Exams: The Twilight Zone

As a prelude enjoy William Blake’s The Canterbury Pilgrims, which I found on Wikipedia.

Exams never change. I just had one, and from the little desks to the banning of mid-exam coat removal to the gym scenery to the bottled water with the sticker removed (wouldn’t want to get sued), it’s all pretty much the same as it was in Sixth Form, and secondary school, and possibly primary school if I even went to one of those. It’s the one aspect of university life that will have new students feeling right at home, especially if they live in a school gym.

Granted, school exams probably aren’t quite as long as mine – three hours – but it’s not unheard of. It’s really a testament to the endurance of the human hand, being able to write so furiously non-stop about The Canterbury Tales. The main difference, I’d say, between a university exam and a school exam is the necessity of quotations at university. You need them, lots of them, and you need to get them right. At school you’re always told in essay writing to give examples, but at university those examples generally need to be substantiated by someone else’s words. Just to check you’re paying attention. And when you have one exam which requires quotations in Middle English (Chaucer) followed by one which requires quotations in Old English, things can get pretty difficult. Yow mihte evene loose all sens ofen spellynge.

Doesn’t help that a certain someone whose name rhymes with, and is, Geoffrey Chaucer likes to spell the same words in different ways in his works. Way to be a team player, Geoff. Anyway, that’s one exam out of the way and soon I’ll be on the road to the second set of modules in the second year. All that’s standing in my way is Old English: a comparison of two translations of an Old English text along with my explanation for which translation is superior, and a thematic question on at least three Old English texts.

And this town ain’t big enough for the two of us.

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About Richard

Richard graduated in the Summer of 2014. Richard was writing about the final year of his English degree, having just returned from an Erasmus year in Turin.

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