For the past 3 weeks, I’ve been in exam period. Having already taken four of my five exams, one would think that I’d be nearly relieved of all the stress involved with exam period. However, it is not really so.

Let me visualize this: it’s like a steeplechase course. Steeplechase and not hurdles, because hurdles are all the same size. And this steeplechase course is one with five hurdles, one for each exam, but imagine the solar system’s first five planets, and their relative sizes. Now match these up, respective to each hurdle. This is how I went into this exam period: First exam, ah piece of cake. Second one.. not too bad. Third one, ok slightly harder. Fourth one, ah no problem.. and then I look ahead. In the distance, there looms the last hurdle, heavy and thick, oozing with malice, weapons of confusing gas, to make you completely lost in its midst, if by chance you can’t catapult yourself over the top.

This last hurdle is 2 days away: Algebra/Geometry exam – Wednesday, May 25th, 2011. But I am not completely despondent.
This was my strategy, one which I hope really has paid off. First, I have been keeping track of how many hours I study specifically for this exam per day. This numeric is in order to keep me motivated, and to have a goal to which I hold myself. Secondly, I recognized that my greatest difficulty is the fact that all the notes and course is written in french. In order to combat this, I have been diligently translating the important points in each chapter. First I tried to translate all of the text, but realized that dwelling on little sections that are not too important was less efficient than if I just went over the propositions, theorems, corollaries, and remarks written in bold. So after two chapters entirely translated, I rewrote just the bold text. When I stumbled upon notation that I didn’t get within an instant, I highlighted it separately, and tried to visualize, or in case it was just something different than what I was used to from the USA, I’d clarify in the translated notes.

To keep my brain from passing over information, I used other kind of tactics intermingled with this translation. These varied from copying demonstrations, then trying to rewrite them myself, to rewriting the correction of the midterm which I had failed miserably in March. In fact this last one was quite a confidence booster because as I rewrote the answers, they made complete sense, and really didn’t seem as convoluted as it seemed to me that day in March.

Now the killer hurdle doesn’t seem as impossible anymore. In any case, I will have done almost everything in my power to get the highest score I can.

Current tally of hours: 35.5
Goal before exam: 40

Update: total hrs: 52, exam score: 7.06/20. => need for oral exam with teacher.
Studied another 10 hrs before it the oral exam. Result:
Oral exam completed: Je l’avais déchiré. 🙂

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