Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not-so-secret Hermione

I admit it, I relish big exams. I relish a studying challenge. Well, I hate it while doing it, but I enjoy the challenge, the planning, the feeling of undertaking a giant mission. And finally, and most importantly, the relief and sense of accomplishment when it is all done.  But I'm talking the really big exams here. The bar exams. The boards. Finals at college that are really finals - i.e. year or course-end cumulative finals.

When I did my equivalent of bar exams in the UK, back in the day, I'd go to a quiet corner of the law library and settle myself in, plotting out 12 hour days. Yes, 12 hours. That was only at the very end, of course, when I took some time off work to study. Prior to that it had been mere 8 hour days at weekends. I'd plan out what I'd study, when I'd take breaks. Where I'd eat. All of that. And then I'd hole myself up, dig in, and not permit myself any distractions. 

For acupuncture, the big deal is the boards. There are 4 boards as far as I can tell, although it may be 5 - I get confused because they changed the rules, and then people complained and they changed them back. So sometimes I think something is right, but then I find that that was what it was going to be, but isn't now. Confusing, huh. You have to pass varying numbers for licensing in various states.  For my state, I could get away with 3, although my plan is to do all 4 (or 5) so that I could possibly move to another state if I wanted to. Besides, it's just better to do them all.  Some of them I can do pre-graduation, after a certain number of credit hours, some I may wait until after graduation.  In preparation for the boards, my school has cumulative year-end exams. So at the end of the first year, you review anything you've ever studied that might come up on the boards. At the end of the second year, ditto. At the end of the third year, you're basically taking exams that are the equivalent of the boards, so it's good practice.

We got our class schedules for next semester this week (although I should say trimester as there are three terms in the school year, not two, but trimester is uncomfortably pregnancy-related), and there looming on it is the year-end exam.  It scared me at first, and I felt like I couldn't possibly fit in enough studying for it. But then my inner Hermione kicked in, and I dug out a notebook and started mapping out a study plan. It is uber-ambitious. My classmates would probably kill me if they found out how much I'm planning on doing.  But several of them have said they're just going to study all semester long, and that's what I'm planning, so maybe they are being equally ambitious.  Although I tend to like to go back and read the textbooks and then study from study aids or tables, rather than stick with the Cliff notes all along.  I am probably therefore planning on more hours than most.

Doing the study plan made me feel good in the moment, but now I have to admit, looking at it gives me a sinking feeling in my stomach again. Erk.  OK, I just have to keep my eyes on the prize. Relish the challenge, and all that. I can DO this. 


Almamay said...

I do so love your your approach. I've rarely met anybody who feels the same about exams. I kind of look forward to them as a way of showing how hard I've worked throughout the years. Obviously you can't learn everything but when you've worked very hard you are there to show them what you HAVE learned. You CAN do this.

Stephanie said...

Of COURSE you can do this!! :)

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