Plans Are Being Made

(and I have no need to hide them on a curtain)

Whisper it folks, but exam season is approaching. Or don’t whisper it. Shout it. Love it. Relish it! Sing from the rooftops that you’ve got three hours to show you’re slightly more than competent at whatever subject you’ve decided or been forced to do, and you could do it in two! Honestly, this is my approach to exams: if I succeed and get a decent mark, it shows I’ve engaged with the material and can produce work in response to it that other, more educated, people deem to be ‘good’; and if I fail and scrape a 41%, it only necessarily shows that I’m bad at exams, and will take nothing away from the genuine enjoyment I’ve got out of studying those texts over the year. Obviously, this can be inverted into a pessimistic slant – that success in exams doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a good writer, and that failure means I am necessarily a bad one – but I’m capable of at least some optimism in my life, okay?

With that in mind, I’ve spent the afternoon making plans for my impending revision: I’ll work on this theme on this day, and this text on another, all on a big-ass calendar that’s been basically useless since I got it at New Year’s, but is now covered in colourful scrawlings and motivational Mass Effect quotes.

I know I won’t stick to this plan to the letter, as well; this plan is an ideal, in which I basically rote-learn the entirety of the last 500 years of English literature in about a month and become capable of discussing said material at a first-getting level. The good thing about having an unrealistic plan, however, is that it always gives me more things to do – even if I somehow complete one module’s worth of work, I’ll definitely be behind in at least another module – and for me, failure is an exclusively motivational experience. If I don’t do all the things I plan to this weekend, I just try to do them on Monday, rather than wallowing in self-pity that I’ve been beaten by a highlighted to-do list on a calendar. Considering I’m at UCL, and have a shit-load of admittedly pretty good grades in the past, I’m comfortable saying that for me, all work is good work, so getting through 60% of an unrealistic schedule is 60% of things that I have done, and done well, rather than missing out of 40% of what was ultimately an ungrounded, hypothetical schedule in the first place.

Of course, I could crash and burn this May, repeat the year and basically lose contact with all my friends who are edging ever closer to real life while I’m learning about the fundamental pointlessness of the battle in Heaven in Paradise Lost (again); but until that happens, I have a month to learn this shit, so I’ll learn it. I’ve spent the year writing for magazines, playing dodgeball and generally making up for the last eighteen years of not having a particularly diverse or rewarding life; but now I’ll put that stuff aside and go be a revision machine for the next month.

Because I wanna know if I’ve still got it.

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16 thoughts on “Plans Are Being Made

  1. First off: good luck (but I’m sure you’ll be absolutely fine; you’re a pretty good writer and I’m sure your English-y skills are great) … And secondly….what’s a pass mark/grade/doodah? O.O
    You may have specified but I’m confused.

    1. 40% is the pass mark for this year – I got 60 on my first essay back in September so there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. This year counts for nothing towards my overall degree, and my final grade isn’t put on record, it only says ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. In reality, I could get a 41, then boast to have gotten an 80 (the highest mark) and no-one would be any the wiser.

      And re. 80 being the highest mark, the ‘grading’ system such as it is is a bit daft. Above 70 is equivalent to a First Class Degree (a first), above 60 is the top half of a Second Class Degree (a 2.1), above 50 is the latter half of a Second Class Degree (a 2.2), and above the fail mark of 40 is a Third Class degree (a third). Roughly, a first is an A*, a 2.1 an A, a 2.2 a B and a third a C. But really I should be getting a first, no questions asked.

      1. It’s so…like, now that you’ve explained it, I get it, but it seems quite baffling from the viewpoint of a meek little Year 10 such as myself. Amazing how it’s not all that important for the overall degree. Ah this fancy uni way of grading! Very different!

        1. By ‘not all that’ you mean ‘totally irrelevant’ – like most other courses have 10% of the first year count for their final grade, but not ours! And it basically replaces lettered grades with numbered ones, nothing too crazy.

          1. I get numbers for grades during term time (as well as written reports) so that wasn’t too alien

            1. Ha! We’ve had a few weird grading systems (basically everyone seemed to hate letters) and now we’re doing numbers. I prefer them over actual lines of “she could do blah blah more” though.
              Next year when us lot do GCSEs….*results day* what are those weird…weird..symbols?

            2. They’re called ‘letters’ dude – people that aren’t as into maths as you are tend to use them as a form of communication. Strange I know, but you’ll get used to them.

            3. If it’s any consolation, at least you’ve sussed out the English language – i.e. maths has just been a “supplement” here.

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