And that’s about the end of the good news. I knew I’d had a couple of less than brilliant TMA results, and one of them that didn’t get submitted do to other priorities. And the exam went less than brilliantly for me. So I’ve ended up with a Grade 3 pass, which while a pass isn’t a great pass.
I suppose I could blame it on all the long distance cycling but that’d be too easy, and wrong. The material is quite a step up from the previous 2 module as you move a lot further away from ‘applied arithmetic’ to some very new and nebulous concepts (Groups, I’m looking at you), but again that’s no real excuse as the material is pretty well presented. The only real excuse is that I just didn’t put the effort in. I’d coasted a bit through the first 2 modules and thought I could do the same with M208. So when I start MS209 in September 2012 I’ll be making a better effort to study studiously and hopefully do better on that one.
Well that was a fun day. Not feeling at my most prepared on the maths front, my fiancee off to hospital for a minor surgical procedure, and then to top it off work phones up with a Priority 1 failure of a business critical system and can I fix it. So I wasn’t in the greatest frame of mind when I sat down for the exam.
Turned the paper over and some of it looked good.
Most of section 1 looked like the past papers I’d been working on.There was only one that I didn’t attempt as I couldn’t spot anything in there and decided the time would be better spent on other questions. Though the inequality drove me crazy as I could see the answer, but the method to get there properly had disappeared.
Section 2 had an Eigenvalues/Eigenvector question, so that was great. But the rest of them looked unusual. Looks like the counting theorem question from the specimen paper is the new large cayley table question, shame I had no idea how to attempt that bit, but at least i got to draw some pretty squares for a bit. I don’t remember seeing counting theorem question in a TMA, but I’ve not been back to check conclusively. Another point for making sure to attend the Day schools.
So if you’re reading this in preparation for the 2012 M208 exam, then rely more on the specimen paper and the 2011 past paper if you can get hold of it as it looks like they’ve changed the format, which is annoying. And make sure you attend any day schools that you can, as hopefully the tutors will have been told roughly what to expect in the exam paper.
As with MS221, get really familiar with the handbook as it’s great for checking you’ve got the definitions or rules right. I added some example questions/solutions from past papers as well which made some of the explanations a bit easier to follow. I also added a few extra standard integrals/derivatives as I always panic that I’ve got them wrong, and they usually use the same standards, ie:
So having them stuffed away at the end is handy.
I’m confident I passed (>40%), but I don’t think I’ll be expecting any joyous news when the results dribble out in December. But it does mean that I’ve probably passed the module even with some not too bright TMA results. Looking forward to a bit of a break from maths now for a couple of months.
TMA07 came winging back nice and quickly. Slightly better mark than the last 2, just >70% which is good. Am reading up on the feedback while I work through past papers. Have mainly been concentrating on the Part 1 questions, I’d like to be pretty confident on those so I’ve more time for Part 2 papers.It’s shown up a few gaps in things, but I’m picking them up. Am also experimenting with different techniques, for instance with permutations I’ve found doing them long hand is quicker for me as I don’t waste time checking them. Am also getting good at finding relevant sections in the handbook.
I stupidly appear to have missed all the day schools for M208 as well, which is a very stupid thing as the MS221 ones were very handy. So far I’m getting slightly more confident that I’ll pass the exam (which will give me a pass for M208) but still not confident that I’ll pass with any great honours. So just see how it goes on the 11th.
Looking to the next course, it’s definitely going to be MST209 as M303 won’t be available for another year. Though I won’t be doing the residential school alongside it as it’s too much to pay out in one year, and it’s badly timed with regards to other real life bits (wedding, honeymoon and Mille Alba). The OU seems to have changed it’s eligibility for keeping the current fees a bit as well, so I need to check if I still qualify if I put off starting MST209 until September 2012. This would work better for the above events, and also I’m more likely to sit at home and work on it when the weather’s nasty and not conducive to an evening out on the bike.
Well TMA06 seems to have gone reasonably well. Answered everything and I’m reasonably certain about quite a few of the answers as well. Having a couple of pieces of decent length downtime to work on it helped quite a bit. It’s all LaTeXed now, so I just need to add some hboxes for the sketch graphs and I can post it off to my tutor.
Hoping this carries on with TMA07 as there’s not long to get it done (it’s due 2 weeks after TMA06). And then it’s cracking on with the revision for the Exam a month later. Need to order some past M208 exam papers as there don’t seem to be any floating around the interwebs for M208, Luckily they can be downloaded (here) so no chance of the royal mail losing them.
