My first final exam!!
I just got home from my first final exam and I’m in the post-exam rush so I thought I’d crank out a blog post!! My exam today was in History of Subsaharan Africa in the 19th century. This class has only two notes: a paper and a final. All I have to do is pass these classes. In France all grades are out of 20. And for me a 10 is passing. In most classes the mean for the class is around an 11, or a 12 if the professor is generous. Also, scores between 18-20 are never handed out… they don’t exist. So that being said, I need to be around the mean of the class (full of french students who are native speakers….) While this may sound scary, I actually beat the mean on my first assignment in that class getting a 14.5 on the paper (the highest score in the class was a 17 which was gotten by one of the americans from my program!).
Now for some context: this is the first final exam I’ve ever taken at a college level in a humanities class!!! So I was pretty nervous. Over the past weekend I summarized all my notes into a study guide and it was 30 PAGES!! Nonetheless I worked hard and memorized most of it so I felt super prepared for the exam. I go in and on the front page of the exam there is a box that says : check this if you’re not a native french speaker. I chuckle and mark the box. I’m super grateful because the exam grader will hopefully go easy on my multitude of grammar mistakes. The first part of the test was to put things on a map of Africa. It asked us to mark the Nile and the Niger, and then a few states that existed in the 19th century. The next part of the exam was a question that said Tell me everything you know about the Boer War . Now I studied the Boer war in high school and wrote a huge essay on it, so I barely even had to study this topic so I cranked out that essay first. The next question was Tell me everything you know about Sierra Leone. Again this was relatively easy because it was one of the main British colonies that we had studied in class. Finally we had a mini-dissertation that was on The Blacks and Whites in Africa in the 19th Century . I was shocked at how broad the topic was. Literally I could write a French-style dissertation on practically anything I learned in the class. I structured out the essay in the French style, and used my section stems that I’ve been using all semester. The French style dictates what it’s going to tell you, then tells it to you. Then repeats what it is going to say, then explains it. I find it rather repetitive and odd, but I’ve got this style down after writing a few papers. I do have to say that my essays were not super in depth… they should be enough to pass and prove that I know how to write a paper and I paid attention in class, but they weren’t magnificently profound essays.
So I definitely over-studied. But to be honest, I loved the class. This goes down as one of my all-time favorite classes in my college career. I’m positive I passed this class (seeing as I only needed a 5.5 to average to a 10 out of 20).
Well I still have a 15 page paper for my film class. I have a 3 hour final for my sociology class. I have a 10 minute oral exam (prof asks me questions, I (hopefully) answer them), and a 1.5 hour analysis of text for psychanalyse….
I’m pretty nervous for my psychanalyse class because my entire grade is based off 2 hours on my last day in Paris… and the class has been super all over the place without much cohesion… hopefully I can pass that class!!!
Wow! you are so skilled at your study skills! Lovely to see how you enjoyed the class.