Wednesday, 10 October 2012

M338 Exam debrief

Well this will be quite short as predicted in the previous post I really did not do well on the exam time just run out and I got bogged down on basics. I managed 4 out of 8 questions in part 1 and 1 more or less full question in part 2 and bits of a question that should have been a doddle

OK question 1 was as expected a relatively straightforward question on the interior and exterior of two sets.
Think I got most of this but due to nerves etc I took 25 minutes on this

Question 2 was on whetther or not a set defined a topology on a finite sets again I think I got most of this out another 20 minutes on this

Question 3 was showing that certain edge equations could be reduced to canonical form. It looked like this would take ages to work out so I moved on, with the hope that I could return to it later

Question 4 was a question on a shape with a twist in it and you had to divide it by drawing veritices etc a question I never got the hang of so moved on

Question 5 was one which should have been straightforward involving the subdivision of a sphere in terms of octagons and triangles. However normally this type of question just involves one type of polygon. I Didn't have time to think through the implications of this so moved on

Question 6 was about compact sets again I left this as I was never that clear about this type of thing

Question 7 was about sequences in a topology think I got most of this correct

Question 8 was about similarity relations for a fractal again I think I got most of this correct

So maximum possible marks is 32 say 24 after dropping two points per question

Then part 2

Question  9 was on edge equations and reducing them to canonical form something that should have been a doddle. But the twist here was that the edge equations were separated out. So before one could even start one had to combine the equations to get a single equation. I did this then got the Euler characteristic but completely forgot how to obtain the boundary nuimber for this type of question. And I could not reduce to the equation to canonical form. Part 2 of this question was similar involving 4 equations. Again I could get the Euler characteristic but not much more. So a maximum of 4 marks here.

Question 11 was on metric spaces and sequences defined on the metric space. The metric was quite straightforward and I got most of the first two parts correct. Namely calculating the metric for two values for 2 marks and then showing that the metric was indeed a metric space. 8 marks. One then had to calculate the metric for various open balls defined on the metric a maximum of 5 marks so say 10 marks for this question overall.

Time ran out I couldn't be bothered to chase after the remaining marks
so a reasonable estimate is 24 + 4 + 10 = 38 marks. You need 40 marks to pass so I have definitely failed this one.

Hopefully I can move on and do better with my waves course. If I get offered a resit I will probably take it. In the long term scheme of things Topology doesn't matter. I'm a bit more familiar with the language of topology and that should give me the confidence to look at say the applications of topology to physics. But this has been a nightmare best forgotten.



  1. I think your M338 feelings are quite close to my M343 feelings - I have just sat what I can only describe as a tough pig of an exam and am now just hoping I pass it - like a lot of other people who sat it today have also said.

    Whoever supposes we get an easier ride with the OU is talking out of their butt.

    Good luck with the waves exam which I know is more your thing.

    I'm impressed you managed to remember what the questions are about - I can only remember half of mine.

    Will have a large drink in your honour in a minute mate - great blog.

  2. Hi Chris, I am sorry that you have had a bad time with this. Try to remember that this was probably the hardest of all the OU maths courses but you had a good stab at it and you will probably do better than you think. There would be no way I would have touched this course with a barge pole! Best of luck with your next exam.

  3. Hi Chris,

    You're certainly not alone in your M338 nightmare. Me and the two coursemates I spoke with after felt literally battered.

    I actually thought I had prepared pretty well, but it just seemed in most cases, that the questions of each type were longer and more involved than in the specimen or previous ones. I guess people always think this when they've had an exam go badly, but I really do think it is the truth here.

    Oh well, it's over now right? Though I keep having flashbacks about it.

    Good luck with the next one!
    Neil H

  4. Hi Chris

    38 will pass, mark my words.

    The more I think about the exam, the more I think how hard it was. Maybe not in the sense that the questions were harder but in the sense that they came at you in unexpected ways.

    We're all going to be marked up a bit.

    Good luck with the waves.