Difficult Exams are like Skydiving Without a Parachute: You Might Just Make It.

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If you don’t get this joke there is still hope for you. For the rest (like me) there is only therapy.

You have good exams and you have bad exams. I don’t mean life exams or any other deep stuff like that; I mean sit-ins, pen and paper exams, the ones you need to study for or stay home. In my student life I had mostly good exams. Not that I’m bragging or anything, but I get pretty good grades. Ok I’m bragging, so what? Most of my exams ended with well-earned good results for which I studied hard. Except THAT ONE. The exam that was left in history as the horrible, despicable, Phonetics exam!

Lecture after lecture I was left with a sound and reassuring impression I understood the stuff. It made sense. It was oh-so-logic. In retrospect I think this might have been because it was taught by a teacher who I previously had for other courses, and from whom I knew I understood very well. He is a good teacher, knows how to explain, and it is only because of him I managed to pass the god damn thing anyway. He would make funny association as “ the Hugh Grant sound”, the “ cat A” and other weird stuff that made us laugh and therefore remember them.

So together with this awesome feeling that I knew everything I started doing my revision and started to practice phonetic transcription. And lo and behold: I knew nothing. Every time I transcribed a word and then checked in the dictionary something equally strange and different was staring back. Late nights would find me surrounded by loads of paper, empty coffee mugs, and a ton and a half of frustration. In the end I had to give up and tell myself I won’t show up for the exam and just go through the whole thing for the re-examination. I had never failed an exam before. Son of a… Read the rest of this entry »