ECE 301 self-analysis of exam performance

The content of ECE 301, a class otherwise known as the class Signals and Systems. utilizes equations and ideas developed in Calculus courses and expands on them with the focus on signal observation, analysis, and creation. It is unlike any other course I have taken in that the answers to problems are not the only things that matters when solving them. Because certain problems require assumptions and differing methods, mathematically proving solutions is important. For example, in the case of Continuous time Fourier transforms of periodic signals, the answer is speculated then proven to be the correct answer. This has caused me some difficulty in adjustment. Specifically, on exams, when proving I have knowledge of the content at hand and putting together an answer to the problem stated, my process is subpar. Perhaps because I have used the justification on exam problems as a means of coming up with the answer, I did not place much weight on the role of clear and concise procedure. While I would work something out on the page, any outside observer might think that I was jumping around and using concepts at random. It is my understanding that the way to change this process from jumping from part to part of the calculations to instead take the next logical step forward in the calculation, and when time is a factor, at the very minimum show what terms and quantities are equal to each other to stop the problem of leaving the reader with whiplash wondering how I ended up with an answer. A common error I seem to make also comes from problem analysis and Identification. This is a problem I realized I have without realizing it was a problem. It was that, in many cases, I knew how to do the problem, but either a lack of confidence in my own unaided abilities or stage fright at having to face a problem I was not familiar with caused me to doubt my methods and answer. In the future this is easily rectified by taking a significant amount of the time spent studying for this class to focus just on the different types of equations and how to solve them. This would allow for better problem Identification and, through practice problems, would get the student familiar with using the equations and methods of solving problems of this class, and it would give the student the ability to tackle any new problem thrown at them. Studying in this method would solve my problem, however it does encourage a degree of memorization. In the case of this class, the memorization of equations is okay because it is the utilization of these equations that help students solve the problems. In my experience, my own lack of memorization of equations in combinations with a lack of practice working through equations unaided most likely affected my exam performance in this class. In the future, I will rectify this by spending more time working with the problems unaided by notes or other class material and working in a clearer and more concise manner. For anyone who has had trouble with this class, it is worth it to analyze one’s own performance and compare it to what an ideal procedure and solution might look like. This would give a good indication of any shortcomings of understanding that one has, and could help address, adapt, and overcome any hurdles in learning that one has to make themselves a better, more well-rounded student.

The link to practice exams is here