Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oral examinations

In Sydney we had only written examinations, so it has been an interesting experience to conduct oral exams. One gets to know the students better. It is possible to follow a line of questioning. Perhaps the results are not so objective: it is very difficult to have a marking scheme and give an evaluation to three decimal places. Usually however after 5 minutes one has a very good idea of the ability and preparation of the student.

Two comments after this month's exams.

One good student came prepared to tell me one of my theorems was mistaken. He had checked in two different ways. It took 15 minutes to follow his calculations and find that he had made a trivial copying error which vitiated both calculation. He got a very good result.

I asked the mathematics students what careers they wanted: the females had in mind to be high school teachers, and the males geniuses.

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