I am not sure how many people know about this – but exam questions are set somewhere during the 3rd week of the semester. That means the lecturers/professors are obliged to teach a particular set of materials for the entire 13 weeks of semester.

However, this is always an estimation and some lecturers may:

  1. have been too enthusiastic about an earlier chapter
  2. realise that he missed some concept chapters
  3. have to answer more questions than required
  4. have to spend more time getting students to understand some fundamentals
  5. realise at a much later date that the students may not understand enough to answer the exam questions he set earlier

In addition, each class is different from the previous and he may have one class which was stronger in one area while the class before strong in another area. So, what happens at the end of the day?

  1. They drop hints during lectures
  2. They start to rush through some chapters just to “cover” them towards the end of the semester
  3. They start explaining some concepts during “revision week”
  4. They keep saying that certain chapters are important

Well, for a start, here are somethings that you should take note of:

  1. Most sections that the lecturers say are important, are really important.
  2. Theories that the lecturers explain again during “revision week” is usually somewhat important – good enough for you to pass, may not be good enough for that A-, A or A+
  3. Most sections that the lecturers say you just have to read it through usually means that it’s good to know – you may not have to study for it, but probably just know it

Of course, no lecturers want to fail their students. If you attempt an exam, then you’d have a chance at passing (or aceing) it. Conversely, if you don’t then your assignments probably can’t help you pass it either.

Speaking of assignments, do spend some time doing it – at least putting in a conscientious effort in completing it. It usually weights between 15% to 40% of the overall marks – depending on the performance of the students for that year. The reason why the lecturers do not want to fix a percentage is so that, in a low-performing year, they have the liberty to give more weightage to the assignments so as to bring everyone up. This beats having to moderate marks because moderation is a very tough process in that they have to consider the amount to moderate.

Lastly, do not hand in a blank answer for a question – scribble, draw, doodle – do anything, you might just get a mark or 2; and in doubt during an exam, ask. The invigilator/your lecturer might just enlighten you enough for you to move on. =)

In my short stint as a Teaching Assistant so far who was handed the responsibility of conducting a lab session-cum-lecture followed by many unofficial tutorials, the common question is… ” ‘cher, what is the perfect report?”, ‘cher, do you have a past year report?, ‘cher, what do we have to include in the report?, ‘cher. how to get A+++ for the report? ”

Hmm… the funniest thing is, I had been emphasizing on the contents since Day 1, and in fact, over 4 sessions. So, theoretically, anyone who had followed the lectures and short sniplets of time that was given to me by the lecturer, would know what I was looking for. =)

So, for the few who do know about this blog, here’s the marking scheme revealed. This is just one of the many ways that different lecturers would approach. For me, I don’t believe in failing people and theoretically a lenient marker (well, at least more lenient than some that I know of – who thinks that C+ is good, B+ is better and A+ is excellent; how can a C+ be “good”, you must be asking? Ya.. me too), but that also means that it’s just a little tougher to get to the top (A+) – not impossible, just a little more effort will do. So, here’s how I mark:

  • if you hand in your assignment, you get a D – haha… just handing in only, regardless of content
  • if your assignment covers all the parts that is required, then you get a C+ – this is regardless of further explanations and reports
  • from here onwards, I work on an additive method – that is, for every part that you answered correctly, you get marks, for every part that you do not answer correctly, no marks are award and neither are marks deducted
  • for most people, this should give them something from a C+ to an B+ or A-
  • to get that A or A+, I’m looking for a few things
    • a full understanding of the assignment must be presented – that means, you include explanations of why you do certain things – the methods you used and the reasons for doing so
    • your personal/group observations of the entire experiment/assignment – what can you gather from this experiment/assignment – do you think it’s a good method/way/process? why?
    • surprise me! like, by handing in a blank assignment
    • bringing about an epiphany – to me, which is possible, since you spent more time on the project than I did solving it for answers myself
  • as for the optional question – it is really optional, so it’d be fair for those who took it literally and think that it’s optional – so what’s the optional question for? sorry, I can’t reveal this part =) it could really be nothing, but what I can say is, if you are good enough, you don’t need the optional question =)

Now that the scheme is out and my students have about 1 week to their due date, I hope this will answer their question about “perfect reports”. There’s no such thing as a “perfect report” because there are so many ways of doing things. As long as you show competency in what you are doing (or just smoking your way through effectively), then you’ll make the grade. I don’t believe in failing people because in university, it should all be about learning and applying, and generally I am quite generous about As and A+s, even if you challenged me in class.

