Not too happy about that CS 491 - Computer Security
test I just took. Think I pretty much bombed it. It's not that I didn't study...I went over the PowerPoint slides three times (if not more), and reread sections of the book that I was fuzzy on. However, judging by his sample questions he gave us three class periods ago, I was preparing for essay-style questions and problems that I had to work out. Instead, the test was True/False and Short Answer. And the questions were about things like "How many bits does _____ algorithm use to encode ______ key etc etc...", which for all you non-computer jockeys out there, is about as rough as asking about a date on a history test. Sure, you can know everything about the battle in question and the war in general, but if the question only asks about the date that the battle happened on, you're pretty much out of luck.
Yeah, it was some pretty difficult material, but in general I could tell ya how Diffie-Helman or RSA or Triple-DES or TEA works. It's hard to keep them seperate at times, but I thought I knew them all fairly well in general. But, Dr. Bradford made the majority of the test on specific details, and with questions like that it's *extremely* hard not to mangle the details. Was it DES or RSA or TEA that had the "x" bit key? I know what each of these algorithms do with their respective keys and how they compute them, compare them, etc, but I just couldn't think of what "x" was. Blarg. Plus, I ran out of time and therefore left one question completely unanswered...
I really miss the way they gave tests in high school. They'd give a test pretty much every week, or perhaps two. If you had some trouble in a particular section, you'd still be okay. In college, each test is roughly 30% of your final grade. Since high school tests are given so frequently, you only have to cover a chapter or two per test as opposed to half the book. In high school, it's not uncommon to find 20-25 questions on a test, each being worth 4-5 points. In college, it's not uncommon to find 4-5 question long tests, each question being worth 20-25% of your grade. This one had ten questions, so each wrong answer costs you an entire letter grade on this test, and 3% off of your grade for the semester. ::grumbles::
Oh well, I got an A on the first test in here, and it's prolly the easiest class I'm taking this year, not to mention the one I'm the most interested in by far. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to pull my grade up by the end of the semester. That, and this prof is pretty good about scaling. I doubt I'm the only person in that room that's worried that he didn't do that very well...if the scale is healthy enough, I might pull through this one with a low-mid B or something. Ce la vie. No need to dwell on that now....there's an absolutely gorgeous
girl sittin in my dorm room as we speak, just waiting for me to get back from my classes. Maybe a few rounds of mini-golf will cheer me back up. ^_^