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2009-09-03 Trial exam review

posted Sep 2, 2009, 4:52 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 14, 2009, 3:30 PM by Eddie Woo ]

Question 6

The best option is query by example because it saves time by removing the need to type the SQL query with full, valid syntax.

(Exam technique: N/A, theory was not taught)

Question 21

The interactions part of (b) was too general, as it was simply a generic interaction of how the components of the system interact in any given system. It should have been related specifically to the system in question, e.g. "the purpose is achieved by means of the participants collecting statistics and photographs about the runners, using the timing devices and camera, and then uploading them to the website"; examples are good, even if the HSC keyword is "describe".

Subquestion (c) was asking for judging the success of the system as a replacement of the old system, as it had labelled it as "the new information system".  Criteria should therefore have reflected the advantages of a computer-based system; e.g. wider audience, saved paper, increased convenience.

(Exam technique: theory should be tailored to the scenario in question, new systems should be judged as replacements, not products)

Question 22

The calculation in (a)(i) was perfect, except I had foolishly forgotten to convert to kilobytes (despite naming the calculation "size in kilobytes of the bitmap"). To convert to kilobytes, divide by 1024.

(Exam technique: avoid silly mistakes)

Question 23

The data flow diagram in (b)(i) could be improved by having two separate entities instead of "Mobile phone or computer" as a single "entity". Also, despite asking for a data flow diagram of "when a user sends a single tweet", the question had mentioned followers; mentioning them would have earned the extra marks.

(b)(ii) had called for a "critical analysis"; to critically analyse something, one must discuss the relationships between items. Therefore, more marks could have been gained by discussing how issues relate to each other, e.g. virtual communities act as catalysts for globalisation, emerging trends may counter the insincerity of messages (e.g. using videos), censorship may destroy or counter the formation of virtual communities.

Part (c) was done as if the system was the laptops and the network combined; however, the question had actually subtly excluded the laptops. More care should have been taken during the reading of the question. Also, points should not have been phrased as rhetorical questions.

(Exam technique: all the given information should be used if possible, critical analysis requires discussion of relationships between items, more attention to what the question is asking for)

Question 24

In (a)(i), the layout of the decision tree was more like that of a flowchart; a decision tree has questions on the side, and options (not necessary boolean Y/N options) on the tree itself. Also, assumptions were made as to what the system would check for; this was counter-productive.

In (a)(iii), it would have been much more rewarding to mention more types of analysis. Only calculating was mentioned. Other types include sorting, searching, labelling, graphically representing, identifying patterns and trends. Mr Woo's specimen answers also suggest comparison as a type of analysis.

Part (b) included enough issues, but fundamentally did not answer the question properly in terms of HSC key words - a discussion needs to include both points of view, and should not be an argument for a certain point of view.

(Exam technique: revise diagrams properly, use the arsenal of lists logically instead of instinctively, and remember that a discussion must be two-sided)

Question 26

In part (c), I used the phrase "it seemed to make sense to". This is too informal; a better phrase would be "it was an apparent, sensible and logical decision to", or an equivalent. Part (e) could have been improved by listing similarities as well as differences, because the question had clearly stated compare and contrast.

(Exam technique: compare and contrast is two-sided)

General exam technique advice

  • Spelling - incorrectly spelt words look very bad
  • More detail is often required - e.g. different perspectives, additional points
  • DNAQ stands for Did Not Answer Question; always answer the question given
  • Information systems that replace manual systems must be better if to be compared using criteria
  • The HSC Keyword Analyse requires that relationships between individual items are established
  • Social and ethical issues are two-sided (positive and negative effects)
  • Do not phrase issues as questions - in the worst-case scenario, you can say "it is questionable"
  • Revise decision tree layout
  • Don't extrapolate/assume - e.g. the Q24 decision tree (where many people made up conditions)
  • Don't be colloquial - it is a formal assessment
  • Extra social & ethical issues
    • Cost
    • Reliability (CB vs NCB)