There are no questions too silly and there are no answers beyond imagination =P

Yes! I finally finished my first conference paper and I hope it will be accepted. I think it’s just pure junk, though I spent countless hours working on it and trying to come up with something novel. Not too sure where all this are going to head to at the end of the day…

Oh, did I mention I gave up on the mac? Heh heh… :P Too tedious lah

… I’ll be so dead :(

Last paper tomorrow… and I am not too sure if I can make it. I think I need miracles… :(

… BJ! I want my BJ too! I have never had one, but from the way he described it, it seems to be really good. And it is not just girls who are giving out free BJs! Even the guys are giving out free BJs too! I want! I want!

Hmm… but what’s wrong with guys giving BJs? I don’t think there is anything wrong. (Ed: Cos’ Agagooga implied that *sometimes* guys are handing out BJs too). Anyway, don’t think I will be able to get any BJs this time round. By the time my exams are over, all the BJs would have been given out.

I am assuming that there is either a limit or date due. I pity those people giving out the BJs. Must be very sian lor. Whole day do nothing but give out BJs. If you are interested, here’s where you can get your free BJ. :)


Eh… siao eh… siao eh! Psst!

Simi dai ji?

Eh… siao eh… wua email lecturer liao… but lecturer no reply leh…

Darng la… maybe lecturer not free… or invigilati-on… wait, ok? patient… must have patient…

Bo la… eh… ler kua jeh eh… ji eh notes you understand bo?

Simi notes?

Ji eh la… come… jeh simi ABC eh…

Aiyah… Proteins lor… jeh si amilo acid… leh buay hiao meh?

Amilo acid wua eh hiao… dan simi si peptides… simi si proteins? Arn jua protein si polypeptide chain eh meh?

Si lah… peptide si less than 50 amilo acids… polypeptide si more than 1 peptide lor… then if got more than 1 peptide then it is polypeptide then is protein lor…

But hor… ji dao gong protein si more than 50 amilo acids leh… then if I got 2 peptide, each one si 10 amilo acid… then total mah si only 20 peptides… still less than 50 wat….

Aiyah… lecture boh ask ji eh la… lecturer last day mah si gong liao… boh ask memorization questions, only ask application questions…

Then if lecturer ask 2 peptide join together si simi.. then how…

Then give boh answer lor…

Like that can ah?

Can lah… eh… wua ai study liao… mai cha wua lah…

Ok… back to books. :P

Exam Period

School Stuffs April 18th, 2007

Yes, it’s the time of the year again. In fact, it happens twice a year… ignoring the little ones. :) It’s exam time! :( And that explains why I hadn’t been blogging for ages. :(

Oh ya… before I forget, I saw wild boars last Saturday morning! A whole family of them! I was so afraid that they will start charging at me because the father boar (don’t ask me how I know it’s the father :P ) was snorting away, ready to charge at anytime. So, being the timid me, I went off as quickly and calmly as I can. :P

FYP is finally submitted, but a last minute assignment held my revision back by one whole week. Darn. Now I am so short of time…

Eh, siao eh… le revision how?

Like that lor… damn cham. you leh?

Me ah? Jin jia lat sia… jeh notes wua boh understand leh. Cham liao lah. How?

Haha… le mai men wua. Wua mah si buay hiao…

Like that ah.. then how?

Wua mana zai how? Le wu ke meng lecturer boh?

Lecturer ah? Siao eh… sekali lecture thought I never listen class how? Sekali tio mark lagi cham…

Then how?

Emmm.. mm zai leh…

Ah! Wua kah le gong… le wu gmail si boh?

Si ah… an jua leh?

Wua kah le gong… le yong gmail email lecturer anony-nymously… mai gah lecturer gong le si siang…

Eh sai meh?

Try lah… le eh sai register new account mah… send invite to yourself can liao lor…

Like that ah? Ok ok… I ke try…

Ho…. le email lecturer liao… dan lecturer reply liao, le kah wua gong answer si simi ok?

Wah piang!

