April 26, 2007

Math Will Be The Death Of Me

Yesterday my colleagues and I attempted something which we haven't touched in ages. We tried our hand in what I'd call Form-Five level Mathematics. There was an article on the BBC, on the differences between the entrance exams for UK universities and Chinese universities, and being the *ahem* engineers that we were, we thought we'd give it a go.

Math Question - UK

Math Question - China

What a difference in the questions, eh? And the sad part was, we bloody engineers, could not even answer the first question! (okay, the second one was a bit of a doozy lah, which I'm sure y'all would agree) I reckon it's because it's been such a long time since we've tackled such questions (we definitely do not use this kind of Math at work), but still, it shouldn't even be such a difficult task, should it? A colleague of mine suggested bringing her Additional Mathematics text book (which was used in Form Four and Five) to the office to look up on a possible solution!

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine was given some past-year Math exam questions (1st year engineering Math) by his friend who was still studying. His friend needed some help with the questions, and thought his engineer friends might be able to help him out. My friend brought up the questions, and it took FOUR engineers to tackle the questions on a whiteboard. And I don't think we actually solved any of them. Did I mention they were supposedly rather simple integration and differentiation questions?

Sigh. Humbling moments indeed.

Still, it's sad, isn't it? And what's even sadder is that UK universities are now mocked for setting such a low standard for their entrance exams, compared to the Chinese. Does that mean us UK graduates actually fare worse than the Chinese graduates?

Anyhoos, there's a prize of 500 pounds if you can solve the questions and enter the contest or something. I'd give anything to be back in Form Five now :p


Jase Lee said...

Where's my scientific calculator?

freethinker said...

HAHHA... being a statistician myself.... once u stop hitting the old theories that you seldom use, it just fades away even it was like easy as ABC then

Jemima said...

Now, where is my abacus? LOL

TrueBluePenangite said...

Arrgghh, my head! my head!!!!! Consoles self with food.

Do you think if I was born in China, I'd be at the bottom of the class? I'd be qualified to wash toilets.

Tine said...

Jase: Believe it or not, that was the third thing that came out, after the pen and paper :P

Freethinker: Yeah, I certainly agree with you. Those kinda Math was actually easy for me back then, but now, I have absolutely NO idea how to do it now.

Jemima: Err ... methinks the abacus tak boleh diguna kat sini lah :P

Truebluepenangite: Doesn't this remind you of our beloved Chew-Chew? :P

You'd be surprised that in China, a roadsweeper might actually be an MBA holder, no thanks to the vast number of people in China, but not enough jobs for 'em all.

Paris said...

*stares blankly at questions and holds head in hands* Math was never my strong point. Thank goodness I'm not an engineer! *tosses fluffy blonde hair* hehe...

Tine said...

Paris: Hahaha ... well, I have no idea how to do it either, so methinks I'm a-gonna toss my dead-grass-looking hair with you too :p