that will go through the above 7 steps and create a system requirement document including system design and specification as part of the software engineering process.
  E: All of the above”
  That’s about as clear as they got – perhaps it’s just me, but to me that’s unnecessarily confusing, and that’s one where the answers actually made some sense – a lot of the others, especially those on last year’s practice exam, were worse. Somehow, it seems illogical to answer a “Does this do that?” sort of question with “Yes, if this; No, if that; Never, if that; and Perhaps, but only when this” all at once. Generally, if something doesn’t do something, you can’t answer that it does do something as well. The questions where each option was also a question were a bit confusing too, and the question that misspelt “Extendible” as “Extenbile” four times was a good one. Still, having done very little study, I can’t complain too much.
After the exam, I headed to Kieran’s room, and then found Marcus down in the labs. He and I wandered around for a while, watching bits disorganising their BBQ, where he joined, before driving into the city where I went to Govinda’s for a late lunch.
It’s quite cold – cold enough that I’m wearing woolly socks. Marks have been released for our INFS2200 “Relational Database Systems” mid-semester exam, in which I achieved fourteen out of twenty – something I’m not happy about but can’t complain, as my study definitely wasn’t what it should have been. I’m also waiting to see if I can find out what the marks distribution and average is.
I have site problems. and are resolving to different servers, which they weren’t previously. All sites have XSLT errors (“Fatal error: Call to undefined function: xslt_create()”). This probably means that XSLT is not installed on the server that is on. I wasn’t aware that any of my sites were being moved.
Comment by BITS – Tuesday 4 May 2004, 1:16 PM
  Hey, all INFS2200 people... JOIN BITS OR DIE
Comment by Ned – Thursday 6 May 2004, 1:19 AM
  You forgot the (said all in one breath) “Written and authorised by Clint ♈♉♊♋♌♍♎♏♐♑♒♓ for the University of Queensland Bachelor of Information Technology Society”
  (Name zodiacized upon request to protect the guilty)

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