Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Great Cram of 2009

This is what I was doing over my winter break--stacking up books that I should've been reading. On January 12th and 23rd I had my two "comprehensive exams" to determine whether I can continue on in my phd program, the first on political theory and the second on public law. Each exam was an eight-hour exam consisting of three essay questions. The plan was to study over last summer, but when that didn't work out too well, the plan was to study during the fall semester, and when that didn't work out that well, the plan was to study over winter break, which I finally managed to do. The books shown in the photo are several (not all) of the books contained on my reading lists for the two exams. It was a miserable few weeks. However, I am also the master of distraction/avoidance,/procrastination, and even while studying during the last weeks in December and early January, I managed to read two entirely unrelated books (one of which was The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which I really liked. I recommend it for any Shakespeare and/or dog fans out there) and beat a video game (Call of Duty: World at War). I learned last week that I passed the political theory portion, and will hopefully find out that I passed the public law portion sometime this week. However, I will add a disclaimer that I think I really botched one of my public law essays. I wouldn't be entirely surprised by an inadequate overall score as a result (okay, a failing score--it is essentially pass/fail). If that is the case, I'd have to take it again in August. Hopefully that is not the case. The exams are graded by all the faculty teaching in those areas, and we can see their grade sheets/comments when they are done. It is an eye-opener seeing the range of grades different graders will give the same exam, some commenting how well you answered the question, others commenting that you didn't answer the question at all. You've got to love academia.