Friday, April 29, 2005

Much Ado About Revision

Much Ado About Revision

The wave of exhaustion that was being put off courtesy of free theatre tickets and being metres away from Paddy Marber now seems to have hit. Not really physical exhaustion, though the aching arms do seem to have reappeared, but more mental. In that there really is a limit to how many days running you revise for eight to ten hours a day with total involvement. Since Sunday I've covered Shakespeare's Comedies (AYLI, A Dream, Much Ado, Shrew,TN), Tragedies (Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Lear, Macbeth, Othello) and Late Plays (Winter's Tale, Pericles, Tempest), gone through four different topics for my language paper (including deciding in the library on Thursday morning that the way forward was to abandon media language for the 'code' and 'register' section because everyone does it and, in light of all the who-ha at the moment, focus in on political code and register because very few people do. And once you're in a field of four rather than 34 the odds of getting a good mark start looking much better) and today I covered 15 mystery plays and their historical background. In the case of the Ludus Coventraie Passion Play seeing Jesus Christ Superstar on repeat seems to have aided the memory process. I also re-read Examination Reports in the light of what I now know about my subjects. I felt smug until I got to paper three of seven. After which I wished that I hadn't started reading them in the first place.

Tomorrow? Sidney and other Renaissance poets. Sunday? Re-read Troilus and Criseyde for commentary paper and then learn all of its sources. Monday? Canterbury Tales. Tuesday? Renaissance Comedies. Wednesday? Political language and my ever favourite Trotsky's dustbin topic, Rhetoric. Thursday is officially my day off, but as of Friday (Shakespeare plays that I haven't yet covered) I'm back on the treadmill. Which doesn't stop until 12:30 on the 26th of May when I come out of exam schools. And promptly fall in a heap in the midst of the high street and am fined by the Proctors* for cluttering up the pavement**.

The odd thing seems to be that I'm not panicking. Which given that the college is fast becoming filled with headless chicken third and fourth years seems strange. But, examination reports aside, I'm strangely calm. Maybe I'm doing that whole detached from my body thing. Maybe I'm too tired to have the energy required for all out panic. The problem here? Because I'm doing my revision, ticking off the boxes and feeling fairly confident once I've covered something the nasty voice in my ear - much like Satan in the mystery plays - starts whispering about Firsts. Which is not a way to go. Realistically I haven't done enough work to get a First. But then Mr Satan notes that I've gotten firsts on all my essays in the last two terms (rhetoric, of course, excluded). My sensible head points out that I didn't get firsts on the majority of essays in my second year. Mainly it must be said because I wrote a worrying proportion of them at five in the morning. If I'm honest my competitive streak is kicking in, even with the tiredness. Statistically two people at St Anne's are going to get firsts in English. I'd like to be one of them. I think on this score I have to stop replaying the maths in my head. So if Mr Satan could return to annoying Jesus in the Chester cycle and let me get on with finding out what the heck the difference between Classical and Renaissance rhetoric is, I'd be much obliged.

*The Oxford University equivalent of the police.

**Not as far-fetched as it sounds. They have the 'fun tax'*** which means that they give on the spot fines for any type of pavement littering, splashing or covering during post-exam celebrations.

***Surprisingly that's not its official name.

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