Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category


April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Alright, the final two papers of this course. You’re going into it with a great chance of getting a distinction. What will be going through your mind as you sit through the next four hours of exam?
We’ll try our very best. We’ve done the first two last term, so this will be a lot less surprising. We know what’s coming, and we’ll try to right the wrongs we did last time out. I think the key is to remain calm, not to panic, and give it our all, and hopefully it’ll be a great four hours.

Two of the people who have set these papers are those who have never set papers here before. What do you think will be on those papers?
It’s hard, definitely, to try to predict what’s in there, but it doesn’t really matter to us really. Maybe they would have tried to follow what’s been going on in the past years, maybe they’ll try to kill us with super hard questions. Either way, like I said it’s not going to make much of a difference. If it’s easy, it’ll be easy for all of us, if it’s difficult, it’ll be difficult for all of us.

And do you think that if it’s difficult that you can perform better relative to others?
I don’t know really. I don’t really like to speculate, let’s just wait and see.

Finally, coming toward the end of this term, rumors are going around regarding future plans. Can you comment on any of the DPhil and job offer rumors that have been going on recently with you?
As far as I’m concerned, nothing has been confirmed for us yet. We’re currently focused more on the exams and trying to score as high as we can. If we do that, offers will naturally come and we don’t have to worry about them.



January 12, 2012 4 comments

Alright, first exam in a long time, really. How are you feeling about it?
Not sure, to be honest. Yeah it’s been at least six months. (We’ve) forgotten a little bit how it feels like, really. But we’ve done all we can. It’s been alright so far, so we’ll give it our best shot tomorrow and see how it goes.

How surprising do you think the paper will be?
Well I guess we’ll see tomorrow, won’t we? Haha… but yes, I haven’t seen the paper, obviously. So I don’t know what’s coming, but like I’ve said, we’ve made the necessary preparations to take on what’s coming, and of course, with the choices of questions, hopefully we can choose the best four to get the maximum score.

And what are you expecting in terms of the score?
Well I don’t really know what we’re expecting, but certainly we’re aiming for a 100%. Nothing less than that will be at all acceptable in my opinion. We have a long tradition of winning and aiming for the best and tomorrow will be no different.

Who do you see as your threats going to these two papers?
I think everyone will be strong. We’ve had a long break, we’ve all done a lot to prepare for this day and tomorrow we’re all going to do our best. Who do I see as threats? Well, everyone is a competition, but we don’t really want to think too much about it. We’re content to be concerned just with what we’re doing and what we want to achieve.

Categories: Interviews, Math

Pre-Exam Press Conference

April 18, 2011 4 comments

Second semester final exam press conference.

Q: OK, so, final sem, final exam. This is pretty much your last finals. Tell us your thoughts.
A: Ah yes! I’ve been telling people, that was my final week, that was my final lecture as an undergrad, and now this will by my final finals! Haha. Great stuff. But yeah, it’s been a great experience over here. Learned a lot over the past four years, certainly matured a lot as well.

Q: A lot has happened over the past four years. Tell us some of your most memorable experiences.
A: Memorable experiences. Ahh, there’s so many memories to recall over here. Okay, first there is the first semester where we all gathered to discuss the solutions to the online quizzes. It was great times, back then.

There was also a time last semester where Science won the IFG Chess Tournament. It was really great for me because I was a huge part of the team and I felt I made a significant amount of contribution, which was good. In the last match we were up against our main competitor, Engineering. At that time we were leading by, I think half a point, so if we could manage a draw, that was it. For my match, I capitalized on blunders by my opponent and managed to go three pawns up in the opening. But then I blundered a whole piece back, and she came back into the game. I almost lost toward the end of the game, but with seconds remaining I managed to find a queen sac line to stave off her attack. In the end she panicked under time pressure and I managed to get back into the game. And then immediately I had a chance to either secure a draw or risk fighting for a win. I checked my team’s games, and we already had 1.5 points. So I decided to take the draw and secure first place, which was very satisfying for us.

Another time was in Sem 2 of Year 1 when I was really pleasantly surprised by my friends. Sue Ann had text me  asking for programming help. So I went to the place where they said we would meet, but when I arrived, the room was dark. I was puzzled. But I went in and then I saw the group of people there waiting for me with a candle-lit cake. It was amazing stuff. Also a similar thing happened in Sem 2 of Year 2, but that was a different group of people. Terry, Pey Hua and Heong Kong that time. Great stuff. Really fortunate to have great friends.

Of course, there was something else that happened this time round too, but I think I’ve said enough.

Q: Tell us about the people you’ve met. Anyone more significant than others?
A: Like I said, I’ve been really fortunate to have had awesome friends here. They’ve been really great. There’s the Maths gang – Xu Shen, Jia Wei, Pei Ying, Tina, Siow Chuen, Horace, Jie Shen, Kim Chuee, Xiao Chen, Sue Ann, Kai Yee, You Chuan – they were my first ever closest friends over here. We went through year 1 together. Certainly was an incredible experience. Later on there was Terry, and the our ex-classmates ah Hua and ah Guang came in. We spent a lot of year 2 together. Well, my year 2 at least. Their year 1. And then in year 3 we met seniors like AXG, ZYJ, Charlotte, NBKYZYJ, Shaox, and others. Great people.. we hanged out a lot for the past couple of years. Shared Ruffles and Lays, a lot of epic jokes and gain some great Mathematical insight from them. Really owe them a lot all these times.

