Friday, 16 May 2008

Exams, Exams, Exams

I feel gutted that the only post I have written recently was of a lovely LOL Catz cat, the reason for this lack of blogging was, yep you guessed it, Exams. In the past two weeks I have had Making of Modern Russian Culture, Russian Cinema: Men and Women, Use of Russian, Czech Language part a, Czech Language part b, Russian Oral, Russian Listening and Russian Translation. I'd like to say at this point that I am done but I still have 3 left- Czech Oral, Czech Listening and Russian Poetry.

I think that being a Foreign Language student gives you not only more exams but also exams that test you in a variety of ways. While some of my other friends get to do experiments, build bridges or make posters my exams consist of using 4 out of the 5 sense. The hardest by far being oral, I think anyone who has ever had to go through type of exam will agree that it is possibly one of the worst experience ever.

In my experience Oral exams last 15 minutes, you have to give a presentation then discuss it with 2 or 3 native speakers. Sadly the exam boards never want to hear you talk about your weekend or your opinions on Russian Music or French Cinema, they want more meaty topics like 'Death Penalty: Good thing or bad thing? Discuss' or 'In 5 minutes some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Euro, paying special attention to it's affect on French life and society'. Basically topics that I either do not care about or would struggle to have a coherent argument with anyone about in English.

Now anyone who knows me will know that I have not problem with talking and have been told to shut up by most of my friends on a fairly regular basis, so no problem there. The problem I find is that you have to react on the spot where as in a written exam you can mull over the question and eventually write a sterling answer with orals you have to think of a reply on the spot then translation that reply into word perfect Russian, Czech or French etc. A good way I was taught to buy time was to either ask for the question to be repeated if you do not quite understand it or to start saying phrases like 'Oh wow that's a very good question hum well..' I think that the thing that puts me off during them is that in ever Oral ever taken the examiners always stay neutral and do not convey emotion so you have no gage of whether you are chatting like a Native or simply embarrassing yourself with grammar that is only accepted in conversation if you are a toddler.

On that note it is off to prepare for my Czech oral exam on Tuesday, if all goes well with my exams I should be in Moscow from September 3rd if I've really ballsed it up then it's back to second year for me. If anyone has any stress tips please let me know them!

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