Monday, June 09, 2008

Invigilator's diary (2)

Let n be a positive integer, and let p be a prime. State
Legendre's Theorm for determining the exponent ep
of p in the canonical representation of n! Hence find the
canonical representation of 17!.

Three mathematics and statistics exams this morning. I was invigilating with a crystallographer who started her PhD this year. After years of supervising exams with so many crystallographers, and still I can't quite understand what they do. I guess it has something to do with crystals.

She came from Sri Lanka. "Such a waste of paper, all these exams" I said. I'm always annoyed by the amounts of paper that goes to waste at the end of the exams; and by those students who insist on writing with a gap of three rows between each of their lines. "And there's not even a recycling bin in this room".

As it was a science exam we were distributing notebooks and graph papers. She told me she used to do invigilations as an MSc student in Sri Lanka, and there they would only give the students one graph paper. "We would tell them that they have only one page, that they should be very careful not to make mistakes because we cannot give them extra paper, the university cannot afford it. We would repeat it about three times. But then there would always be someone pleading for an extra paper, and we would give them one."

"But here we give them out as if they were nothing. And the students take it for granted, as if it is only natural that they are allowed to use three papers for one question".

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