Exams – Its That Time Again

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Exams (1)

Is it that time again?[1]

Examinations are the bane of the course. A sheet of paper containing questions that we do not know, and we have to be prepared for almost every possibility[2].

But that’s almost constant for any form of academic training, whether down to Java Certification[3], all the way up to the last examinations of General Certificates of Education, and of course, university.

So how are taking exams with university, and more specifically, ECS, different? On the university level[4], the main difference is that the paper is set by your lecturer(s), and as such, past papers are of most use when the module was being run by the same people. Also, answers are not that easy to come by, especially considering unlike exam board… exams, they’re not taken by as many people, meaning less of a (comparative?) need for answers.

The main difference within ECS exams, is the obvious one. We’re asked questions on “computery[sic] things”. From software engineering[A] to the ARCHITECTURE OF COMPUTERS THEMSELVES[B] (emphasis not mine), we are studying a wide range of topics.

It’s a lot of revision, and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming, and the long, heady summer days outside provide a large temptation to give up, and go outside and not-get-burned[9].

But we have to stay strong, and sit down and learn about partial functions, and loop invariants.

Exam time is a time of constant temptations, away from the work we have to do. Because, in the end, we’re students.

We’re here to learn.[10]

[1] Yes.
[2] Within the boundaries of the module. I mean, much as we’d love to be tested on how one of our lecturers was stuck in the Nordic area during the ash cloud, it’s really unlikely to come up.
[3] Which is apparently a real thing. The world is lacking in Python Certifications in my humble opinion.
[4] Can you spot the scope forming in my natural language sentences? Or the subtle sub-classing? Programming concepts are all around us, although this is limited to design, mostly. No pointers[5] in this room at least.[7]
[5] Oh yeah, for a couple of modules of Advanced Programming, we’ve delved into “others” aside from Java. C is one of them, and it’s… odd? It’s about as close to the bone as you would expect, but pointers are surprisingly fun, and it means you can build very close to the foundation.[6]
[6] I think. It is possible that I’ve missed the point entirely, and I am talking rubbish (about C). Could be the stress of examinations, or my mind playing tricks.
[7] But this complex bunch of footnotes is forming a tree, a commonly used data structure, similar to its namesake, except the root is at the TOP, and the leaves are at the bottom. There are really exciting things you can do with trees that make doing a whole bunch of stuff[8] better, or even possible at all.
[8] I am not being deliberately vague, you can do such much that the list would drag on for a bit, and I’ve actually got revision to do.
[A] In this blog entry, the stakeholders are myself, with my reputation[i] to uphold, the reader, because you want to appreciate the complex and subtle beauty of the writings of a 1st year Computer Science undergraduate, and ECS, since I can’t be seen to say anything that might cause damage to its reputation. Not that I would do that…
[i] HA!
[B] Hamming code parity! Seek time! DIMMs!
[9] My brief trip to America taught me many things, one of the most important was the importance of avoiding the sun during burn hours. Otherwise you will burn. Sunburn is uncool.
[10] And to churn out pages of pages of nested footnotes-within-blogs that are bordering on too complex to read.

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