Friday, April 5, 2013

It's Official

The exam time tables in college have gone up. You know what that means, folks? It's officially Study Season! Making a study timetable counts as study, right? Like how gathering notes and buying stationary counts as study?

Seriously, though, I've made myself a study timetable. It's not too tasking. I'm actually planning on using the study weeks we get in college. I've broken it down so I'm studying subjects in order (because of a massive 4-day gap at the end before my final exam...which is Poetry(!) I don't need to study that one first in case of exhaustion.) However, I'm not going to study an entire subject in one sitting, or before I move on to the next subject. I'm going to study questions.

Up until the day before an exam, I'll be studying new material. However, the night before (and morning of) an exam, I'll be breaking information down in revision. Admittedly it's all revision of what we were supposed to have been taught in class, but for a lot of the material it's so complex you need to re-do a lot of the work, just to make sure you know it properly. But anyway, I'll be sure to have covered all of the material at least a day before the revision day.

It's tempting to say that because I have Wednesdays off exams, I can go to the comic book shop to get new comics... I'll see... I think what will probably happen is, if I'm going to the college on that day to study, I'll head to the comic book shop for it's opening, then head to college, because that won't cause me to lose a day of study if I were to just go into the city center and head back home. (Does it seem like I'm trying to justify it to myself? I think it sounds like I'm trying to justify it to myself.)

Anyway, ten exams overall, which isn't too bad. It's less than previous years. Still more than the Leaving Certificate, for some bizarre reason, but that's just how things work when you don't have exams at the end of each semester. Overall, though, I think it's been ridiculous. Yes, we have a lot of modules, but when you have teaching placement and at least ten exams per year, as well as essays and other such work that gets handed in weekly, it does seem like they want students to be under stress.

(So yeah... comic books.)

The simple fact of the matter is that over three weeks, I'll have ten exams, six week-days off for study, and three weekends (a total of 22 days, really...let's just say three weeks so it's less daunting.) They will be some of the most stressful weeks of our lives, for the sake of nineteen hours of writing, due to the fact that we're not only required to memorize a ton of material (a lot of it from before Christmas) but also to engage with it meaningfully and intelligently and respond to a specific type of question that will limit what we can say, but cannot prepare for directly (aside from just learning everything.) By the end of the exams, I don't imagine I'll remember much about my first exam (Bioethics... whoop whoop!) which kind of escapes the point of testing whether or not I know it.

This isn't a critique of my college. This is a critique against exams in general. The aim to test how much a student knows based on one sitting, one written exam, is ridiculous, and yet it's still the most widely used form of assessment in educational systems around the world.

Exam season is here, ladies and gentlemen, and with it will come an obscene amount of caffeine, hair-pulling, sleepless nights and (probably) swearing. College is less fun sometimes...

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