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Did poorly in subdivided exam

  1. Oct 14, 2016 #1
    ... I really ran out time in this exam. I think it was because I wanted to finish math probs and physics probs even though I didn't really have to focus on those so much...

    Actually later on I realized that I would have gotten A or B from e.g. the math compartment, if I did something like 2/3 from the exam questions in math. Something similar was apparently the case for physics compartment also. Because I had full homework credit from math and physics.

    We had an exam which had about four compartments and each required passing grade. Three hours time allocation in manner of your choosing.
    There was
    • math,
    • physics,
    • media knowledge (text editing software and web design focuses)
    • Programming and databases (python 3 and SQL and ER diagrams and relational model focuses)
    I did all the math probs. Then I did two easy physics probs. Working from start towards end in the exam paper.

    I had to choose like... the third choice and final choice for the last physics prob. I started doing the most difficult physics problem accidentally (?) and had to abandon it because I wasted too much time there. But then I started doing another easier choice for the third physics problem. I did that problem about 2/3 finished. Which should get partial credits.

    Then I realized I had to get some points from media knowledge two problems. I wrote some things which came to my mind about the two questions.

    Then I had like 30 minutes to do the programming and databases section. I think that databases and other stuff was the most difficult part for me personally. Programming focused questions were more manageable and I instantly realized what was required really... I did two of programming probs.

    I had like 15 minutes left

    Then I tried rushing some cheap points from SQL queries (which were quite difficult, IMO)

    It is possible I failed the programming and databases compartment, because those are the same compartment for us. There was not much chance in homework credit in this compartment in the exam.

    The media knowledge I probably passed.
    Now I just feel like a dumbass at this point, because I essentially wasted too much time on math and physics problems in the test.

    On one hand, I like to finish problems if I know how to do them. On the other hand I could have focused on the hardest parts (programming and databases) and hope to pass those compartments. Then, try to work on the easier math and physics problems.

    Anyway I just feel sad and angry embarrassed at the same time.
    Looks like I will have to retake that portion of the test which is about programming and databases.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 14, 2016 #2
    I understand how angry and frustrated you are. It was probably an important exam and you spent a lot of time studying and preparing.
    Then you panicked and didn't know how to manage your time.
    While this is a very unpleasant experience, most of us have failed one time or another. It happens in life. It's not a big tragedy even when I believe it looks like a tragedy now. It depends on you if you use this opportunity to learn something (Eg time management and exam strategy) or you will give up and cry over spilt milk.
    It's a sad but true life lesson.
  4. Oct 14, 2016 #3

    On one hand I was happy that I did ok in math and physics portions.

    On the other hand I probably dabbled for too long time in these problems. IF I had wanted to optimize my exam score then I think I should have definitely skipped one physics problem and rely on those solidly worked 2/3 physics problems and utilize homework credit which I already had in the bag.
    It is difficult to say whether or not I could have calculated the physics and math problems faster themselves, though... which may have saved time but may not have allowed time to doublecheck results.

    It is a strange feeling for sure to be happy and disappointed at the same time hehe...

    Also knowing better, the database materials would definitely have helped little bit in getting points from that portion.
  5. Oct 14, 2016 #4
    What kind of exam has math and physics problems coupled with database questions?
  6. Oct 14, 2016 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    This sort of issue is pretty common with one-off exams because you don't know until you take them whether you even need to manage your time in them (instead of just plowing straight through). A good strategy to adopt is to assume you do have to manage your time and then do it. If you find out later that you didn't need to, no harm/no foul.
  7. Oct 25, 2016 #6
    I have failed many exams in my life before, there is no excuse. You must study well and practice questions and understand the logic behind them so they become almost like a...second nature, after which you will finish the exam with some minutes to spare. This advice is so much harder than it sounds. xD

    Do not accept that this sort of thing is normal, try to make excuses etc for failure..
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
  8. Oct 26, 2016 #7

    Yes I did have some gaps in the understanding with regard to sql queries and chen notation for ER diagram and relational model for database.

    I don't think it is making excuses at all. It was simply identifying areas of improvement for myself with the focus of hopefully managing time better in future exam.

    In one or two physics problems I wasted some time with too detailed written explanation of the answer. In another physicsproblem... we had to choose one problem out of 3. And I didd abandon that choice for another seemingly easier problem which I managed to do.

    The more worrying thing may have been whether or not I calculated the math compartment of the exam fast or slow or average speed.

    I typically tend to take my time thoroughly in math homework and focus on quality. But I am probably not the fastest at calculation.

    I always wonderd whether or not you can really improve at the speed of problemsolving in things like algebra math problems.
  9. Nov 10, 2016 #8
    YES! I got a good grade from the course after all. 4/5
    Not a bad beginning, if I may be so bold as to say that.

    Thanks to all you physicsforum homework tutors and moderators :woot::biggrin:

    It seems I did better in the exam, after all was said and done and graded...
    Though there is still room for improvement for myself in the realm of coding knowledge...
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