Summer has started for me today, because I have just had my last exam – woohoo! In case you were wondering what kind of modules have examinations at the end of the second year of Film and Media Studies, then let me tell you.
My first exam was at the beginning of May; it was about a Media module called “Analysing Communication Processes”. (We never actually said the whole name when we were talking about it, it’s just too long. It was most often referred to as the “Analysing Stuff” or the “Research Module”.) This module is pretty much about all the different types of research methods that you can use when analysing media content or media audiences. Each week we studied a different method, such as Surveys, Ethnographies & Observations, Focus Groups, Semiotics or Content Analysis. Of course, to really understand these things, you should practice them so it was to some extent a practical module. I really liked at the seminars that we always dedicated time to put the theory into practice; we designed short surveys, conducted focus group discussions and so on. The structure of the exam was as usual; we had to answer 2 out of 9 questions. These questions first and foremost asked about the strengths/weaknesses of a method as well as about its main steps or ethical considerations, sometimes with reference to a published relevant research.
The other exam I had was of the film module called “Researching World Cinema”. In a previous post I already mentioned what it is about and the fact that we were warned that it is not an easy module. Well… now that the module is over, I can confirm that. It is not just about watching films and analysing them. You have to be familiar with the given historical, political and cultural contexts to a large extent, otherwise the films won’t make sense. It is all about understanding key themes and concepts, such as Post-colonial Cinema or Third Cinema. It was quite interesting to study about Japanese aesthetics, anti-imperialist revolutionary Algerian films or the codes of ethnographic film when studying about the representation of indigenous Australian people, to mention a few. But no, it wasn’t always easy. At the exam, we had to answer 2 out of 8 questions. Since I had some experience in this type of exam (choosing 2 questions and answering them in 2 hours) I was now trying to be more conscious about the time and divide it equally among the answers. I’m not saying I nailed it perfectly… Let’s just say that, again, my first answer is more detailed than the second one. But it’s not that bad: they have roughly the same lengths. My other concern is that I have a very messy handwriting; I can’t write nicely and quickly at the same time, simple as that. I just hope that whoever marks my paper will be able to read it!
At any rate, I found the Film exam a bit more difficult than the Media one but I think I did fairly all right in both of them. All I have to do now is wait for the results (which I really hate because I can’t stand uncertainty). Otherwise, I can now start to enjoy summer! – in this lovely cold and rainy weather.