the last 15 minutes

the last 15 minutes

Lucozade sport often get sports people to talk about ‘the last 15 minutes’ in a game… they’re suggesting that lucozade sport transforms you in to some kind of sporting monster / god by taking a few sips of the orange stuff… today, the last 15 minutes saved my bacon in an exam…

I had a test today on PERT charts, critical paths, slack times etc…. Basically project management ‘stuff’. The kind of stuff that looks good on paper but nobody actually cares about or sticks to in real life 😉

Anyway, i had just under 2 hours to complete the exam and had i been on the ball, probably could have got it done in 30 minutes. I answered the first few questions which were straightforward but the last three questions caused me some real problems.

Sweet Sorrow
Creative Commons License photo credit: Caro Wallis

I had to calculate the mean duration of an overall project, using optimistic & pessimistic times then throw them in to a formula. That was fairly straightforward and i had the formulas and google at hand (exam was open book). However the last two questions were dependant on the answer from the third last question which meant if i fecked that up, i’d get zero marks for the last two questions because my calculations would be based on wrong figures.

We could only submit answers, not workings which is unusual at this level – attempting something wasn’t good enough, you needed to get the end result right 🙂 Anyway, i must have spent over an hour on this question trying to figure out what i was doing wrong (i knew i had the wrong answer because my answers in later questions didn’t fit with probability tables).

Basically you can only get figures between -3.49 and +3.49…. i got +84 or something like that but i couldn’t for the life of me figure out where i’d gone wrong… i had followed sample solutions, googled problems and started the thing from scratch multiple times.

It was only during the last 15 minutes that i realised where i’d gone wrong. The problem just hit me and within a few minutes i’d got it sorted and just taken myself from an estimated 55% to around 95%. It was worth 25% overall of one module (i have 6 modules in total this semester), which is also 4.2% of my overall mark this semester.

Creative Commons License photo credit: mag3737

That stuff adds up… i should know… i was 2% away from getting 70% in my degree last year, which is the maximum grade you can get (distinction). Raise my game by 5-10% this year and i’m on course for first class honors in IT management which is the goal. So far, i’m probably on course for that but having said that these upcoming Christmas exams will be the real test. A lot of work will need to be done to keep my neck above a 70% average.

Work which perhaps may not be worth doing… there is a massive difference in the work load required to get 65% and 75% in my experience. I can comfortably get about 65% without killing myself studying. 75% probably takes me about 25% more effort, so i’ll have to see if i’m up for it and if i have the time to commit.

So there you have it, you don’t need lucozade sport to crank things up a notch in the last 15 minutes, you just need persistence. Simply working right up until the last minute increases your chances of doing better… in my case i’d say it almost doubled my grade today :mrgreen:

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