That what you thought was perfect requires a

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that what you thought was perfect requires a multitude of large and small corrections but at least you can concentrate on the job in hand. Be a Halmos if you can, but, if you cannot, recognise your limitations and act accordingly. 5.10 Abandoning From time to time you will be filled with disgust and despair at what you have written. You may be right but it is much more probable that you are wrong since almost everybody goes through such a phase from time to time. (It gets worse when you are doing a PhD.) Even if you are right, it probably makes sense to continue. Provided that your essay shows evidence of hard work and thought it should receive a decent mark. The alternative is to try and work up a course that you did not much like (otherwise you would already have decided to take it for examination) to that fairly high level at which you can be confident of a decent mark in your exam. In any case you should go to your assessor for a second opinion before deciding to abandon. 5.11 Stopping You are writing an essay, not a rocket guidance system. Your essay does not have to be perfect. The maximum mark you can get for an essay is 100 and a decent essay will get 65. Once you have got the mathematics and the exposition settled, repeated minor changes will have little effect on your mark 10 . On the other hand working on your weaker exam subjects can boost your total marks very substantially. Once your final version is complete leave it and get on with your exam revision. 6 Sources By comparison with practitioners in other disciplines, mathematicians are very lax in acknowledging sources. Undergraduate texts customarily contain no references and even graduate texts announce that ‘No attempt has been made to trace the sources of the various theorems proved here’. Mathemat- ics papers normally open with a cluster of references intended to establish 10 And T E Xtual changes will have no effect whatever. 24
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the importance of the problem treated and the originality of the approach adopted but otherwise only contain references to results required but not proved in the paper itself (and these references will be further limited to results which it cannot be assumed that the reader will know). I do not suggest that you should improve on the prevailing standards. I do, however, point out that these standards are so low that you should on no account fall below them now or in the future. 6.1 Form of acknowledgement In addition to the kind of references you find in most mathematical papers the nature of a Part III essay requires that you state all the major sources that you have used and indicate how you have used them. One way of doing this is to include a statement at the end of your introduction along the following lines.
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