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MBT - Project Management

2010 Semester 2 Exam Tips & Techniques By Jürgen Oschadleus

TIME ALLOWED The time allowed for the exam is 2 hours, plus about 10 minutes reading time.

EXAM FORMAT There are FOUR compulsory questions, carrying an equal weighting of marks – you need to answer ALL FOUR questions.

The questions are very similar in format and standard to the Sample Exam provided in the course material.

The questions cover almost all of the course units; some questions cover specific individual topics, whilst others may cover several topics.

‘OPEN BOOK’ This is a supervised open book exam. You may bring only the following in to the exam room:

Study Guide and textbook

Reference books and self-made notes

Pens, pencils and erasers

You may also bring:

Drawing instruments

Rulers and electronic calculators (but not calculators capable of storing information)

Laptop computers are not permitted.

Whilst open book exams alleviate much of the pressure of rote learning, it is foolhardy to believe that you can find all the answers in the books under exam conditions.

Questions can span several topics and you will lose valuable time trying to find the answers that may not be there in any case.

You are best off having a good set of briefly summarized notes or ‘Mind Maps’, cross- referenced to the texts, to use as a springboard for developing your thoughts.

Failing that, you could tab your notes and the text book, but it is not as effective.

Failing that, you could tab your notes and th e text book, but it is not
Failing that, you could tab your notes and th e text book, but it is not

EXAM WEIGHT The exam counts 40% the total course mark. The exam will be marked out of 100, and your mark will then be converted.

QUESTIONS

• There are 4 questions of equal value. You are required to answer ALL 4.

You must start each question in a new answer book.

• Write neatly in clear and lucid English, using a blue or a black pen.

• Each question comprises between 1 and 5 parts, and may cover any of the 12 Units of the course.

• Some questions may involve calculations, so bring your calculator.

• If a question calls on your project experience, your experience on Assignment 2 will be sufficient.

• Plan your time carefully. The time you spend on any question or part thereof should be in proportion to the marks allocated to it (e.g. 20 marks = 24 minutes).

• Studies have shown that you score most of the marks for a given question in the first few minutes, after which the law of diminishing returns kicks in rapidly (i.e. the 80/20 rule). Do not even think of spending additional time than allocated on a question until you have answered all other questions completely.

• If you are running out of time (and even you are not), map the main points of your answer as headings, then sub headings and bullet points. In that way you can get down the major points quickly.

• The number of ‘points’ you write in your answer should correspond to the marks allocated to it. As a rough guide, 5 marks means at least 5 good points. Do not write a whole page if there are only 3 marks allocated, and do not write one line and expect 15 marks!

• If the question reads ‘state with reasons…’ then the ‘state’ part normally will count 1 mark, and the ‘reasons’ 1-3 marks. Similarly, ‘State, describe and give an example…’ will count for about 1 mark each.

• Most questions will state the number of marks for each part.

• Some questions (or parts thereof) actually contain more than one question. Take care to answer ALL the parts and sub-parts. For example, a question Part(e) may read as follows: “Describe how you would blah blah blah. Comment on the importance of doing something or another and explain whatever else.” This is not one but actually three questions. A common mistake is to answer only one of the questions, and lose valuable marks in the process.

• For calculation type questions, show your workings.

• Number your answers to correspond EXACTLY with the questions.

STYLE OF QUESTIONS You have been issued with a sample exam that reflects the standard and style of questions you can expect in the exam. The following additional notes may be helpful:

• Questions cover the course notes, readings and the textbook.

• Most questions are similar in style to those in the course textbook, course notes, assignment questions, and the sample exam.

to those in the course textbook, course notes, assignment questions, and the sample exam. MBT Exam
to those in the course textbook, course notes, assignment questions, and the sample exam. MBT Exam

• Some questions provide a scenario of a few paragraphs, followed by one or more questions on it. You must answer the questions in the context of the scenario. When sub-questions build on calculations made in a previous part of the question, marks will be awarded based on your ability to apply the correct thinking, rather than purely having the correct answer. Always show your workings.

• The scenarios may appear realistic but they are fictitious, so you should rely solely on the information provided therein.

• If you feel you need to make an assumption, you must state clearly “I assume that… because…”. It is not permissible to make assumptions that change the question, eg if the question indicates that the PM is not an SME, you cannot assume that (s)he is an SME.

• Some questions may be based on a quote. You may be asked to comment, explain or discuss some aspect of project management based upon this quote. Hint – you must answer the question in the context of the quote, and not merely discuss the topic in isolation.

• Exam questions are checked carefully beforehand, but because humans are involved, errors may occur. In this unlikely event, students will not be penalised.

• Answer what is required of you. Some examples of ‘required’ may include:

O

Compare – Look for the qualities that resemble each other. Emphasise the similarities (and also note the differences)

O

Contrast – Stress the differences between two or more things (and note some similarities).

O

Criticise – Express your judgment on the merit or truth of the factors or views expressed. Set out the good and bad points and give your opinion.

O

Analyse – Explain and comment on the constituent parts of the concept or thing.

O

Describe – Recount, paint a picture in words.

O

Explain – State the meaning of the concept or quotation, why/how it is so.

O

Discuss – Set out the arguments that both support and contradict, compare and contrast the issue/concept/quote.

O

Justify – Give reasons for your opinions.

O

Name and describe – Provide a list or table setting out the name followed by a description of it

O

Provide alternatives – Set out the different courses of action one could take, any one being instead of the others.

O

State – Present the main points

O

Combinations of the above.

(Remember Bloom’s Taxonomy)

SUGGESTIONS FOR CASE/SCENARIO QUESTIONS

• Read the case carefully, then read the questions that follow.

• Re-read the case, and with the questions in mind, highlight relevant sections.

• Make marginal notes to indicate what topics/units in the course material you consider the case is testing (there are several!).

• Start planning your answers. They need to be backed up factually by the course material obviously, but you do NOT need to quote or provide references.

by the course material obviously, but you do NOT need to quote or provide references. MBT
by the course material obviously, but you do NOT need to quote or provide references. MBT

ORDER OF ANSWERS

There are different opinions on the order in which you should answer the questions. Some say start with your best one when you are fresh, whilst others say make your choice and do them in numerical order regardless.

Have a plan of action when you go in and stick to it.

PLAN YOUR ANSWERS Before you start writing, spend a few minutes planning your answer. Check that you have covered ALL parts & sub-parts of the question. Bullet points are acceptable, but an introductory line or two should precede them. If you do not know the answer to part of a question, insert the number and leave space to come back to it later. Even the briefest answer is better than none at all.

HOW THE PAPER IS MARKED The papers will be distributed to the various Project Management Facilitators. Each facilitator will mark one question to ensure consistency in the final result across all the classes. Facilitators follow a standard with a mark plan, but add any other valid points that students provide in their answers. In some cases there are absolute answers (eg calculations), but in most there are not. Believe it or not, markers don’t like failing students, and actually look for marks to give particularly in borderline cases. Providing good, well thought out answers, neatly and well organized, puts you ahead!

May your efforts be appropriately rewarded…

Silvia de Ridder

well organized, puts you ahead! May your efforts be appropriately rewarded… Silvia de Ridder MBT Exam
well organized, puts you ahead! May your efforts be appropriately rewarded… Silvia de Ridder MBT Exam