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Year View| Summary| Highlights| Month View| Monday 25 August 2003 (Day View) – Exam – COMP2302

25.08.2003Monday 25 August – Computer Organisation Exam

Woe. Dismal morbidity. Morbid dismality. Gloom. But enough of that, it’s slightly possible that life may, perhaps, still go on. To cut a short story shorter, I didn’t do very well in my exam.
I woke, swallowed my antibiotics, caught my train, ate my fried noodles, and went to my “Intro to Information Systems” lecture. A friend and I went down to the computer labs where I used my rather pointless “Information Technology Project” practical to study for my “Computer Organisation” exam. Fortunately for us, a guy who just happened to be in the lab at the same time and noticed us studying showed us his nice printed cheat sheet he’d made, and as we’d both been too dim-witted to make our own, we went and photocopied his. If I did pass, I shall credit that cheat sheet.
Lots of us trooped into the UQ Centre, put our bags down the front, made our way to our seats, and prepared for our exam – forty minutes to attempt twenty-five multiple-choice questions. It was hard. Of the twenty-five multi-choice questions, I ended up guessing between six and ten as I had run out of time. This is probably a good place to express my strong disagreement with time-based examinations. I do not believe a time-based examination tests one’s knowledge or one’s ability to solve the given problems. I believe that the only thing tested during a time-based exam is one’s ability to complete a given set of tasks under pressure and at high speed. While this may be a desired skill in certain fields, it is not the purpose of most examinations. A university style examination should, and is supposed to, test one’s knowledge of the subject matter and give the examinee an opportunity to prove to the examiner that they have indeed mastered whatever they were studying, or at least achieved a specific level. Time-based examinations are often used to divide a class into different grades, based on the horribly wrong assumption that those who are able to complete, correctly, more of the exam in the time given understand and have learnt more than those who don’t. This is where the problem lies. They are effectively testing and marking on someone’s ability to complete something fast, and not their knowledge of the subject matter. I understand that examinations do need a time limit, but that this time limit should be calculated so that the majority of students are able to complete the examination, and be marked on their ability to answer the set questions. This transfers the onus of accurately representing the levels of understanding that the examinees have achieved onto the exam itself, or more accurately, whoever set the exam. If an examinee has done well in the exam, this would indicate that they have understood the content and been able to apply that understanding to the exam problems and successfully demonstrate their knowledge, rather than merely showing that they have the ability to complete a set number of questions in a set amount of time. I believe that, given more time, I would be able to achieve much better results – which more accurately indicates my level of achievement as, regardless of the time taken, solving a problem does indicate that one is able to solve that problem and understands the problem. The thing that worried me about this exam is that as I was walking out I overheard someone say, “Well that was easy”, and another person saying, “I managed to complete all the questions and had time to go back over them and check them”. Perhaps some study would help. I doubt I’ve done more than three hours study since the beginning of semester, in this subject, although I have been to all the lectures and tutorials. I’ve learnt my lesson too, the same lesson I learnt at each of my exams last semester – I must study if I wish to prevent myself dying from stress or get good marks. I guess it’s lucky I’m a genius or I would have totally failed outright. As it is, I think, or hope, that I may have at least passed this exam.
Two hours of skull numbing “Intro to Information Systems”, a milkshake, a piece of pizza and three bits of garlic bread later and I was back on the train heading home. I feel sort of self-conscious eating pizza and drinking milkshakes in the lecture theatres, and almost feel guilty every time I walk past the “No Food or Drink” sign, but I’m claiming it’s for health reasons. These lectures could quite easily cause permanent skullnumbery without a milkshake. Once home, I walked around the yard taking macro images of flowers and plants, and a few normal photos of the back yard. I hope to get some time to look at them tomorrow.
Oh dear, I am terrified. I’ve just received an email that the preliminary results for today’s exam have been released. Woe am I, sixteen out of twenty-five. 64%. Pathetic. I’m such an idiot for not studying. I hope I’ve learnt my lesson and don’t do this again. Not happy. Test statistics are as follows: Number sitting test: 326 (out of 341 enrolled students); Maximum mark: 25 (out of 25); Minimum mark: 6; Average mark: 14.6; Median mark: 14; Standard deviation: 4.1; Number with passing mark (13 or higher): 214 (66%). It looks as though at least someone got 25 out of 25. I am so jealous.
Comment by lulu – Tuesday 26 August 2003, 9:05 AM
  Congratulations, thei! You at least attended and passed. Plus remind everyone about your flu and sore finger. :)
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 26 August 2003, 10:17 AM
  Thanks, I got above average :)
Comment by Monte – Thursday 12 August 2004, 2:05 PM
  Congrads, enjoyed your site, keep up the success.
  Cheers M.
Comment by Ned – Friday 13 August 2004, 2:14 AM
  Thank you! I am trying to.

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