Groningen – this exam lark

Well, I can only apologise most heartily for my recently sporadic updates of this here blog. I’m afraid that the end of the first semester (and thus wishing farewell to those friends only spending a semester here) with all its parties and general festivities, plus the exams I had to sit for my courses, made me a very busy bee indeed. But now I find myself in January, in a student house rather depleted in numbers (the semester two students don’t arrive until February), with my exams all behind me (resits permitting) and free time stretching out invitingly until next semester commences. So I figured that a blog might be due…

I’ve got quite a lot to talk about, but I’ll focus this entry on trying to let you know a bit about exams and related information. Now, as I mentioned in a previous blog, I was a bit silly in choosing my courses and ended up with a seriously unbalanced workload. Out of my 60 required EC credits for the year, about 45 credits worth of these were to be earned from courses taken in my first semester. Which would have meant a wonderfully relaxed second semester for me, but also had the result of me receiving my exam timetable and groaning at the prospect of four consecutive days packed with five exams (and then another after the christmas break).

I made a valiant attempt to cram all of the necessary information into me head, composing one ridiculously impossible revision schedule after another, until I finally came to the conclusion that I could a) continue on this path until my head exploded b) at best, scrape though all of my exams, or c) drop one of my courses and then stand a better chance at succeeding in the others.

I chose option c, and somewhat nervously made my way to the international office, only one week before exams were due to commence, to tell them that I wanted to drop a class. I was kind of expecting my request to be turned down, or, at the very best, to be accepted with stony disapproval. What I didn’t expect, was for the esteemed Ms Astrid van Dort (Senior Exchange Officer) to take one look at my current course selection, smile, and say ‘Of course, that was far too many courses to be taking! What would you like to change it to?’

To be honest, I was already pleasantly surprised that she didn’t need to ask my name, as I’d only visited the international office once before at the very start of term, and am one of hundreds of exchange students (and that’s just in the law faculty).

But anyway, my heavy exam burden was lightened in the work of a moment. I still had four consecutive days of exams, but only one exam a day, which was slightly better than before. The close proximity of each exam to the next meant that I had to adjust my revision techniques from what would be the norm for me back in Edinburgh, where I’ve almost always had a couple of days between exams to revise (or, in some cases, learn) the subject. In short, it meant four days containing precious little sleep, but it also encouraged me to do a bit more work beforehand than I might otherwise have done, which might well be a good habit to get into.

Anyway, I’m now off to enjoy my freedom. Farewell for now!

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