Pretty much decided that I’ll be doing MST209 next year. Though not sure about doing the residential school (MSXR209) as that’ll add a hefty whack to the year which I could do without (wedding’s aren’t cheap).
Found a bit of my M208 mojo’s returned with the final Analysis section. Hopefully it’ll show through in the TMA as well.
I’d not really been paying attention to the OU’s fee announcements as I’d not really twigged how much they’d be affected by the current government decision to dumb down the UK population. Like most people I can’t really afford £2500 a year to do a course for ‘fun’ and improvement. Luckily I can still get the ‘cheap’ current prices as I’m already studying and have ticked the box saying ‘working towards qualification’. But it means I have to study every year, which blows my plan of taking next year off to have a break. Though I suppose I could always find something ‘simple’ in a 20 credit point size that won’t actually occupy much time.
It’s a sad sad day when one of the greatest things to come out of the UK Higher Education system (the ability for anyone anywhere to study a HE course at any time without previous experience) is being ripped up by a purely ideological attempt to reshape the HE market by a bunch of idiots who don’t understand it. Also makes me laugh when our PM talks about building a Knowledge economy, where’s this knowledge coming from if we’re not educating our population?
Been a bit quite on the M208 front recently. Things haven’t been going so well and I’ve been busy so I’ve let things slide (it’s hard to do thing when they’re not easy!)
Got the marks back for TMA04 (Analysis A) and was a bit disappointed with the mark I got. I’d missed a couple of fundamental points and made a couple of howlers.
TMA05 is due in next week and I’m still only halfway through Book 2 on Homomorphisms and there’s still Book 3 Group Actions to go through. So it’s really starting to feel like a bit of a struggle.
And that’s not helped by the fact that I’m probably going to miss another tutorial this evening. Work’s been crazy this week (23:30 and 20:00 finishes) so i’d quite like an early night and spending some time with S before heading up to Edinburgh on Friday (and it’d be nice to get some sleep before trying to ride 600km as well)
I don’t really feel that the materials sinking in either due to the speed I’m having to cram it in, so I’m already bricking about the exam in October.
I’m going to keep on going with the course as I’m interested in the Maths, but I’m not so sure now about getting a full degree as that’ll mean trying to get good marks rather than just learning. Will have to think quite hard about wether to do another course next year (probably MST209 if anything)
One strange thing I think that’s not been helping is the fact that I’ve been cycling into work a lot more, and there’s not room in a Carradice Barley to fit an OU book and a pad of paper. I’ve got the electronic copies on my phone and PC, but it’s not easy to read them while working through exercises and flick back and forth. I can’t really justify the cost of something like a kindle/ipad to just leave at work for OU stuff or the impact of printing off the electronic copies either. Really should have got a bike with rack eyes!
Been getting a bit behind on the M208 work recently with lots of other stuff cropping up.
Got TMA03 back a couple of weeks ago, pleasantly surprised to have got 90% on it despite it being a last minute rush job. But I do find a lot of the concepts in the Linear algebra sections seem to sink in nice and quickly. Most of the marks were dropped for a couple of transcription errors, and having got fed up with row reducing so just solving from where I’d got to (getting it right, but losing marks for not using the full method).
TMA04 is due this Friday and it’s taking a while. I think it’s down to being another section where you need to be able to ‘see’ what you’re meant to be doing and I can’t always spot the basic idea. The first half is done, so hoping I can get 3+4 out of the way tonight. It’ll go in the post thursday lunchtime at the latest however much I’ve got done.
Missing 3 tutorials in a row because of other bookings probably isn’t helping either. Hopefully when I say I’ll knuckle down for the next section (back to Group Theory) I’ll actually do it.
Cutting it fine again, 48 hours should be enough time to get there :). This time it wasn’t due to lots of hand cranking, just me not pulling my finger out till the last minute. I’m finding it a lot harder to pull back some time with M208, though that could be down to just having more stuff on at the moment. I’m hoping I can force myself to speed up a bit with the Analysis A section, but we shall see.
Thankfully this TMA was reasonably straightforward. Some of the earlier questions seemed suspiciously easy until I checked the marks on offer and then it was clear they were meant to be that simple. 1 graph to sketch, but that was a nice simple one so not too much of a speed bump. The row reduction question was quite hard. I’m never sure quite which route to take. I can usually get to a point where I can solve the given equation set, but not alway to the ideal diagonal. Seems to be one of those mathematical techniques that are more of an art/insight thing. The last question helped to gel a lot of the ideas from LA5 together, though I did end up flicking through a lot of the examples to work out all the techniques involved.
