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exams or essays

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    what's the easiest assessement method ? exams or essays.
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    I prefer exams.
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    In my final year as an undergrad student we had exams in which we had to write essays as well.
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    Exams without unseen elements, i.e. that ask you to regurgitate stuff from the lectures, are the easiest in the sense that you can prepare for them. But it takes a lot of effort to memorize things, especially if you don't have any interest in them.
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    (Original post by Ghost6)
    Exams without unseen elements, i.e. that ask you to regurgitate stuff from the lectures, are the easiest in the sense that you can prepare for them. But it takes a lot of effort to memorize things, especially if you don't have any interest in them.
    One should not be getting these types of questions at master's level though!
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    (Original post by sj27)
    One should not be getting these types of questions at master's level though!
    From what I gather these type of questions are common in mathematics and physics, but the lectures are so hard that it already is a challenge to understand them, let alone remember them. In fact theoretical questions like these seem to be more common in advanced classes where computations become unimportant. How you are assessed it very subject-dependent to be honest.
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    Examss!!!1
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    (Original post by alleycat393)
    In my final year as an undergrad student we had exams in which we had to write essays as well.
    I think OP meant exams or coursework.Of course,you have to write essays for exams,at GCSE never mind A-Level or University, but coursework essays,generally have to be a lot longer.
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    (Original post by Dalek1099)
    I think OP meant exams or coursework.Of course,you have to write essays for exams,at GCSE never mind A-Level or University, but coursework essays,generally have to be a lot longer.
    Oh yeah! All seems so long ago now.
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    Essays! I learn so much more with an essay, and it tends to stick a lot better, whereas exam guff is in my head and out the day after the exam!

    I though I'd be over exams when I hit postgrad but oh no no no, I was mistaken as I seem to have quite a few next year!
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    (Original post by Ghost6)
    From what I gather these type of questions are common in mathematics and physics, but the lectures are so hard that it already is a challenge to understand them, let alone remember them. In fact theoretical questions like these seem to be more common in advanced classes where computations become unimportant. How you are assessed it very subject-dependent to be honest.
    Route learning/bookwork only makes up ~30% of a question in maths/physics. The rest is usually a problem solving aspect where you have to apply what you know to an unfamiliar problem. This is the hard part.
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    Are the two not one and the same for a majority of the population?

    My exams have been essays for the past three years.
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    (Original post by Nichrome)
    Route learning/bookwork only makes up ~30% of a question in maths/physics. The rest is usually a problem solving aspect where you have to apply what you know to an unfamiliar problem. This is the hard part.
    That sounds similar to the econometrics exams I did at MSc level then.


    (Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
    Are the two not one and the same for a majority of the population?

    My exams have been essays for the past three years.
    I assumed OP was referring to the difference between coursework essays (which for us at least counted as part of our final mark) and exam essays. I found coursework essays nicer to do, obviously, as you have the luxury of some time for researching properly, re-reading, editing .... exam essays are obviously more stressed (and our examiners always seemed to find at least one blind-side angle no-one had thought of).
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    Depends on your personality but I much prefer essays, cos I love to write
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    (Original post by Nichrome)
    Route learning/bookwork only makes up ~30% of a question in maths/physics. The rest is usually a problem solving aspect where you have to apply what you know to an unfamiliar problem. This is the hard part.
    It is more like above 50% of lecture material so that you can pass just knowing what was presented in class and seminars and the rest is an application to a familiar, but previously unseen, problem. That being said the very last part may be very challenging and different from what has previously been seen. Having a look at the past Cambridge exams available online confirm this is the structure used there and at lesser universities I suspect the part of rote learning is even larger. Some graduate courses where it is just too difficult to come up with a reasonable problem and/or problems are unimportant even have exams that just ask for statements and proofs of theorems. But the difficulty of these questions is not to be understated as the material can be very, very difficult.
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    (Original post by Ghost6)
    It is more like above 50% of lecture material so that you can pass just knowing what was presented in class and seminars and the rest is an application to a familiar, but previously unseen, problem. That being said the very last part may be very challenging and different from what has previously been seen. Having a look at the past Cambridge exams available online confirm this is the structure used there and at lesser universities I suspect the part of rote learning is even larger. Some graduate courses where it is just too difficult to come up with a reasonable problem and/or problems are unimportant even have exams that just ask for statements and proofs of theorems. But the difficulty of these questions is not to be understated as the material can be very, very difficult.
    Just seen you're applying for Part III maths. Yeah in this case you're totally right, the rote learning aspect is going to be vastly increased because as you say, it's often too difficult to come up with a reasonable problem, especially in the pure courses. I remember reading once on this forum many years ago someone went a bit mad revising for Part III, and forgot how to use a toothbrush as all her time was spent memorising proofs and theorems and things like that...good luck!

    I remember doing the UG physics course, I found it hard to strike a balance between route learning stuff for the 'brief notes' questions, which were 100% regurgitation, and practicing problems for the short questions which were 100% problem solving, then the main questions had the 30/70 split I mentioned earlier. In second year I really struggled with the brief notes as I didn't do a lot of rote learning, but did well on the problems (partially because they were a bit easier that year, I think it was something like 75+ raw marks to get a 2.1, as it was marked to a bell curve). Then the converse happened in my third year. Oh well.

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