I’ve had a difficult day today doing Galois Theory, finding myself unable to do things that I could do a few weeks ago—the exam is on Wednesday so this is really difficult to deal with. So to console myself I worked out what marks in Maths I actually have to get.

It took me half an hour, re-learning what a weighted average is, but the final answer is realistic so I don’t think I miscalculated (and if I did, at this late stage of revision, my mistake won’t affect how well I do based on how revision is distributed).

The reason this is a bit complicated is that in doing math/phil I am (a) taking into account second year marks which are weighted differently (b) you are allowed to be one classification below in one of the two subjects if you are securely into the next classification of the other in math/phil to get the higher classification, putting it loosely—this imposes more complicated constraints than simply: get 60% to get a 2:1.

On the assumption that I get at least 65 in philosophy—realistic, based on how things have gone so far, and raising it any higher doesn’t affect the maths requirements—then I need to get an average of 44% over the four maths papers and at least 30% in each to be able to put “Parts A & B/3rd year class: Upper Second/2:1”. There are several ways to achieve this. I could get 44 in each paper. I could get 58 in two papers and 30 in the other two. My target, then, is 50% in each.

Now, for my peace of mind, work forward into the future. I can definitely get a 2:1 next year; if don’t manage to get a first or a v. high 2:1, then I have two 2:1 grades for my MMathPhil master’s degree and I can start teacher training. I can forget about individual marks on papers forever and not care that much that I didn’t really pick the right degree course. If I get a first or a v. high 2:1, I have a 1st and a 2:1 for my not-really-master’s degree,[1] and I can apply for graduate philosophy here in Oxford and probably to other UK universities and probably also to the US. There is then the following narrative:

Sean was too cool to work hard in the first three years of his undergraduate, still scoring himself a nice standard 2:1.[2] He knuckled down in the fourth year though, once he was focussed on the serious business of contemporary analytic philosophy,[3] and got a first along with three quality extended essays written as part of the course, which he used for his graduate study applications.

This is what finals revision has come to, writing nonsense like this.

[1] It’s a master’s for job purposes but not for academic purposes.

[2] Completely untrue. I’m just not very good at maths, and even less engaged with it.

[3] … my paper choice next year, unlike these last two, which have been more historical.