Monday, August 27, 2007

What's da Point?

Just came back from my first paper of mid sem test - Biostatistics.

Some of my friend didn't buy the Introductory Statistics book which was suggested by my lecturer, Dr. Ismarul. I bought the book. The book has more explaination, examples and exercises. I studied the lecture notes. I studied the book, and tried out some of the questions in the book as well. I made sure I understand the over-simplified lecture notes because our just-graduated lecturer said formula will not be given. Hence, as the saying goes, the best way to memorize a formula is by understanding it.

I put a little extra effort to understand the (new)formula and also revise back the standard deviation, variance and etc formula which we've learnt during SPM. Why work extra hard? Because it's a 50-objective-questions-only paper, which means it's such a relieve compared to other 3-credit-hours subjects. Sooo gonna do well in it, don't I?

During exam, I didn't complain that there weren't much questions which required us to do calculation. I even scolded myself for forgetting the exact formula for variance (again). I managed to use my "understanding" to solve the problem for me during my SPM. I thought it wouldn't be a big problem for this time too.

I was wrong.

I calculated, and calculated, and calculated. It didn't work. Out of 4 options, none suited my answer. Don't make me hate maths more ok. I've tried my best to understand it.

The same goes to the Confidence Interval application questions which exact formula I managed to remember after I worked it out throughout the morning before exam.

I tried to calm down. Here's the standard deviation; here's the number of sample, n. Divide the standard devation by the square root of n then times the answer with the given Z value. OK, OK, copy down the value first... till I found the final answer, it wasn't in the options. The same goes to another similiar question. That's the only formula I know and taught by the lecturer! But previously there was another similiar question yet with the same method I managed to get the answer in first attempt. What's wrong??

I saw no one having doubt towards this situation (OK, basically I wouldn't know if one was wondering the same question as me in the exam hall because I didn't pay attention to other people in the hall). The lecturer also didn't make any announcement regarding this "uncalculatable" question. I thought the problem should be on my side. I kept my head down and did the calculation all over again, and again.

Finally, I decided I'm not going to let this question get me. A mark is a mark. I raised my hand up and caught Prof Baha's attention. I asked him. And he said:

"Oh, this question is a bonus. You can just pick any option, we'll give it as bonus."

Jaw dropped.

Not even an announcement regarding this? And I was there torturing my calculator for the answer...poor thing.

What's the point, you see. Put the question there and I thought it was suppose to differentiate those who do understand the knowledge from those who don't. At the end of the day, it's like they don't care if you've worked the formula out or understand what they taught us in class or not. Both parties still get the marks anyway. And I'm not saying for only one question, there were 3 of them!

Fine. It's over now. Coming up next is Biologi Molekul Asas and Integratif Diagnosis. Lord, may you bless me with good health throughout this exam week, and good memory too. Amen!

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