Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sensei's Divining Top

So yesterday I finally got the results of my STAT 330 midterm back, and now I finally have the results of all 3 of the midterms that I had the joy of writing back on Feb 14. (Strangely enough, my database midterm that I wrote a week before that still seems to have not been marked yet.) It seems that my predicted marks were pretty close to their acutal counterparts this time, whereas in the past, I would have been the subject of some ridicule when my "conservative" estimates ended up being way off the mark. (My 1A calculus midterm being the most famous example)

1) CS 330 midterm, 8:30 AM
Predicted mark: ~80%
Actual mark: 78%

This midterm was expected to be fairly easy, based on what I saw in last term's midterm. It was harder than that, but still not that challenging. It was short answer, 7 questions, you choose 5 of them. One mark I lost because I was going to change an answer from "TCP and UDP" to the correct version, "TCP and IP" but wasn't 100% sure either way, and in the in I was running out of time so I just left it. Near the end of the exam, I had 10 mins left to change one of my answers and do a different question instead, and I finished with only about a minute to spare. The only complaint that I had about this midterm was the first question, which was about ER diagrams. I've been learning about those in a lot more detail in my databases course, and I'd say that the way they were taught in CS 330 wasn't that great. The prof just kind of glossed over a lot of details, and on the exam, the question wasn't worded a bit ambiguously. Another problem is that there's no real objective standard to measure which ER diagram is "better" than another. I ended up losing most of my marks on that question, but since the rest of the exam wasn't that difficult, I guess I can't complain

2) STAT 330 midterm, 11:30 AM
Predicted mark: ~60%
Actual mark: 66%

Whoa...I got actually better than I expected on this one. At first, while writing it I thought I might have a shot of getting maybe about 75%, but then I realized that a few of my answers weren't really that sound, and depending on how generous they were with part marks, I might actually end up with ~50% if they chose to be cruel. Luckily, the TA's seemed to be fair this time, and I managed to do okay. Of course, part of the reason that I did as well as I did is probably 'cause this is my second time taking the course...but shhh..the other ppl in my class don't need to know that. :P Yesterday, my prof did his usual act of being condescending and disappointed in us because the average was barely 60% and around half of the class failed. This caused a bit of an uproar, as several students spoke up to complain that the exam was too hard and there weren't enough practice problems. (This year the prof didn't even bother to put the solutions to the course notes problems in the library) In response, the prof said that you are supposed to know your calculus for this course, and that you should just "sit down and spend time to do the problems, and then you will learn this course". That prompted more complaining from some students about how most of them also have 4 other courses to deal with, to which the prof responded that if you did badly on this test (<66%) then will have big problems with the next one, and you might even fail the course. IMO, the midterm was fair, but the fact that course was taught in such a poor manner would make it hard for most people to do well on it.

3) STAT 333 midterm, 4:30 PM
Predicted mark: ~40%
Actual mark: 45%

Even though I failed this exam, I still did better than I predicted, AND the class average as well I think. (Average was like 13.5/40, according to UWACE) By the time I was writing this exam, I was kinda tired, so I ended up making 2 stupid mistakes that cost me 4+3 = a total of 7 marks. And 7 marks out of 40 is a lot. One of the 3 questions I really couldn't answer, but I guess I put in enough stuff to at least get some part marks. Duy hasn't checked his mark yet, but we calculated that he probably got around 55% only. [Edit: Finished writing this part just before we went to class, and then during class we got our midterms back, and Duy actually only got 19/40] Since the class average was so low, our marks might get belled later, which means that I'll probably end up passing, yay!