Category: Exams


I had to read and re-read this a few times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, but it turns out that I’ve somehow managed 80% on the M366 exam! And even more luckily, it seems that the examining board were in a particularly lenient mood, since they’ve decided that my overall course result is a Distinction, rather than the Pass 2 that it should technically have been. I’m overjoyed – I really thought I’d either fail or scrape a Pass 4 for this course. It’s a huge relief to know that I won’t have to resit the exam, or substitute a different Level 3 Computing course into my diploma and degree. Phew!

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Surprisingly, I managed to scrape a distinction with 87% in the exam, along with an Overall Continuous Assessment Score of 94% – I’m so relieved that I won’t have to resit this exam, and to be honest I was expecting a Pass 3 or maybe a Pass 4. Well done to everyone who sat the exam, and I hope you all got the grades you wanted!

The MS221 exam was this afternoon, so I’m now officially done with both of this year’s courses! I think Part 1 of the exam went well, but Part 2 was a lot more challenging than I expected – I went for the “volume of revolution” question and the one involving propositional logic and proof by induction, neither of which went as well as I’d hoped. So I think I’ll be looking at a Pass 2 or maybe a Pass 3 for this exam, depending on how many silly arithmetic errors I made. Hopefully I’ll get a better grade for MS221 than for M366, at least!
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The exam is over, and I think it went okay, but I’m not at all confident that I’ll have passed this one – hopefully the results will be released around the start of December like they were last year, I’ll be very interested to find out whether I’ve managed to scrape a Pass 4! Anyway, now that it’s over and done with, it’s time for a good navelling-gazing session about M366 as a whole…
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Although I’d recommend using the Black Badge Press solution booklet for MS221 revision, since it’s more detailed, I thought I’d upload the other solution documents that I’ve managed to collect over the last few months, in case anyone wants them:

https://catbear.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/ms221_97_sols.pdf
https://catbear.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/ms221_98_sols.pdf
https://catbear.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/ms221_99_sols.pdf
https://catbear.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/answers-ms221-2003.pdf
https://catbear.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/answers-ms221-2004.pdf
https://catbear.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/answers-ms221-2005.pdf
https://catbear.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/answers-ms221-2006.pdf
https://catbear.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/answers-ms221-2007.pdf
https://catbear.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/2008-ms221-answers.pdf

Happy revising, everyone!

I can’t believe it’s only 3 weeks until the M366 exam! This course has really dragged at times, but now that I’m into the revision period the days are just flying by! This week I’ve been making notes on the learning outcomes for each block, and trying to condense my notes as much as possible. There’s something very satisfying about squashing a nine-month course into a nine-page Word document!

I’ve been doing some MS221 revision this weekend too – I decided to have a go at Part 1 of the 2007 past paper, and I was interested to see that the questions don’t completely conform to the pattern in the 2008 paper. I was particularly blind-sided by the appearance of a question on combinations/permutations and binomial coefficients, since I’d forgotten they were actually covered in Chapter B1.

With MS221, I’ve mostly been concentrating on getting faster at answering questions – there are 12 questions in Part 1 of the exam, and I’m aiming to spend 2 hours on that bit, so I need to be able to do each short question in about 10 mins. So far, I’m fast enough when it comes to my favourite topics (Block D, I love you!), but in my weakest areas I have to spend far too long flipping through the Handbook and scratching my head.

In an attempt to speed the process up, I’m putting together a kind of condensed version of my most frequently-used bits of the Handbook, so that I can transcribe it into the blank front page of the actual book and take it into the exam. It’s going to be quite a challenge to hand-write all these notes into the Handbook, but hopefully it’ll allow me to spend more time puzzling over the actual questions and less time flicking through the book. And it’ll give me an opportunity to use my many colourful gel-pens – my Handbook will probably be the most gaudy book in the exam hall!

My tutor very kindly sent me a solution document for the past paper from 2008, so this morning I’ve been working through the my first ever practice exam for a maths course! I was quite curious to see what the exam paper was like, since all the exams I’ve taken with the OU so far have been in computing/programming. Luckily it seems like maths exam papers follow roughly the same pattern that the computing exams do – about a dozen short questions, one for each course unit, and then a few longer questions that require combinations of techniques from various units. And nicely, you only have to do two out of the four longer questions available, so I’m happy to say that I’ll be able to avoid at least some of the graph-sketching questions!

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I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d ended up with a Pass 2 or Pass 3 for this one, to be honest, so I was very relieved to see that I got 90% for the exam, and 98% for the continuous assessment. I’m so glad it’s a distinction – I was beginning to worry that I’d need to either retake M257 or substitute another course in its place (which would have entailed changing degree programmes, since M257 is compulsory for B14).

Alex’s results for S104 were released today too – he’s managed an awesome 92% for the ECA, and 79% for the continuous assessment. I’m so proud of him, and very relieved as it means that he’s definitely going to carry on studying with the OU in future. I would have been quite sad if we’d gone back to being a single-student household!

Anyway, well done to everyone who got their results through today – I hope you all got the grades you wanted!

M257 wrap-up

Well, the exam was yesterday afternoon, and overall I think it went OK. There were a couple of questions in Part 1 that I hadn’t done enough revision for, but I made a concerted effort to proofread, proofread and proofread some more, so hopefully I’ll have avoided most of the silly errors I made in the practice papers.

With M257 out of the way, I’m now going to be concentrating entirely on MS221 and M366, and the rest of this evening is going to be spent getting reacquainted with differentiation – I’ve missed doing maths so much during these last few weeks, I could almost kiss my course books! (Though that wouldn’t be a great idea hygiene-wise, considering how dusty they are…)

This week I’ve been typing up my attempted solutions for the M257 past papers so that I can post them in the course forum, and I’m really glad I did type them up – I spotted quite a few silly errors in the process of transcribing them! I’m still not hugely confident of my answers, but I thought I’d upload them to the blog as well, in case anyone would find them useful. Here are my attempted solutions for the three past papers:

If you spot any mistakes, please let me know in the comments (although once the exam is over on the 17th I might not be particularly speedy about correcting them!).