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Blog Computing Science - Networked Communications Technology 4 18/May/2005

Every exam thus far has sent me home in something of a dazed state, in no particular mood to do anything. Today was an exception. I was so hyped up that I launched into a ninety-minute piano session. By the end of it, only the best of the Lightning Seeds remained unplayed in my repertoire.

What sort of exam could explain this behaviour? Surely not today's NCT4 paper; more likely the litre of Coke that I imbibed afterwards.

Question 1 was designed to test our coursework knowledge. My Ethernet site isn't available on the public web, unfortunately, but, if it were, you'd be able to gain knowledge about the ubiquitous technology, whether you were a third year university student or a seasoned network engineer. The question about Gigabit Ethernet was a little surprising, but then there was little precedent.

As far as the tutorial questions go, they were indeed drawn from the three question sets. Perhaps chastened by his experience in the tutorial, Lewis deigned to specify the breadth of the Atlantic Ocean—it was, after all, a networking exam, and not a test of geography—but this was a disappointment, as I had spent a good few hours learning the diameters of all major seas. (Though I wouldn't rule out it coming in handy in the DBIT pub quiz tomorrow.) The question on double buffering still jarred, since I don't recall the topic ever coming up in the lectures, but at least we had the answers in advance.

Question 2 was about signals and modulation. Standardly, AM, FM and PM were covered, along with ASK, FSK and PSK and a little digression on spectra (which strayed a little close to expecting Fourier-understanding for my total liking). A problem-solving style question rounded off the question, which was, on the whole, quite fair.

Question 3 was totally about ATM. Ugh. Choosing it as the lesser of two evils, I managed to get something down for each of the parts. Massive props must go to Gary, who orally posed question 3(d) to me outside the exam hall, and then told me the answer. Cheers, dude!

Question 4 was about modems. A topic that seemed to come up in just about every lecture, and yet which covered a mere three slides in the whole course. I reckoned that any decisions about whether a protocol is synchronous or asynchronous could best be decided by a coin toss, and didn't fancy those odds. So I gave it a miss.

Here's a talking point: are this year's exams all harder than last years? Note that I'm perfectly prepared for the balance to be redressed on Monday….




Neil said:
Hmm, cancel my last.

Neil said:
Cheers, D.. that's how I hoped it would be. Until I realised I had been taking my GPA from last session's results sheet as Gospel. Recalculating on the 20 point scale (despite not knowing actual bands) is rather more favourable.

Derek said:
One clarification: don't forget to double your PSD3 grade points in the third year calculation.

Derek said:
Hopefully I can clear up the uncertainty about GPAs. The GPA that is calculated on the 16-point scale, and which appears on our transcripts does not affect our degree classification. Instead, every course (and, theoretically, every piece of coursework but only AI4 has used the new convention) is scored on a scale of 0 to 20.

An A is worth 18 to 20 points; a B is worth 15 to 17 points; a C is worth 12 to 14 points; a D is worth 9 to 11 points; an E is worth 6 to 8 points; an F is worth 3 to 5 points; a G is worth 1 or 2 points; and a no-credit is worth 0 points.

When all our exam results are in, our points are totalled as follows. Points for each 10-credit module are counted once, and points for our project are multiplied by 2.5. These points are totalled, divided by 10.5, and account for 60% of our final grade.

There is no special weighting at level 3, so sum the points for each module, counting the project as double, and divide by twelve. This accounts for 40% of our final grade.

The number that results from this can determine our degree classification. If the resulting points total corresponds to an A, you get a first; to a B, you get a 2:1; to a C a 2:2; and to a D a third. If your score lies between a band, then it is at the discretion of the exam board what classification you receive.

Hope this helps.

Gary Fleming said:
A fairly middling exam, with a lot of sting style questions. Not terrible, but not great.

I wish I could take full credit for the ATM question, but Mark and I were asking questions to each other beforehand and that just happened to come up. Lucky.





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