Friday, October 19, 2012

The Exam

English: Exam room at Stenden Hogeschool
English: Exam room at Stenden Hogeschool (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Wednesday I sat the end of module exam for A151 Material Culture, a proper exam, with desks set out in rows and nervous looking people clutching dictionaries.

3 essays in 3 hours, although the guidance said we should aim for 40 minutes per 500 word essay and I finished right on the two hour mark.  One examinee was out of the room in an hour, that's either total brilliance and a hand writing speed almost unknown to mankind, or some sort of mental meltdown.

Over at desk 4, I was having a mini-meltdown as I sat for minutes on end unable to quite bring back to mind what a codex was (it's just a book stupid, at least in the context of the question), and then having to write my essay on the chapter I had not revised.  I had another memory stumble when the correct term for the start of an object biography would not surface, something - consumption - afterlife went around and around in my head until I settled for creation.  The answer was production.  Not to worry, I think I explained the answer quite well even if the terminology remained stubbornly just out of reach.

I managed two slightly short essays on morals and ethics in the display of body parts, the role of charisma in contemporary artefacts, and then a better length essay on how object biographies lead to a better understanding of material culture.  I think the latter essay was also the best of the three.

I had a bit of a nightmare on the first Tutor Marked Assignment on this course when on the night before the hand in date I managed to save an old copy of the essay over the completed one and knocked out two thirds of my work.  A quick re-write later got me a score in the low 70's.  The group wiki project went a little better, and for my final TMA I did loads of work, reading through numerous sources and pulling notes together for my essay on the changing nature of artefacts and relics under the tourist gaze and gained my best essay score for the 3 modules I have done so far.

Material Culture has been really enjoyable, the cross-disciplinary approach to study encompassing archaeology, ethnograpy / anthropology, history, art history and other areas has been fascinating.  The exploration of how museums began and what they have evolved into, and by extension how education and ethics have evolved, was highly stimulating.  Perhaps I could be a museum curator when I finally get fed up of  100 hour weeks in the kitchen.

The exam was a little more stressful than I had anticipated, I had a poor night's sleep preceding the day, and felt a little tense as I turned over the question paper for my first proper exam in almost three decades.  40% is the pass mark, to make up an average along with the three TMA scores. I think I'll pass, although some of my essays had a little more waffle and less definition that I would have liked.

The next exam will be in 6 months' time, 3 questions on various aspects of Sikhism for A217 World Religions, and in the meantime there are 6 more TMA essays to hand in.  I am researching now for a discussion on the Christian Church after the Council of Nicaea, and a similar length (1,750 words) will have to be handed in on the relationship between food and faith in Judaism before the end of the year.  No time to waste then, better get those study books out.
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