# The View from the Other Side

## And oh, man, what a view!

It's that time again!

Wakko: To make fun of Imprint?

Dot: To plagiarize Warner Brothers cartoons?

Well, yeah. So I guess I'd better segue directly into today's topic, which is just in time for

## Finals

Now how on Earth do finals differ for grads than that from undergrads?'' wonders Average Reader. And why is Hammer plagiarizing Post-Teen Angst' now? Does he really think doing that is funny, or is it just a bad reaction to the medication?''

Uh, I think I'll skip the second part of the question, and answer the first. And the answer is, It depends.''

What it depends on is the course. The general rule of thumb is that 600-level courses have a final, and 700-level courses don't.

There are exceptions, of course. Certain 600-level courses aren't cross-listed as 400-level courses, and so don't necessarily have to have a final. Certain 700-level courses will have finals. (The latter is completely up to the professor's discretion; I've been told that 700-level courses are sometimes more like teach-ins than courses.)

Grad students usually have fewer finals, as well. In CS, the thesis option requires a total of four courses to be taken. Thus the number of finals a grad student has to write in this category is not only not five per term, it's not even five total! (Your department may vary. Check your local listings.)

Before you go lynching random grad students for this perceived advantage, though, it does get balanced out. By teaching assistanceships.

On Thursday, December 12th, I will be proctoring the CS 246 final. (Oh, poor baby,'' mocks Average Reader. You have to stand around and watch while I pour my soul out onto a piece of paper that will determine my existence at this university!'')

(Oh, shut up, Average Reader. Go mock Brian's articles, why don't you!)

On Friday, December 13th, I will be marking the CS 246 final.

All day.

Let's think about that, shall we? Your average student will be taking five courses, and will have a three-hour exam for each. Total: 15 hours.

I will be writing exams for two courses, and spending a full day (say eight hours) marking an exam. Total: 14 hours. But that full day is a full day. I'd much rather spend time on three different finals on three days than eight hours of trying to figure out what the hell the person was {\it thinking} when they wrote what they did. (And figure it out I must; their mark depends on it.)

(Oh, waaaah,'' jeers Average Reader.)

Well, maybe it isn't worse than writing five finals. But I think it certainly compares! And it doesn't take into account any work that I'd have to do for my research assistanceship. Or my thesis.

So the upshot of all this is that, as an undergrad, you can work really hard and study really long, and maybe, just maybe, you can get into a graduate program... where you work really hard... and study really long... and...

If any of you want to transfer to Arts now, I'll understand.

Mike `GradHammer'' Hammond

© 1996 mathNEWS