Well here we are, at the end of our first semester of university and sadly they are going to come with a whopping huge test every single time; we’ll learn to get used to such a fast-paced course. I think I’ve studied moderately well for each of my four subjects, considering how much interest I have in each of them. I still keep wondering what mark I should be aiming for, whether I should try for 100% like I normally do; or just be content with an average mark like a majority of people. I still feel like “nerding” up and it does make it hard to talk to people who have the whole “Oh my gosh I am literally going to fail!” thing to say. I can’t say I’m even close to failing, and I can’t say I’m close enough for a 95%+ mark, but there is so much room in between.
Nevertheless a mark is a mark, and it’s what you feel about it yourself that matters. My first day of exams was Monday; and as a worst case scenario, I had two exams; morning and afternoon. Think back to the HSC and you’ll see just how stressful it was to have two exams on the same day, because in truth that’s a total of 5 examination hours for the day; and that takes heaps of energy right?
Anyway, on Monday I set my alarm to 6am, the earliest I’ve had to wake in a week; and my body was certainly not ready to take on such punishment so soon. I rushed to make breakfast and pack everything; all without my mum’s help (because she’s still in Hong Kong) and I was nearly late for my train. My first issue was not knowing how to get to my examination venue, Randwick Racecourse. I know it’s next to our uni but then you can’t really just walk through uni to get there, there had to be a special bus; luckily I managed to find out in time haha.
Bad omen for the morning was that I forgot where my second was; and only later realizing it was back at uni, forgot that I needed to find a way back from the racecourse to uni. Some good luck that came was meeting up with Jess, Nat, Isabella and Charmaine on the train and having a half-intense cram session; we were by far the loudest in our car, but it was certainly justified. We sort of got a lot of stuff learned; poor Nat just moped the entire way with her pessimistic “I’m so screwed” attitude.
Our exam was to start at 8:45am, that is so early and we also had to make sure we got there on time; that meant catching an earlier train and getting on the bus as soon as we could. The bus that we wanted to get to the racecourse was really packed; we had to stand around for a while before we could actually get a bus, which sucked a bit.
We managed to get to the racecourse moderately early but we still had a good 10+ minutes to find our friends and have a last minute encouragement.
Exam 1: ACCT1501
Course: Accounting & Financial Management 1A
Randwick Racecourse was a fairly large venue, but luckily all the exams were held roughly in the same vicinity, just buildings, like the “Tea House” which was easily marked by the toilets on the side haha! We were in the pavilion, it was a fairly huge room; not bad for an exam to be held.
The exam was three hours in length, I wasn’t sure if we needed that much time, but if we did, I knew I had to take it slow. Main reason was that I had to play conservatively so that I would still have enough mental energy for my second exam today; I learned from my mistake during the trials, when I fully died for Chemistry in the afternoon and got 67% for it. So here it was smart to sacrifice a few marks if they were just too hard to achieve.
The exam consisted of 5 questions on five different topics, all divided into small sections, and then 30 multiple choice questions. Having said that, I had a look at the past papers from several years back and they looked really scary; so scary I felt like I would’ve failed if our final exam this year was just like it. Luckily it was not, the exam was moderately easy compared to what I expected and so I went through it. I messed up one question because I obviously didn’t know it; a lot of people did, it was on like the last thing we learned so fair enough; also fair that they would’ve asked a question on it.
Basically we had to give our answers mostly through calculations or just writing journal entries, there were 3 short response questions for one chunk of he exam but other than that everything else was short answer or calculations. The multiple-choice questions were about the same as the mid-session ones, same old tricks; same pathetic “non of the above” answers. I really despise those options because they are meant to be obviously wrong. And yet we realised that three of our answers was exactly “none of the above”, who would’ve thought that they were serious about putting that option in?
I walked out of the exam a 2 hours in, didn’t really check over my answers too in-depth; wanted to conserve energy so I just closed my mind and walked out of the exam room; that gave me one-hour to chill, with nobody, although some other people were also waiting outside; finishing their exams early. I studied for my second exam for a while until I got tired. I think I did well for accounting; I can estimate how many marks I’ll lose; hopefully I’ll still be in the High Distinction range; and don’t say it’s a high ambition, I just know that I can achieve it, and that’s why I try to.
Exam 2: MATH1081
Course: Discrete Mathematics
After the exam I found Yitian and a few other people who were doing Discrete Maths and we walked back to uni; luckily I asked Victor and Ben, otherwise…well…nevermind; nothing ultra-bad could’ve happened right? We had lunch and after revising a bit, our 1 hour 45 minute break passed by in a flash.
We were privileged to have our Discrete Maths exam in the beautiful Scientia building; the bad thing was that the chairs and tables were dodgy so that balances everything out. Oh and I forgot; about calculators, we needed to have them approved by the university first; just asking some people to slap on a simple sticker that said: “UNSW Approved”. What purpose does that serve? Couldn’t we just slap that sticker onto another calculator for “cheating”? If that even is possible? Also we were fairly confident that we weren’t allowed calculators in this exam, the website said so and yet when we asked the guys guarding the entrance they said okay.
The Discrete Maths paper is two hours long, consisting of four huge questions split into a few smaller ones. I have to admit I got stumped by a few questions and after discussing with people afterwards, I realised that I made a lot of stupid mistakes, as expected. This will hurt my final mark a bit; I’ll be lucky to still be in the 90%+ range; hopefully I will be. I guess I under-estimated how hard the paper would be; after all, this course is so much easier than Actuarial Maths; and I’ve been so overly confident that I’ve skipped a fair number of lectures; guess I was wrong huh?
But even so, I sort of realise now that Mathematics is a fairly large subject, and it can be divided into various “concentrations” such as Algebra and Calculus. But Discrete Maths is like the study of random maths things which you can’t really apply for anything else. Like you learn simple Algebra in year 7 and you use those concepts up to year 12, like that. With Discrete Maths, I’m not sure you can take the concepts we learned and apply them elsewhere. We learned stuff like “Counting – Permutations/Combinations” again and then we played with weird things like “Graphs” which are a bunch of lines and dots; quite a strange course really.
But all in all I think I was fairly alert for this exam, trying to conserve energy since accounting, maybe my performance was still hindered by my fatigue from earlier today; but oh well; what’s done is done and I felt like I did the exam all right.
It is still kind of annoying to have two exams on our first exam day for university; never would’ve expected such pressure to come so soon. But now that’s half my exams done, that’s something to be proud about.