Studies of Life

Learning by doing.

Exam Week

20 April 2012 by Jim

So this week is going to be pretty badass, I feel it already.

  • It’s Monday, and I’ve survived the first exam with amazing ease. There was a mixup of schedules so that I initially thought I had to show up for 16.00 even though I had to show up at 14.00 already, so I effectively had to dash into the city and I was too late by 20 minutes, which I got afterwards, so I wrote until 18.20, which were 4 hours that I indeed needed, even though I at first thought that I would not be needing them… Construction of the plan took about 45 minutes, the rest was writing it all down and rereading, of course. The subject was quite easy, it was a simple commentaire composé of tableau 38 of Wajdi Mouawad’s Incendies. Afterwards I asked whether I could take a photo of my work and the very nice lady that waited for me to finish barked at me that that was impossible and made me understand that I was an idiot for asking. Tuesday is going to be brutish, with Latin up at 8.00 (good, so I get that off my mind) and then French Literature, which won’t be that bad, I hope. A simple poem would be nice. And in Latin, I’d like an easy grammar part. The translation should be possible without too many problems if it’s not too complex. Gotta review now, it’s 20.10. See you tomorrow…

  • Tuesday is even better than Monday for the first part. I’ve got up in time, felt tired but not too tired, not too excited either, and I went through my course PDF in time before the exam began. Then I had a rather easy text to translate (Seneca on the king Cyrus) and grammar questions that were based on the translation, so I didn’t have to invent anything because it was all right there. And, of course, the grammar questions were about something that I had looked up just before the exam. Talk about luck. The second exam today was a bit worse, not a catastrophe but not pretty either. I think I worked a bit of my knowledge into it so that it will show that I’ve learned what I had to learn, but as commentaire composé of a very uninspiring poem by Du Bellay I didn’t feel that it really made me write something that changed the world. So I guess it won’t be a 18/20 but maybe a 12 or 13. 12 should be possible. We’ll see. I hope I pass and next year will then be university feeling here in Luxembourg…

  • Wednesday is the last difficult day, because that’s where I have Diachronie and Synchronie, the two exams where I need to study actual information to keep in mind, and it’s more scientific than the rest of my courses. I did pretty well on both exams, I think, because they were easier than I feared, and even though some more rigor in my answers could not have hurt, I think that I succeeded in showing that I studied this year and that I did indeed know what I was talking about. I had lunch with good friends and then went on to the next exam. Italian translation turned up later as more difficult than expected at first. I didn’t know 4 or 5 of the words but I think I showed that I can translate nevertheless… The big stuff is over, I had a great evening of relaxing with a good friend of mine over a Strongbow, and I think Thursday’s last exam should be easy, since it’s the PC one. The nice person guarding me during the exams asked for when I was coming back for the next exams. It would be nice if I didn’t have to return, and I could immediately get on with my novel and my studies and just consider this year as done.

  • Thursday was a great day because it started slowly with lots of sleep (9+ hours) and then I had my easy PC exam, which I didn’t look up anything for. It was really doable even though much of what I’ve learned in the course was asked, so it was rather complete as an exam. After that I spend the night at a friend’s place.

Overall Impression


The main takeaway from this week is that I did better than I initially thought I would, and I may even have a chance of passing without having to repass any exams in June, which would be really great. The ease with which I did the exams, whether I pass or not, frightens me a bit, though, because it is the contrary of the vision I had of university when I was a little boy. It seemed huge, very excellent and reserved to only the best of students, which it clearly is not. Of course universities cater to a wide variety of people, so they cannot afford to work only for the best, but it is a bit of a disillusion for me. It seems as if the only appropriate education I can get comes from myself. We’ll see how that works out.

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