Sunday, 23 September 2012

Interlude OCAS for M338 and MST324

Well got both marks back for M338 and M324 At  the high end of grade 2 for M338 and  a distinction for MST324. Overall that means my OCAS for both courses is at the high end of grade 2 being only a couple of marks short of distinction. So it's all to play for if I do really well in the exams I might just get a distinction as happened for MS221 a couple of years back however whilst that seems feasible for MST324 but I have my doubts whether it will work for M338

 One thing about 30 point courses is that a bad TMA has so much more weight than a 60 point course. So if you do badly as I did with the 3rd TMA for MST324 then despite substitution you cant really make it up. Revision has started in earnest for Topology maybe I'm a bit overconfident vis a vis MST324 but unlike Topology the waves stuff is quite familiar so I think a few past papers in the last week should be enough to get me through. With Topology it really is difficult to remember what you did in the past. I'm afraid I'll be taking the path of least resistance focusing on Block B and doing enough of the basic definitions to answer the short questions. The format of the exam is 8 short questions 4 of which tend to be on the hard stuff and the other 4 on relatively straightforward stuff and then two long questions from 4. Two of which tend to be on Block B stuff. So that will be my focus. I havent yet looked at the past papers in any detail but am concentrating on getting the basics of Block B sorted out. I will be rather busy over the weekends before 10th October when the exam is but am taking a couple of days off work before the exam. So hopefully I'll be able to consolidate things then, Then that gives me another 4 days to concentrate on MST324 the weekend of the 12th-14th and two days before the exam on the 18th. I past paper per day should nail it.
So predictions I think M338 will be a grade 3 if I'm realistic and grade 2 if I'm lucky and MST324 should be a solid grade 2 with grade 3 if I'm unlucky.

On another note I've got my course materials for both the Fluids course and the Music course which I've not really had a chance to look at in any depth. However as both courses seem quite familiar I doubt whether they will cause me as much grief as M338 has. One very interesting thing about the Music course is that it tries to teach composition of songs something A214 the earlier course didn't. I hope this will lay the foundation for my eventual courses in composition via the OCA. Unfortunately my schedule for embarking on that is getting pushed further and further back. I can't see it being feasible financially or timewise until at least June 2014.  Especially as I want to do M381 (Number theory and logic) and the level course on the philosophy of mind (AA308 I think) in October. For music I will concentrate on the piano and the higher level grade theory exams which again will complement the OU music. I get the impression that whilst the OU covers a lot of stuff in music it does skim on assessing your basic knowledge of the theory. In contrast the Grade 5-8 theory exams do test rigourously your basic understanding. I have to say I'm impressed with the ABRSM framework they have consistently maintained standards over the past 150 years unlike say school exams. Perhaps Michael Gove should take a lesson from how the ABRSM exam system is structured. You could split each subject into 8 levels with 1-5 being equivalent to O level and 6-8 equivalent to A level and on average most pupils could sit 1 level per year. So that it doesn't come as a shock to the system.

As for the Fluids course it covers complementary ground to MS324 and develops the mathematical techniques further. including an introduction to the solution of differential equations by series, waves in fluids and Laplaces equation in spherical polar coordinates and an introduction to Legendre polynomials. One slightly annoying thing is that the revision book has to be downloaded. I do think this is a bit mean of the OU which seems to be moving to putitng more and more stuff   online. Fortunately I live in Scotland so am not subject to the tremendous hike in fees that those in England have to suffer. I'm afraid I still like hard copies and I would really question the value of paying £1250 for a 30 point module which skimps on hardcopies of the material. I can see that this is just going to get worse and worse as time moves on.

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