T Nation

Tough U's

What is some of the stuff your university does to be brutal? In my math dept, the lower-level courses have multiple-choice exams because so many people have to take them & they’re easy to mark. The problem is the correct answer isn’t one of the choices you have, there’s a list of #s to choose from & you pick the closest. eg if your answer is 3.4, pick 3 not 4. In 1st yr computer science, the finals are out of 200 or something, so it takes a lot to get full marks or do really well.

It’s not nearly as hard as the real world brother. Not nearly as hard. Go through the toughest program you can handle. IT will be about 50% of the real world. I started out as math. Dropped it in year two. Graduated with a degree in Finance and Classical literature minor. Best thing that ever happened to me. Have had a great career in the investment field. It’s all numbers. Work hard now. Live large the rest of your life. It will pay off. Keep the end in sight.

I’m about to graduate in comp sci, and it’s funny, but my hardest comp sci tests that I’ve taken were in high school in an AP comp sci course. Granted, I go to a crappy comp sci school, but the tests I took in high school were brutal. They were about half multiple choice and half coding. The multiple choice questions were the tough part. Typically A through G or so with A, B, C, and D being answers, and the others being “all of the above”, “none of the above”, “A & B”, “A & C”, “B & D”, etc. He would first ask a question one way, so that you had a 50% chance of getting it if you didn’t know it cold, and then he’d ask it in reverse on the next question, so guessing was essentially useless. But it prepared our class well. I took the AP exam and got a 5, and I really don’t think I missed a question. I know I didn’t on the SAT, but that’s another matter.

I know, I’ve got Bill Gates’ rules on my computer somewhere. He says some school have gotten rid of failing grades (because it sounds politically incorrect I guess), but real life hasn’t. If you don’t know something, you don’t get another chance, you get fired & that’s it. I was just wondering about other Us that’s all. Also @ mine, if you send a test/assignment back to get regraded, they could either give you more points or see a mistake they made somewhere with the grading & take marks off. I’ve never heard of any other place doing that.

Polytechnic University in Brooklyn does a few brutal things. Science test are multiple choice, thing is there are like 20 choices. So if you round off somewhere, you’re screwed as the choices will be like: 3.454, 3.456, 3.457.

the school was hard up for money a while ago(not much has changed) and as a coincidnece, they noticed that too many people were passing math. So to kill 2 birds with one stone, they started failing kids on purpose so they’d have to take math over and over again. That’s just speculation, It may or may not be true, but its what many students say.

the most brutal thing my school does is having a school thats only 20% girls, now that’s brutal.

My school is pitiful, there’s a litany of other problems that make the entire college experience brutal, but nobody needs to hear about it.

Any multiple choice exam that has A through E and includes “All the above” and/or “None of the above” in every question is a pain in the ass. Also, a lot of teachers like to put “choose the BEST answer”, meaning some questions will have more than one answer but one of them is more right. I currently have a teacher that tests straight out of the book reading (usually 350 pages a test) and the lectures make up about 10% of the test. By lecture I mean power point slides. I’ve also had teachers who will put a question on the test and the only way to get it right would be to guess or have read that sentence out of 350 pages of reading. Trick questions are also a pain in the ass. I could go on…

I’m a dual major in astrophysics and applied math. Like an idiot, I decide to take a junior level psychology course as a social science elective. I had to miss a midterm because I had to be in court that day, and I told the professor beforehand, she told me she’d allow me to make it up if I called her before 4p.m. that day. I call her at 11 a.m. that same day; lo and behold, she took the day off and had her gsa procter the exam, and didn’t allow me to make it up. That, and I can’t understand more than half my professors due to heavy German or Chinese accents. I’m so sick of undergrad!!

I have a professor that does that same thing. We took a test, which, after the curve, over half of the undergrads (12 of us) and grads (24 of them) failed. He said that if we had problems with the grading of the question that we could bring it to him, but he reminded us to be “prudent”, because he reserved the right to regrade the entire test, as he would want to make sure that everything else was graded correctly (i.e. in case he missed something that we had gotten wrong).

Also in computer science, they don’t let anyone write the final exams unless they’re getting better than 40% in the course.

Yo, Hedo. How different is finance than math? I am a math major too, but it becoming increasingly abstract and dogmatic. Plus, I hear math majors mostly become statisticians and teacher, both seemingly boring and poorly paying. Thanks for reading my post.

Go here www.ams.org/careers/archived.html

Your school can only be as hard as the students are willing to work and study, and to a certain extent how smart they are. The most competitive students make the grade harder to achieve. This mainly depends on the specific class, major, and to a lesser extent the school.

I once had a calculus teacher say we will have between 2 and 5 midterms and they will be on random Wednesdays throughout the year. We’d show up each Wednesday wondering if we had a midterm or not, but never knew until class started.

Mine requires 4 “area IV’s,” which are upper-level classes that must be completed but are outside your major’s division. Example: English major (humanities)->a 3000 level History, Science, or Art class. It sucks. Remember, 4 of these.

Engineering was a brutal undergrad. Our University had a freshman class called “Technological Survival”. It consisted of in depth study of a new (unrelated )topic every week. First week would be vector calculus, the second week would be redox reactions, third week would be accoustics with the end of the week test question (only one question on the test) asking for the rough design of an accoustically correct auditorium, etc. The entire purpose of this class was to throw as many random science and math based problems at you as possible to weed out the aspiring engineers. Over half of the class that started out as engineers switched their majors after that semester.

Most of our tests were so difficult that a passing grade was usually about a 35 out of 100. The professors in the engineering department were very big on having the students intuitively apply what was learned to questions posed on the test dealing with situations we had never seen before.

As far as multiple choice tests with 200 questions are concerned, that seems better to me. You can miss 20 questions and still get a 90%. On a test with only one question, it only takes one mistake to fail.

The odd thing about engineering is that for all of your hard work and long hours spent studying abstract ideas, you won’t really wind up being rich. The guys that took the business courses (not that it was a cake major, I just always found the classes to be easier cause they were less abstract and there was less outside-of-class work involved) had trouble finding good jobs straight out of College, but once they got into a company, their raises and oppurtunites for promotion could quickly propel them beyond my earning potential. The thing about engineering jobs is that they are ALWAYS available and they’re much more secure than jobs in the business sector.

Just my .02 -