I wasn’t expecting to get this assignment back for at least a week, since the cut-off date was only three days ago – my tutor must be very efficient indeed! I almost couldn’t open the envelope, though; I’m enjoying MS221 a lot, and I’m hoping to do a lot more maths in the future, so a low score on this first TMA would have left me feeling really crushed. But thankfully it was a nice 98%, hooray!

My tutor gave me some good, detailed feedback which was along the lines of:

  1. Don’t include so much unnecessary detail.
  2. Check results carefully to avoid silly slips.
  3. Draw diagrams, as they can help with your understanding of the problem.

Point (2) is a very familiar bit of advice, as I seem to make ridiculous slips in most of my courses, but point (1) really surprised me – I’ve always worried about not including enough detail. But it seems that there’s no need to be quite so longwinded about showing my working for MS221, which will certainly save me a lot of time in the other TMAs, and especially in the exam!

Point (3) is advice that I often give to Alex about his courses, but I have trouble actually following the advice myself. I don’t know whether it’s just that I find thinking visually/geometrically difficult, but I’m generally a bit reluctant to draw diagrams, even if it would help clarify the problem. I suppose it will get easier with practice, though.

And speaking of diagrams, I was very pleased to see that I got full marks for my hand-drawn ellipse diagrams – so their wobbly, lemony appearance didn’t really matter after all!