Saturday, January 15, 2011


OK so exams are drawing ever nearer. I've upped the pace on revision a bit, but I suspect not enough. Things are starting to click into place but, as soon as I look at past papers I'm forced into a state of panic!

So, why, you may ask I am I updating my blog when I have serious amounts of revision to be done? I think procrastination may be the answer to that question, although having just spent the last hour asleep I'm doing well at avoiding looking at all things spectroscopy!

Currently I am going over everything that we have learnt in F12QCS so that I can answer the section A questions. These are short answer questions, and should be easier to do, however they do not publish the section A questions from past papers so it is difficult to know what they might ask.

The long answer questions from the last 5 years are, on the hand, published for all students to see. Having studied these out of 4 questions (2 from each half of the module), we must answer 2 (1 from each half). And every year 1 question from each half has been almost identical. I am therefore going to put as many revision hours into these topics as possible (that said...they changed the format of the papers in our 1st year exams so that tactic did not pay off!). Again, why, you might ask, am I not just learning model answers for these?

The answer is simple. They do not publish answers, this is fine for 1 half of the module. Just about everything ever asked is well documented in our notes from the lectures. At the time many (I was not one of these people) questioned our lecturers abilities in teaching, but everyone is now thankful as for the spectroscopy half of our module all of our 8 hours of lecture notes seem to contain is some indecipherable equations, which may help gain a few marks but there is nothing at all to answer the more wordy questions, or most of the maths related questions either. So are we all destined to fail? I am going to say no and take confidence that the same professor has taught spectroscopy for many years and it doesn't like like fail rates for this module are any higher than the others so perhaps previous years of students have struggled right up until this stage, and suddenly, they've had a breakthrough. That's what I'm banking on anyway!

Training update: Did my first training ride this morning with my new riding buddy. Our easy 30 miler, turned into 40 miles, seemingly all into a head wind or a crosswind. I'm not going to lie, it was difficult, where my partner was riding along with ease and was almost frustrated by me I was only just managing to keep the pedals turning. Despite this, when I got home I felt good. Legs and lungs seem fine. In fact the only thing that seems to be suffering is my fingers. When 10 miles out and 10 miles back are in the city and the outskirts there is a lot of braking to be done, and road bike brakes definitely do not compare to the hydraulic discs on my mountain bike. And, being the "cheap" ones, I can't adjust the levers so my poor little fingers are having to stretch to reach them. I think a few upgrades are necessary when I get some spare money - I want new brakes (or at least levers) and I think the drivetrain needs some well as something a bit more lightweight (currently running Sora), I think a couple of teeth smaller up front might help me as I spend a lot of time in the big ring at the front, but too far up the block on the back than is probably healthy for the chain (but find that in these scenarios the small ring up front is just too small)!

Back out on the road next saturday. Bring on summer racing I think!

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