Ok… I am very bored. Too stressed. Back to books now. :)


Dear Simply Jean,

I am pleased to inform you that you have been offered admission into National Taiwan University as a Research Scholar student in the School of Biological Sciences for Semester 1, Academic Year 2007-2008.

However, the offer of admission is on the condition that you obtain your Bachelor’s degree from National Taiwan University, Taiwan, Republic of China.

Ed: Heh heh heh…

It seems like the blackout entry that I wrote some time back is missing permanently… probably from a computer crash that happened some time ago. Stupid windows…

Anyway, on the day that we shifted in, there was a blackout! And of all times, when we were showering in the bathrooms! Duh! Thank goodness we were almost done and not stuck halfway in some soapy situation. It took me quite a while to figure my way around. And because I am totally blind at night, I depended heavily on my hands to navigate through all the stuffs in the cubicle. Oh well!

Some hostelites did realise that there were people (my roomie and myself) stuck in the bathrooms, but that was when we were about to get out. Apparently, the blackout triggered some people to get together for a short session of chit-chat until the powerguys came over and flipped the switch on again. Life *does* start after 12 midnight afterall!

It’s been almost 1 week since we shifted in and we could almost see the benefits of shifting into the halls. It means not having to wake up at 6am for an 830am lesson, as well as being able to work as late as we want in the labs… and possibly till the cows came home. Food however, is a call for concern.

Just yesterday, an entremely lousy pack of noodles were prepared and that totally spoilt my mood. So much so that I went to bed straight after dinner cos’ I was full but not satisfied. Oh well! You win some, you lose some. I don’t think I will ever eat that brand of noodles ever again. :( Thank goodness for “fried three thoughts”, else the noodles would have been down the drain.

Meowy is moody today, and I am not sure how long it’ll last. Sigh. Not in a mood to talk about it. So I think I will just talk about other things.

We had Prof K for our lecture today, and I thought his notes were quite well prepared. Actually, I wasn’t sure if it was his notes or the other lecturer’s notes (that he had acknowledged), but I thought today’s lecture was very well organized and well paced. Only thing was that it ended a little too early – but no one was complaining.

And oh, we are going to have a new lecturer 2 weeks later who is going to take us for just 1 lecture. Apparently he’s an adjunct lecturer, so he will be with us only on a part time basis. It’s probably part of the university’s goal to bring industrial knowledge into our books. :)

And oh no, we are going to have an additional assignment for this lecturer. Sigh! We are already packed to the brim, especially with a pending assignment that is going to be due in 2 weeks’ time as well as the submission of my research report. This is going to be so stressful! Argh!

And I have also submitted my application for internship with a government agency. Hope that pulls through too because it means additional experience (and pocket money). Heh heh… :)

It’s almost going to be 11pm soon and I am still in lab. I kind of enjoy being in lab because I feel that it puts you in a mood for getting things done. Yes, I am quite an “environmental person” – how well I work usually depends heavily on how comfortable I am with the environment. But that does not mean that I am unable to work in noisy places; pretty much like how I enjoy working at Starbucks, which isn’t exactly the quietest of places.

I think I need to do some time management soon. I have lectures tomorrow until Friday afternoon. Still thinking if I can make it for some faculty event tomorrow afternoon during lunch. Rush rush…

Got my hall!

School Stuffs March 8th, 2007

After an ardous wait, I finally got an allocation for my hall. Kekeke…

The hall allocated to me wasn’t really idea, but it beats waking up at 6am in the morning for an 830am class! Woohoo! The only thing that is missing is perhaps a bicycle, but I don’t fancy cycling early in the morning for classes because I have to worry about parking it. So… the bicycle is probably only got getting around campus when there are no class. Or perhaps for the occasional cycle out of campus to get stuffs or for a cuppa at the Mac.

I can’t find my bedsheet… so it seems like I can’t move in today. Oh well… and there’s no car too. :(

Prof gave me a call today to see him in the office.

Oh no! Must be chasing me for my interim report for my FYP! Argh! I’m finished. I’m going to be expelled from school for not being to produce my report. I may be asked to extend my studies to graduate next year! I’ll belong to a new family of rejects!

And when I met him, it was true. He wanted me to extend my project. :( As a research staff! Heh heh…