Over the past two weeks, I have spent a lot of time with pen in hand, marking the collections (i.e. mock exams) sat by first years and Finalists over the Royal Wedding weekend. This exercise brought home to me one of the glorious peculiarities of the Oxford humanities degree – you’re trained to think by writing weekly tutorial essays 3-5 typed A4 pages in length, but actually assessed on a rather a different genre, the 2-3 page handwritten (or scrawled) exam essay. Most students don’t get to see exam essays written by anyone other than themselves. Even though the Faculty produces careful explanations of the criteria for a First Class history exam answer, the majority of our students have never seen one – they are elusive and semi-mythical, unicorn-like.
|Planning my exam answers...|