I did the MT262 exam this afternoon, so today my official C++ studies have drawn to a close. I will miss the course, even with its emphasis on formal design, but I have to say I’m really looking forward to getting back to Java with M257.

The exam itself was quite straightforward, at least compared to the 2006 and 2007 past papers. I only had to consult the handbook once (for a question about writing/reading from files -always a weak spot with me, even in Java!), and thankfully I wasn’t required to sketch any GUI diagrams! Though I did bring a pencil and ruler just in case.

As always, just attending the exam was a learning experience in itself. I won’t be doing another one until June 2009, but I’m going to list my top tips for next time in this post, so I can refer back to it next year:

  • Three hour exams (at least for computing-related subjects) take me about 1 hour 45 mins, so I need to make allowances for leaving about an hour earlier than I’m technically supposed to – especially for afternoon exams, the timing of which means that I’m travelling home during the post-work commuting rush hour.
  • I really don’t need a 750ml bottle of water for a three-hour exam. In fact, one of those tiny child-size 250ml bottles probably would have sufficed.
  • I do however need a 500ml bottle of Pepsi, to be chugged in about 30 secs on the bus back.
  • As lovely as they are, finepoint pens like this one make a faint but noticeable (and probably very annoying) scratching sound when I write quickly. Gel pens are the way to go, and some kind of ballpoint/biro is definitely necessary for filing in the desk record slip (due to the carbon-copy paper stuff). So far, the Pentel Energel Original is my favourite pen for exams and handwritten notes – I should get some of these in stock next September, reading for the revision period.
  • The exam room (the Hallamshire Suite at Hillsborough Stadium) was a lot warmer than I expected; it was about 17°C today, and in the exam room it was way too hot for a hooded top. Must be all the nervous heat generated by the students!

So, now I can start giving M257 my full attention. Well, from tomorrow, that is. Tonight my attention will be divided between Alex, Dexter, and Lego Batman!

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