Tonight I will be writing my history exam. I suspect that this will be the hardest thing I’ve had to do for school this year.
My history class is already the class I have the most difficulty with. I don’t like writing the essays in any class, but here my apathy is at its strongest. I am interested in the material, but more in the sense of “I like to hear about history” than “I like to do research about history and then write about it”. Going to the lectures in this class is like watching a documentary, and that’s cool. If documentaries started asking me to participate, I would not watch them.
And to make matters worse, this is a closed book exam. I’m supposed to just remember everything we’ve learned in the last few months. That is, of course, ridiculous. I don’t plan to be a historian, but if I did what kind of training would this be? Surely it would be frowned upon for anyone who wrote academic papers without checking up on the facts as they did so, so why are we training future historians to do anything but diligently keep checking? If we reward the students who go off their memory, we’re just going to get people who think they know enough that they needn’t look things up. This should be the opposite of what we want. But more importantly, it is hard for me.
Ugh. Anyway, I like the class. I feel like I’m learning. And I’ve done alright on everything else so far. But this exam is tonight and it is worth 40% of my mark for the term and I don’t like it.
Post Exam Update: Okay, so I’ve just written it and it went about how I expected. There were two parts to the thing, each worth 50% of the mark. First we had a list of terms and we had to pick thirty of them and define them. I had no problem with this. I’ll be conservative and say I got about 40% on this section, right?
Secondly there was the essay part of the exam. The other 50% of my mark all rests on one essay. That’s twenty percent of my whole mark for the term in this class. Well, I wrote an essay. Even though I am, as I said above, against doing this sort of thing from memory, and even though I have taken another class that exists solely to remind us things like “handing in a first draft of an essay is a bad idea”, I wrote an essay. It was not a good essay. I’d go so far as to say it was a bad essay. Heck, I’d even go so far as to say it wasn’t so much an exam as it was a list of things I know that are somewhat related to the topic put into paragraph form. It wasn’t good. Here’s what I figure, though: Even this sorry excuse of an essay probably won’t get ZERO points, so, as long as someone is generous enough to give it a few points, I could get over the 50% mark on this exam after all.
Anyway, I know I’m doing alright on all the non-exam parts of this class. On everything else, the 60% of the term mark, I’d say I’m close to 50%. A few more points from the exam is fine by me.