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Exams in another country.


One of the things that it can be easy to forget on a year abroad is that you are actually still at university. And university, like any other part of grading in the past requires individuals to stand up and be graded. For this the University of Copenhagen has a multitude of different methods than Edinburgh.


For my final exam of the year I was given an oral examination, something that likely only language students in Edinburgh would be used to. The prospect was extremely daunting; knowing that for 30 minutes I was expected to speak about something I didn’t know an awful lot about whilst the tutor, someone who does know an awful, awful lot about the course sits and listens to me. For days before I was frantically reading every bit on The Great Vowel Shift (my chosen topic) that I could find, sweating at the idea that such a knowledgeable man as Steen Stingaard would be assessing me (the fact that I also wanted to impress him because he was super cool and had a wildly impressive encyclopaedic knowledge might have had some say in that as well). However the very same passion and knowledge for the subject that I feared also turned out to be my saving grace. As the gentleman almost talked the whole 30 minutes for me, showing off his wonderful insight into the area. Occasionally leading me with questions of ‘do you agree…?’ with a replying head nod sometimes being all that was necessary.


Another exam type that I dreaded but this time with actual reason was the dreaded 24 hour paper that the university offered. This paper idea from hell is basically designed to cause the largest amount of discomfort to you as possible and make suer you get no more than half an hour’s sleep in the aforementioned amount of time and no more than 0.8mgs of dopamine in your blood cells until the task is completed. Even worse for this is that being back in Britain I had beforehand planned to stay at a friend’s house at that time. Which basically meant I had to be locked away, only being dragged out of my lair for occasional feasting. The problem with having to write an essay at four in the morning is that little of what you say actually makes sense, with random concentration gaps common and expected, thus leaving you writing again after a few minutes having completely forgotten your trail of duck fish pond. At the end of the 24 hours I was an absolute mess, that just managed to hit ‘send’ before the final deadline and then never ever wanted to hear another word said about semantics again.


A much more welcome assessment type was that of the week long essay, which required not too much preparation beforehand as plenty of reading could be achieved during the time and under little pressure. Funnily enough I faired much better in this examination type than the 24 hour one, although it did take a whole week out of you, the only downside.


In the end I only ended up doing a single standard written assessment, which was quite a welcome change in fact, and overall the new and exciting (for some) form of examination was highly appreciated.

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