How an undergraduate math exam in the US looks like?

BBW - Yep that sounds about right on the plug and chug in section A (incidentally where I am hoping to gain most of my marks ;) ).

Basic exam technique: eat all the low-lying fruit first (as fast as you can). Then strain one's neck for the higher-placed fruit, secure in the knowledge that at least one has passed and now it's an issue of getting the best score possible.
 
Yeah I think that's what I will do. Get the easier questions done and then try aiming for a First after that.
 
My exams at King's (and Birkbeck) were also 2 hours, with six questions, each with two parts. But you only had to answer any four to get full marks, and just getting three completely correct got 75% of the marks, which was an A grade (As starting at 70%). For each question, the first part would be easy and the second one tricky. That's why I'm asking about the grading scheme.

@bigbadwolf : the grading scheme is following a bell curve system, so it's different from course to course, and students do not allow to know about the bell curve at all, for this calculus course here, my guess is that 90% for an A is reasonable, 70%-80% should be B. Most of my friends here always complained that exam paper here are too long, and some of them went for exchange program in Europe or US, and they said that exam papers there allow generous amount of time, and it does not make you feel like participating in a writing marathon.
 
@bigbadwolf : the grading scheme is following a bell curve system, so it's different from course to course, and students do not allow to know about the bell curve at all, for this calculus course here, my guess is that 90% for an A is reasonable, 70%-80% should be B. Most of my friends here always complained that exam paper here are too long, and some of them went for exchange program in Europe or US, and they said that exam papers there allow generous amount of time, and it does not make you feel like participating in a writing marathon.

I loathe grading curves: it changes the exam from testing subject mastery into a competition among students themselves. In addition, there may be a grading curve -- but due to an incompetent teacher nothing much may have been taught. The grading curve disguises this. I much prefer a more standardised exam where there are explicit criteria on what constitutes the different levels of mastery.

Historically the Cambridge Tripos -- perhaps the most difficult exam in the world -- was a competition among the students, but no-one ever pretended otherwise. I'm glancing at Littlewood's Miscellany (p.45): In one year the full marks (from 18 3-hour papers) were 33,541. The Senior Wrangler got 16,368, the second 13,188, the last Wrangler (still a 1st class) 3123, and the Wooden Spoon (roughly a 3rd class) 247. If you can, get hold of a copy of Andrew Warwick's utterly riveting Masters of Theory, which looks at the math exam culture at Cambridge: how it developed, and how it affected the world of mathematics and physics.
 
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