Book Exam


I do love this module. I really do. You choose a book, read and digest it, and sit an exam on it.

But it is kind of depressing (yet I know that it is helpful) that the module leader gives so much detail like this:


I’d remind you that the exam will have three sections: A – Generic questions about the book and reading as concepts (20 marks); B – Generic questions to be answered in relation to your specific book (30 marks); and C – Specific questions on your book (40 marks).  (The other 10 marks come from your book reviews.)

With respect to part A, this will draw on the lecture presented by John Blunden-Ellis, for which the PowerPoint presentation is available on Blackboard.  I would remind you that its broad subjects covered:

Nature of the book
Nature and importance of reading
Contrast between reading books and reading the internet
Engineers and reading

So the question(s) for part A are likely to reflect these themes.  To help you reflect on them, in additional to the PPT presentation, the following websites may be helpful (being fully aware of the irony of directing you towards websites – oh well – needs must!):

http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i04/04b01001.htm

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=01331593

http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-047148492X.html

http://www.computer.org/portal/site/computer/menuitem.5d61c1d591162e4b0ef1bd108bcd45f3/index.jsp?&pName=computer_level1_article&TheCat=1010&path=computer/homepage/1105&file=bookseng.xml&xsl=article.xsl

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/apr/12/featuresreviews.guardianreview21

Part B will focus on structural and literary aspects of books, answered in relation to your particular book.

The exam will be 2 hours, corresponding to 90 marks, hence 1.333 minutes per mark, giving 27 minutes for part A, 40 minutes for part B and 53 minutes for part C.  Hence a 10 mark question should be able to be read, assimilated, reflected on and answered within 13 minutes!  You’ll need to be quite quick and efficient – the exam will largely test the extent to which you have already contemplated your book and books in general, not the extent to which you can begin that process within the exam itself.  But in marking it, we’ll be aware of the time constraint.  Also, mostly there will be sufficient choice to allow you to focus on the elements that particularly interested you – but this means that you’ll have to skim through and make your choices quite quickly and efficiently as well.

Once again, I’d remind you that an awareness of the wider context of your book will be necessary to get a first class mark, e.g. global environmental, economic, technological or political developments since the book was written, recent events within the chemical industry (e.g. chemical industry accidents), as well as thinking about your book in the context of the structure and content of your undergraduate education.  More generally, a first class mark is obtained through communicating well reasoned insights, critical understanding and synthesis of complex ideas, with a high first obtained by adding to this authority, perspective and lucidity.

However, the main thing is that if you actually take the opportunity to enjoy the learning that this book module is giving you, then that enjoyment will pervade and enhance your answers.  Conversely, if your answers communicate that you don’t like the subject of chemical engineering, then we may have to conclude that you probably don’t deserve a first class mark!  Seems reasonable to me!

Hope this helps, hope you do enjoy this, and hope you find that the exam gives you a pleasant opportunity to convey your learning.

I cannot agree with the underlined statement. What if someone did some soul-searching and found out that chemical engineering is not for him due to its ‘money drives everything nature?’ That is discrimination – like everyone has to love chemical engineering.

By the way, I still do love chemical engineering despite me whining much about it (outside this blog) and even thought of changing my course in my first year. It just flows smoothly with my logic – I am on for environmental issues, despite the industry being one of the biggest culprits but after all, it is where changes need to be made – and that is the job for chemical engineers with some tree-hugging instinct and awareness.

So that’s my stand for now, hopefully I won’t subcosciously write something ‘against’ chemical engineering this Monday.

And perhaps, I need to figure out on how to write something intelligent about nature and books, and those topics listed above. I mean, I can write, but most often that not my style of writing is inclined towards something informal, smart-casual as my friend described it – I tend to screw up at formal writing! Too much blog-writing I guess.

Or, maybe I should just blurt it out in my natural way. At least I am honest.

Hopefully there is an extra mark for that.

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