There’s also some outstanding lecturers throughout our study here. VT and Wang Fei graced our year 1, preparing us for the mathematical storm that was to come. TKM traumatized us with Zorn’s Lemma, and then there was CHH. He was like a father figure to me, always guiding and helping me in every way, not only in maths but also in my character. I owe him a great deal, especially for those times he scolded me. Phenomenal really, it’s been.

Q: On to the exams then. Three papers this time round. Let’s start with Functional. Midterm not too good, do you think you can turn it around?
A: Yeah Functional has been neglected this whole while. It’s really hard to pay attention in class and not fall asleep if you know what I mean! But yeah the midterm wasn’t too good. Scored below the mean. In any case we are just planning to hopefully get an A+ this semester and not fail anything so as to graduate. So we’ll definitely do as best we can, but there really is nothing much to aim for at this point.

Q: So are you saying you wouldn’t mind a C+?
A: Well if before the exam you’d ask if I would take a C+, I’ll definitely say no. It will look bad on my transcript. I certainly don’t want that, no. A B- would be OK but I hope not to get it as well.

Q: So what would be a minimum you would take?
A: A B+ would suffice.

Q: Fair enough. On to topology. Above average scores for both midterms, in fact, way above average. Any chances for an A+?
A: Don’t know. This module seems to be our strong suit this time though. So we’ll be doing all we can to get it. There are a lot of good competitors here but we don’t want to be too concerned with what they’re doing. We just want to keep pushing and just hope for the best.

Q: Your third module is a GEM. What’s been going on there?
A: I have a third module? Haha, just kidding. Yeah I really don’t know what’s going on there. I haven’t attended any of the lectures save the first one. Anyway I’m not too concerned. We have 2 S/Us in hand and we plan to use one of them on this one, so not putting too much effort into it.

Q: So there have been rumors that you’ll be going off to UK for postgrad after this. Are these true? What are your future plans?
A: Yeah I got a conditional offer from Oxford. But it’s just a conditional offer so we don’t want to get our hopes up too high. We will let you know if anything definitive comes along, but at the moment we just want to focus on the exams.

Q: Have you accepted the offer then?
A: Yes, but like I said, it’s nothing definitive.

Q: What about immediate plans after the exams? Long break to look forward to?
A: Yeah looking forward to a long, long break, definitely. A lot of plans lined up, hopefully we’ll be disciplined enough to get them done.

Q: And what exactly are those plans?
A: Wouldn’t you like to know!

~Falcon, OUT!


November 7, 2010 Leave a comment

So, as you may (or may not) know, I normally do an interview before the finals begin, describing my thoughts and feelings ahead of the exams. This time, though, I thought I’d do it with a little twist – I’ll pluck out some of the questions from the F1 interviews and translate them to its proper context. Alright, without further ado, let’s SUIT UP and begin!

Module 1: MA3209 Mathematical Analysis III
Do you think you have enough performance in you to challenge the top performers in the class?
Well, I don’t know actually. We try to push as hard as we can, but at the moment it seems like Dougie and co. are way ahead of us. But we still have about three weeks, so we’ll be pushing as hard as we can. We haven’t gotten our midterms yet, so let’s wait and see about that and see where it puts us.

Do you think you will need DNC to screw up in order for you to get the result you want?
Ah, well… Obviously I wouldn’t want to see bad things happen to other people. It is definitely not something I would wish for, but if it happens then it happens. But at the moment I don’t see it happening. They are really really in form right now and I don’t see them slowing down at all. Of course, it will not stop us from pushing and working as hard as we are right now. For me, as long as the exams are not over yet, we still have a shot.

So could the other students in the class become a sort of buffer preventing you from getting a bad grade?
What I’ve come to realize in my three years or so here is that you really cannot underestimate anyone. One moment you think this is easy and you’ll breeze past through it, and the next thing you know you’re starting to sink while others already caught their breaths. I don’t know a lot of them and I don’t know what they’re capable of, but if there’s anything I’ve learned in the past is that no matter how easy it is for you to pass them, at the end of the day, you STILL need to put in effort and get the job done. Just thinking it’ll be done is very naive and it’s just taking things for granted, which is an attitude we cannot afford, especially not now.

Module 2: Complex Analysis II
Does your midterm score feel a little like it puts you in the driving seat as you seek to gain more from the final?

The midterm is one thing and the final is another. We have learned that on a lot of other occasions, sadly, the hard way. But yeah, we got a good midterm score, could have been better but we’re satisfied with it. However we know the finals will be tough, no doubt about that. We don’t really know what’s going to happen now, we’re not that confident about it. All we can do is keep on pushing and hope for the best.

Why were your classmates scoring higher than you in the midterm?
They’re smarter. There’s something about them that they can understand the material and internalize it more quickly than I can, and at the undergrad stage, it’s really critical to be able to do that since there’s so little time to get yourself ready. So I guess I’m slower at picking up new things and I believe they will continue to excel in the final as well.

What are your feelings about getting an A+? Mathematically you are still in it, but is it realistic?
I don’t think it’ll be easy to get an A, let alone an A+! I’d say we’re struggling now, and we really need to get ourselves back on track and really push for this one. We have a good foundation to build on, and if we do it right, the results will come.

Module 3: Galois Theory
Was there one particular reason why your midterm didn’t pan out as you’d expected?

Not really, no. It just happened the way it did. I’m disappointed but I don’t want to dwell on it.

Who will be your biggest threat?
Everyone. Practically everyone. There are only 9 students in the class, last I checked, and so I will have eight other people competing with me to get what we all want. We just need to get ourselves relaxed and don’t think about it too much and just focus on the task at hand.

Which is…?
To work hard and nail the final.

Falcon, OUT~

Categories: Interviews