I’m afraid that at this time of year I become a bit repetitive. I estimate that 97% of my waking minutes are spent thinking about, revising for and talking about my fear of the impending exams. So I suppose it’s hardly surprising that this week’s post is going to be focused upon revision and the exams.
First, I’ll outline the exam basics. This term I (and all other single honours English students obviously) have two exams. One for the Medieval Literature module and one for the From Satire to Sensibility module. They are worth 100% and 80% of their modules respectively. Medieval Literature is three hours and From Satire to Sensibility is a mere two hours.
The Medieval exam comprises of three tasks which equals one per hour. Firstly, there is an unseen passage analysis which I find is relatively straightforward and pain-free, followed by two essays, one comparative and one on a single text. The From Satire to Sensibility exam similarly has two essays for the two hours, and like the Medieval Literature one is question is answered comparatively and one on a single author.
There however, is the big difference between Medieval Literature and From Satire to Sensibility. While for the first we just have to look at individual texts, for the second we have to look at authors. And it turns out, not unsurprisingly, that the exam criterion of showing considerable knowledge of an author involves acquiring a intimidating amount of knowledge. We need to know a brief contextual biography of the author, more than one of their works and the historical context surrounding them and their writing.
I’m focusing on four authors, Frances Burney, Eliza Haywood, Alexander Pope and an as yet undecided female poet of sensibility. I’m making slow but steady progress in the daunting task and I still have a week and a day to go, so it should all come together and hopefully I’ll feel prepared by the time the dreaded day arrives. That is the worst thing about exams though, you always feel like you could have done more revision!