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What's your worst fear in maths-heavy exams?

  1. Nov 1, 2013 #1
    As Gandalf said, 'worst' is a bad word, but I think it applies. My own worst fear was doing a huge amount of work and then not getting the grade to reflect that.

    What's your worst fear about exams?

    Panicking? Getting a mediocre grade? Not getting the credit you deserve? Not being admitted to your chosen uni?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2013 #2

    Student100

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    One word: Prove....
     
  4. Nov 1, 2013 #3

    AlephZero

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    That's what makes it "math", and not "hard sums".
     
  5. Nov 1, 2013 #4

    Student100

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    Indeed, and "math" is always harder than solving for hard sums.
     
  6. Nov 1, 2013 #5

    WannabeNewton

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    A sudden nuclear attack.
     
  7. Nov 1, 2013 #6

    Student100

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    The Soviet Union collapsed, you can stop hiding under your desk. :approve:
     
  8. Nov 1, 2013 #7

    lisab

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    I had an actual blank-brain incident on the last question of a test once. Couldn't even get started, there was just...nothing.

    Weird, it wasn't a panic attack. Although, I was acutely aware that if I could not get going, I was going to get a terrible grade. It was like that feeling where you know the word...it's on the tip of your tongue, you just can't reach it.
     
  9. Nov 2, 2013 #8

    BobG

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    I've never had that happen on a math test, but when I was in the military, part of your score to determine whether you'd get a promotion that year was based on a test, which meant you always felt a lot of pressure. I blanked on a couple of those.

    First promotion test I ever took, I was clueless on the first answer, but it's possible the hardest question would be the first. The second, well I guess the first two could be the hard ones. It was past the 10th question before I reached a question I knew the answer to. Once I finished the test, I put a piece of scratch paper over the answer sheet and started over with question #1 and kept going until I actually started to remember what I answered the first time. I wound up changing 7 of my first 10 answers and 9 of the first 15. And I did good enough to get promoted the first time I tested, which is hard since you also get points for how long you've been in your current rank, how long you've been in the military, etc. Counting all points (test, time in service, etc), I was the last person selected, so finding a way to recover was the difference.

    Second time that happened to me, it didn't work out as well. There were questions where I could remember what the page looked like, remember the drawings on the page, etc, but I couldn't remember the answer. I think that's worse than just totally blanking out and being clueless. At least it's easy to just let go and finally get in a groove. When it seems like you can remember everything except the answer, it's more frustrating and I just never did get going. There's actually two tests and blanking on one of them really cost me. I scored over 20 points lower on the bad test. If I'd even scored within 10 points of the good test, I would have made it.
     
  10. Nov 2, 2013 #9
    Clowns. A parade of clowns.
     
  11. Nov 2, 2013 #10
    My mechanical pencil gets jammed and I sit there quickly loosing composure as I disassemble it trying to fix it as quietly as possible but since the class is quiet, everyone begins noticing my gradual nervous breakdown as the little metal tip of the pencil escapes my grasp and shoots-off in some random direction never to be found again.
     
  12. Nov 2, 2013 #11
    Heh, I'm very familiar with blank-brain incidents. What kind of question was it? For me, they only really occur with really badly written, unforgiving questions (e.g. 'State X, do Y etc.' without any notation or equations given).
     
  13. Nov 3, 2013 #12
    The one time I completely forgot we had a test, and then another time I forgot a calculator to an exam.
     
  14. Nov 3, 2013 #13
    My mind absolutely wanders without a distraction. I've always needed noise to think and that bothered me a lot in school during exams. It's very much a "blank-brain" feeling.
     
  15. Nov 4, 2013 #14

    Pythagorean

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    ill-posed questions
     
  16. Nov 4, 2013 #15

    AlephZero

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    I guess you wouldn't have liked the sort of questions on the last paper of my maths finals exams. Typical example: the question defined some mathematical system (e.g. a vector space plus some additional properties), and the question was simply "prove some interesting theorems about this system." (Exam time 3 hours, and you advised to attempt 3 or 4 questions from the 20 or so on the paper)
     
  17. Nov 4, 2013 #16

    Pythagorean

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    I guess I really meant over-posed. Under-posed is enjoyable, That's what's fun about research.
     
  18. Nov 5, 2013 #17
    That everything will be too easy and I'll get bored. :rolleyes:
     
  19. Nov 5, 2013 #18
    Find optimal solution to *permutations of 2 strings's substrings*

    ATCGAAATCC and
    TCCGAAAATC


    Then S1={TC,CGAAA,AT,C}
    S2={TCC,GAAA,ATC}
    S3={T,C,C,G,A,A,A,A,T,C}

    Answer: S2 is optimal and selected

    This problem is difficult and I don't know its applications in biology. Someone shed a light please....

    Researching things like this never bores me but I won't have money to spend if I don't go out join the industry to work. Funds from schools for students to do this are also limited (not much for my greed Bhuhhahahha). always trade-offs
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  20. Nov 5, 2013 #19
    Yeah, I remember some horrible exams with questions like this. The problem is that the word 'interesting' is ambiguous. It's probably even worse than the 1-sentence "Prove [something difficult], from first principles" kind of question.

    For me, what always worked was to pay special attention whenever the word 'interesting' was used in courses (e.g. in set textbooks or lectures). Because surely enough, that which is interesting at lecture time is apparently also interesting at exam time.
     
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