Saturday, December 13, 2008

And the Big Three are Over

I'm of course referring to the big three exams that I had this term. These courses are Electricity and Magnetism (Phys 241), Calculus 3 (Math 227), and Quantum 1 (Phys 234). Now normally these could be quite the difficult exams to do well in. Given a good amount of time between each exam, it would be possible to do well in all 3. Sadly this wasn't the case with my schedule this year. Each one was right after the other, with E&M on Thursday, Calculus on Friday, and Quantum was this morning. This is why I haven't done more typing here due to not even having the time to properly study for the big three.

Lets start off with E&M. This course is basically what wrecked the big three more so than the exam schedule-ers. Our professor did a terrible job teaching the course. By the end of lectures, I looked back and realized that I have no idea what was going on. I spent hours just trying to figure out what was going on. If we had been taught properly in the first place I would have been able to do proper studying for this course, and devote more time to not E&M. I'm not trying to blame any of my poor performance on other people as I should have taken the time earlier in the year to get E&M right.

The part that aggravates me the most about this E&M issue is that people that didn't go to class did better over all. Why? Well they remembered that MIT has recordings of their lectures available for free on the internet. So instead of going to class they would use that time to listen to the professor from MIT talk about E&M. Not only did they learn what was going on, but they actually learned more as their course covers more material. Oh well.

Next was calculus. This one I really hope that I did moderately well on. This is because I almost failed calculus 2 last year. Being I got a 50% in the course. Yeah. So anyways, the exam went *alright* but, once again, if I had more a gap from E&M, I would have been able to be much more prepared. Our calculus professor was amazing. He did plenty of examples, and always did a great job of keeping our attention, especially with the class being at 8:30am. If I had the option to take one of my courses by him, I would pick him in a heart beat.

When I got back last night, I had only a few hours left in the day to study for quantum. Not only that, but I still had to do the course "task" where I had to find an example in a quantum physics book that related to the course, type it up, then submit it (along with a few lines of discussion) via the online website in pdf form. So that cut down on the time given even further.

When I sat down at the exam (9am by the way), I took a look at the questions.
  1. This had to do with expectation values of a mixed state source. Construct the bloch vector, find expectation values, bla bla bla. This type of question was done very poorly on average by the class in the midterm, so I knew that it was going to be on the final. Because of that, I'm fairly certain that I got it perfect.
  2. Here you had to do some work with a time dependent harmonic oscillator in an infinite potential well. I had no idea at all what do to. I basically left it blank.
  3. I totally called this one the night before. It was a potential step function (which was obviously going to be on the final), but instead of going from V=0 to V=Vo, it was the other way around. It was one of the few options that we didn't do in class or on assignments so I figured that this was going to be the case on the final. Assuming I didn't make any stupid mistakes, I completely owned it.
  4. Hamiltonian and time dependency question. No idea what was going on, but I made some educated guesses and some *non-educated* ones just to get as much written down as I could.
I'm sure you can see why I'm disappointed in myself. With even just one extra day after calculus I would have been able to review so much more of quantum that I could have aced the entire exam. That said I loved the course. Fascinating material. The professor did a good job, but not nearly enough examples in class, and sometimes we wouldn't cover the assignment material until the week after that assignment was due. Oh well.

Well now that the majority my exams are done with, I'm heading out in just a few minutes to go to a waffle party. Mmm waffles. Just one exam left to go, being my database class next friday. The exam should be a cakewalk.

Well I don't think that I should let Claire wait for me any more, so I'm going to wrap this up. I have a lot to type about last year still (like the adventure with my first and second roommate...mainly the first).

Until next time! Here's to hoping that I passed everything! *cheers*

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