Should be at an m208 tutorial tonight, but thanks to a small medical procedure tomorrow I can’t make it. That’s 2 in a row I’ve missed for various reasons. Really don’t think that’s helping me, even if I’m sort of grasping the material it’s always good to have it explained in a different way. It’s also good to get the tutors advice/view on how to lay out the answers as I think that’s one of the key things with M208, where it’s almost as much about writing in a proper mathematical way as it is getting the right answer.
In lieu of any content here’s a picture of a fern in Nottingham’s arboretum. Lots of stuff on at the moment with M208 TMA03, 2 audax gps routes to sort out (Lincolnshire Cross 200km, and “Moors and Wolds” 400km and lots of chances to spend longer than expected at work have contrived to make life a bit duller than expected. Hopefully sorting out the first 2 of those will provide some interesting posts, and unless I really want to become know for Dynamics CRM and SQL Server clustering, I’ll keep the last one to myself.
Got back from the audax on Saturday to find the familiar OU envelope waiting at home. This TMA hasn’t gone quite as well as I’d hoped. Still a decent mark, but I’m going to have to pull my socks up if I want to guarentee a decent overall mark.
Question 1 was marred by some silly mistakes
Question 2 went reasonably well. Just got confused with the labelling on my symmetrys which meant my cayley table didn’t quite match up with the previous statements. Think I’d spotted early on that was isomorphic to and just blithely copied the details across.
Question 3 wasn’t too bad. Though I just couldn’t see the subgroups in the last section
Question 4 got the original conjugation wrong, which meant all the rest were wrong, though at least I got a note that the method was right
Question 5 was the best of the TMA. Apart from some confusion between my left and right.
So not a brilliant result overall. Hpefully TMA03 will pick things up a bit, enjoying the material so far, though the matrix and simultaneous equation stuff does appear to be another lot of hand cranking.
One thing that has bugged me on the OU Maths courses has been a reliance on the Audio CDs. The DVDs seem to only be used to give a different view point to the books, and don’t really need to be watched (I’ve managed without anyway). But the Audio CDs appear to be almost compulsory, especially for M208. As someone who studies whenever they get a chance and in various locations I always let out a groan as I turn the page and suddenly find that there’s a couple of pages of ‘Audio material’ required. There are pretty sketch panels to follow, but don’t make that much sense (and, as an aside, make it really hard to read the PDF version of the materials as the orientation of the page changes).
Of course I’ve ripped the CDs and added them to the iPhone (hint to OU; could you please put the track listings on CDDB or iTunes please to make it less of a chore? I’ve put my attempts up there, so it may now be marginally easier). But again, I quite often want music to drown out the train carriage or library noise in the background rather than listening to a lecture.
So I wondered how would a deaf student cope. Which meant I discovered that hidden away in the course materials section of the module website are PDF Transcripts of all the audio CDs used in the module. Bonus. So that’s another set of PDFs downloaded so I can study anywhere.
Well that took a lot of work. Computing all the cayley tables took a fair while. I found quite a lot of the group theory stuff pretty interesting but could just not get my head around Permutation Conjugation, so that questions a bit of a wing and a prayer for some marks. Don’t think I’ve done as well as TMA01, but it should rate a pass.
Overall I’ve had mixed feelings about GTA. Groups and sets are obviously very useful and a huge topic, but at the same time it’s not always obvious exactly where things are going. Also found the reliance on Audio materials for some of the key assessed bits was very annoying. I’d have preferred a couple more concrete examples for conjugation for example.
I’ve started reading through the material for Linear Algebra and it’s looking more like my sort of thing, though a lot of it does look like it’ll be revision from MS221 with just some extra depth. Hopefully I can pick up some more slack on this one as I’m a little too close to the timetable for my liking (like to have a couple of weeks in hand just in case any real life incidents crop up).
Got the full marked copy of M208 TMA01 back in the post over the weeked. Very happy with the mark. Just dropped a few little bits and pieces with silly mistakes. Forgetting to use a dotted line for parts of being one of the more silly.
And it looks like I did get the idea of equivalence set rights and under the equivalence relationshop:
then the equivalence set for is:
Finally finished working through the Group Theory books. Takes a lot of time as there’s pleny of examples to crank through. Though building some dirty Excel hacks to generate a lot of the groups of forms and helped speed things up. There’s also a lot of proofs to work through and follow, but they have helped in working out how to write my own for the TMAs so not really wasted any time.
