It’s come as a shock that I have now officially finished by second year with the Open University. It only feels like yesterday that I was typing up about my upcoming exams and how much of a difference second year has had on my studying, and yet here I am now sitting here typing away telling you that I can finally relax and enjoy my summer. I admit that it hasn’t quite sunk in yet but boy am I loving not having the stress of exams and revision now.
The weeks leading up to my exams were really getting me down, and I just felt that no matter how much revision I was squeezing in it wouldn’t be enough. The only advantage I had with my exams was knowing that during my A Levels I had already done a philosophy exam, so I wasn’t particularly worried about that one. Philosophy (for me anyway) is simply remembering theories and which philosopher said what and basically deciding whether they’re viable or not, and in truth it can be fun at times but there are SO many philosophers to remember.
With my English exam however I wasn’t feeling so confident, mainly because its been seven years or so since I sat an English exam, and my technique was just out of the window. I really struggled with it this year, especially with analysis. I’m great at understanding texts and pointing out bits that are important etc but when it comes to the technical side (metaphors, narrative, metre, etc) I struggled, but I practiced hard with revision to try and get them right and actually making sense in what I was trying to convey in my practice questions.
So when it came to exam day I’m all pumped and ready to get them over with. English was up first unfortunately, I would have loved to have had an extra day for revision but there we go. What made it pleasant was meeting up with a fellow student for coffee and having a chat about the OU as a whole, and she was kind enough to give me a book for my module next year!
In the exam room I go an question one I felt was a complete funk. Basically the way the exam is set out is: Part 1- analysis of a text, this could be a poem, extract from a play or a prose text. Basically prior to our exams we are given an outline of how our exam is going to be and the relevant texts we should revise towards it, however Part 1 could be anything. I didn’t really want to do poetry as again I’m not so great at it but I made sure I revised the basic techniques for analysis. The prose text was on Dubliners (which I had set myself to do for Part 3) and the play was The Duchess of Malfi which I didn’t study because I decided to revise Othello and Dancing at Lughnasa instead, and so I decided on the poem. I think I did okay but I definitely made silly mistakes. For Part 2 I chose to revise the texts Oroonoko and Candide, both I enjoyed and felt I understood well. The question was nice and was based on their narrative in relation to travel. I think this was my best question as I felt the most comfortable answering it. Then Part 3 I did Dubliners where the question focused on gender which was brilliant for me, again a nice question but I probably missed out a few things in terms of the analysis. I won’t lie, this exam was hard and I came away a little deflated, but I drummed into my head that it was done and there’s nothing I can do other than pray that I don’t have to resit (please pray for me too!).
Exhausted and wanting nothing more than to sleep I got home, had some tea and it was upstairs to revise Philosophy. As I said earlier I didn’t feel too worried about this exam, but I still needed to ensure I had gone over everything. I found the YouTube channel Crash Course with John and Hank Green to be an absolute life saver for this exam, their videos on philosophy are fantastic and helped me a lot. Before going into the exam I was watching a few again so the material was fresh in my mind. I can’t quite remember the questions I had but I went for the questions on Philosophy of Religion (basically the arguments for and against God’s existence), Ethics, and The Self. I’m confident that I’ve passed this exam. I entered the exam room already exhausted and not ready for a three hour exam, but I had some water and sweets to give me a boost. The three hours strolled on by and the relief afterwards was amazing, and feeling like a free woman I strolled out of the exam hall ready to jump on a bus and return to my bed as soon as possible. Little did I know a surprise was waiting for me.
I pushed open the doors to the hall and made a beeline for the road leading to town and the bus station, then comes Sam behind me with party blowers. Apparently I walked straight past him as he blew one when I exited the exam hall- whoops! I don’t think I’ve ever been so surprised and happy to see a friendly face after such a long and exhausting few weeks. We had a wonderful time and the plans for sleeping the rest of the day away were out of the window, we grabbed a cone of chips and pigged out on Kaspa’s crepe and treated ourselves to seeing Wonder Woman at the cinema- by the way its awesome and you all need to see it!
All of this sounds like second year wasn’t so great but it was in its own way, but just incredibly hard work. The modules were great and I enjoyed all of the material, I just don’t fancy taking an exam again any time soon!
After a tough year I can happily announce that I achieved a 2:1 in Philosophy and a 2:2 in English Literature, a little sad about my English but I’m not surprised because the exam was just AWFUL. I am proud of myself though because I had doubts that I would even pass. I’m now even more excited for my FINAL year of Open University! The modules I’ve chosen are Children’s Literature and Key Questions in Philosophy. They both look interesting and a lot of fun (although I probably won’t be saying this when they both start), and it just seems crazy that this time next year I will be graduating.
Before I get ahead of myself and bury my head in text books again, I can be free and start uploading my book reviews and other life goings on again. I’ve missed blogging and talking to you all, thank you for sticking around and being your awesome selves.
Lots of love and appreciation,