I started my formal re-education program back in 2010 after 20 years out of school. The first few courses were particularly tough after such a long break from school (and exam based courses still are), but I’m getting the hang of playing that game again. Here’s my score so far:

Crs Code  Title                                    Wgt  Mrk  Grd    CrsAvg
PHY356H1  Quantum Mechanics I                      0.50  78  B+     C+
PHY450H1  Rel Electrodynamics                      0.50  78  B+     *
PHY456H1  Quantum Mechanics II                     0.50  72  B-     C+
PHY454H1  Continuum Mech                           0.50  85  A      B
PHY485H1  Adv Classical Optics                     0.50  85  A      *
PHY452H1  Basic Stat Mechanics                     0.50  81  A-     B-
PHY487H1  Condensed Matter I                       0.50  80  A-     B+
ECE1254H  Modeling of Multiphysics Systems         0.50      A+
ECE1229H  Advanced Antenna Theory                  0.50      A-
PHY1520H  Quantum Mechanics                        0.50      A-
PHY1610H  Scientific Computing for Physicists      0.50      A+     

This last grad course is the only one of which they gave (informally through email) a non-letter grade (97). That one happened to be very well suited to me, and did not have anything based on exams nor on presentations (just assignments). They were demanding assignments (and fun), so I had to work really hard for that 97.

As a returning student I really suck at classes that have marks that are highly biased towards exams. My days of showing up late for class, sleeping through big chunks of the parts that I did get their in time for, and still breezing through the exams are long gone. Somehow in my youth I could do that, and still be able to quickly and easily barf out all the correct exam answers without thinking about it. I got a 99 in first year calculus doing exactly that, although it helped that the Central Technical School’s math department kicked butt, and left Prof Smith with only a review role.

Now I take a lot more time thinking things through, and also take a lot of time writing up my notes (which would sometimes have been spent better doing practise problems). It’s funny thinking back to undergrad where I had such scorn for anybody that took notes. Now I do just that, but in latex. I would be the object of my own scorn X10, if I met my teenage self again!