Going to start work on TMA02 this week, and hopefully get it finished so I can move onto the Linear Algebra section
So that’s the second half of TMA01 in the post. Almost as stressful as doing the work is getting the certificate of posting these days.
enjoyed this TMA, lots of different material covered and it really felt like a good step change from MST121/MS221 ones. Though it was quite hard to write the answers up, I was pretty confident that I’d got the ‘point’ of every question, but actually trying to put that down on paper in rigourous mathematical way wasn’t always easy. In particular proving that . I’m hoping this is just lack of practice, and from working through the Group Theory section there are lots more examples of the correct way to approach things. And our tutor’s showing us some ways of doing it as well, so that should help out.
Thre proof by induction question was reasonably simple once you’d spotted the trick to normalise everything. And I did like the contraposition question as well.
I’m not sure if I got the equivalence class bit right. I though I’d got it the right way round, but after last weeks tutorial I’m not so sure, but I couldn’t see what else it could be given the relationship.
Hopefully feedback will come through pretty quickly.
Got TMA01 part 1 back from my tutor. Pretty happy with the result, just dropped a couple of marks for a couple of dumb mistakes. TMA01 part 2 is all done bar the diagrams, so I just need to print that out and draw them. If I get a chance this afternoon I might even hand it direct to my tutor at the tutorial this evening. The only thing I’m worried about with it is the way of showing steps. We’ve been told that the M208 marking scheme is a lot more stringent on providing proofs and steps, but I’m not always sure of the official way to write them. Hopefully I’m not too far off the mark, and if I am the feedback will help for the next TMAs
Group Theory A is taking a while to plough through. All the exercises seem to take a while to plough through. And again I’m getting confused on quite how to write things out. I’ll try to do it formally and then look at the answer to find they’ve used different format. And a lack of spare lunch times at work have meant there’s been a bit less time for studying as well. Hopefully I’ll get back up to speed in the next couple of weeks.
Busily spending lunch times working through GTA1. Finally got to the end of it today. The 2 dimensional symmetry stuff was pretty easy going, the group theory had it’s moments, and the 3-dimensional symmetry in section 5 took some thinking about but was reasonably short and straightforward. The group theorems/proofs took some thinking about, but did introduce some sneaky techniques that I think I’ll squirrel away for future reference.
I did like the start of Section 5 where it said – “We shall mainly consider bounded non-planar figures with polygonal faces”, sounds like ‘not in kansas anymore toto’. And hopefully we’ll do more on the topic later on.
TMA01 is completed (both parts), but I’m glad I held off submitting part 1 early. Had the first M208 tutorial last night, and the tutor was really emphasising how critical the marking scheme for M208 is towards using the correct language and methods. So I’ve been back through part 1 today adding in a few extra notes and spelling out reasoning. But it does show one of the major step ups from MST121 and MS221. I think it’s up to scratch now, so I’lll sketch the graphs into the blank spots I’ve left and then get part 1 posted off tomorrow or Monday.
Tutorial last night was quite different from the MS221 ones last year. Didn’t get through as many example TMA questions as usual (normally the MS221 tutor would do an entire TMA in an evening), but there was more discussion about the maths and how it related to other problems. Plus being the first night there was some housekeeping and late arrivals taking up time as well. Fewer people than MS221, though the tutor did say his group was actually 30 people, so might have been down due to the late notice of the tutorial (<1 week for me).
Well that took a bit longer than expected. I3 seemed to take forever to work through all the exercises. Think I got most of it, though some of the final section on Equivalence Relationships took a couple of goes to get through. I think I was expecting there to be some nice mathematical way to write some of the answers, but they were looking for a more ‘written’ answer.
I did enjoy the complex number section, and being able to use De Moivre’s Theorem to prove:
Was quite fun, as I usually get stumped by trig formulas so it was nice to see one way of working them out that doesn’t involve triangles.
I’ll make a start on the TMA this weekend. Though I probably won’t get too far into it as we’ve got our first tutorial next wednesday, so maybe see if there’s any guidelines handed out there for formatting, etc. The MS221 tutor last year was very good for showing the amount of working we should be putting into the TMAs.
I don’t normally repost comics, but having just down the Complex number section in M208′s I3 this one particularly tickled me.
And as the assessments and the assessment schedule have been released, shit is definitely real now. The schedule doesn’t look too bad. I’m hoping I can get the first TMA done in the next week so it’s out of the way. It’s a 2 parter to let the tutor give feedback, but I think I’ll still do it as one lot to save time later. From a quick look it doesn’t look too bad, though there’s slightly too much graph sketching for my liking :).