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From Ben Laurie <>
Subject Re: Shared modules on Unix
Date Mon, 08 Dec 1997 00:42:30 GMT
Alexei Kosut wrote:
> Generally, courses will last for one semester or one quarter, no longer.
> Material that takes longer to cover is broken up into more than one class.
> So every class has a final when it is over. Which, for me, is right about
> now.
> Hopefully that's clear. How does it work on the other side of the pond?

That depends on the university and the course. Broadly speaking,
however, you do your finals at the end of the course (i.e. just before
you get your degree). There are usually other exams you may or may not
have to pass, which may or may not contribute towards your final mark.

To give an example (the one I'm most familiar with, since it is what I
did :-), to get a degree at Cambridge, you do what is known as a tripos.
In keeping with the wacky numbering schemes universities seem to favour,
a tripos is actually in two parts[1], known, appropriately enough as
Part I and Part II. You have to pass both parts to get an honours degree
(although it is technically possible to get an ordinary degree, they'd
sooner fling you out than allow it to happen). The two parts are
semi-independent, apart from some arcane rules. The arcane rules for
Maths (which is what I did) are that you must pass Part I to do Part
II[2], and that if you do a Part II in Computer Science, you must do the
length of Part II (did I mention that Parts I and II can each be 1 or 2
years, and you have to do at least 3 years?) that makes three years
total from your last qualifying exam (this means that if you switch from
Maths to Computer Science after Part I you must do a 2 year Part II in 1
year, and appears to be the sole reason for the rule's existence).

[1] Actually it isn't as crazed as it seems. The tripos is probably
named after a geezer named "Mr. Tripos" who gave a speech from a
three-legged stool.

[2] In fact, Maths Part I is split into two parts, knows as Ia and Ib.
Ia, strangely, is the qualifying exam for Part I (i.e. it counts towards
the tripos), but you have to pass Ib to do Part II Maths (but no other
Part II). Only Maths is like this.

Is that clear? :-)

I think most other unis are considerably less arcane. Isn't tradition



Ben Laurie            |Phone: +44 (181) 735 0686|Apache Group member
Freelance Consultant  |Fax:   +44 (181) 735 0689|
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A.L. Digital Ltd,     |
London, England.      |"Apache: TDG"

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