Surface Break

I decided to post something here today, just to say hey, and maybe, just maybe, to bitch a little bit. Particularly about this (slow load, and it opens in a new window).

I’m still not sure how much bitching I’m going to do.

The exams are going well. They are all suspiciously easy, however. I don’t attribute that to any heavy studying, because, well, people who haven’t studied much at all (myself included on some of them) think they’re easy as well. I would expect the IB exams to be easier, because of the way the program works. For those that don’t know, IB courses consists of internal and exteral assessments. Every course has at least one internal assessment, graded by your teacher, that covers some portion of your studies for the one or two years that you take the course. For example, English A1 Higher Level is a two year course in IB’s eyes. It’s broken into four Parts: World Literature in Translation (Part I), a detailed study of four authors from different genres (Part II), four works by different authors connected by genre (Part III), and the school’s free choice of 4 works by different authors, 3 in English, 1 translated (Part IV). We do Parts I and IV in our junoir year, and complete two short papers (1500 words) as the assessments for Part I (see my Guilt and Confession… and Barbaric Sex essays) and a 10-15 minute presentation as assement for Part IV. These are graded by the teacher, although a sampling of the papers are sent in, so that IB can assess the teacher’s assessment. Um… yeah. Anyway, senior year we do Parts II and III, and record a 10-15 minute commentary on a randomly chosen passage or poem from a Part II work (which I bombed, due to my nervousness with regards to recorders of any type). That leaves Part III, right? Well, that’s what the external assessment is on. The external assessment is the English A1 HL Paper I and Paper II on that schedule up there I just decided not to bitch about. Paper I is a two-hour commentary on a prose passage or poem we have never seen before (unless you are a major poetry buff and read probably obscure writers). Paper II is a two-hour essay (from a variety of choices of topics) on two or three of the Part III works we studied. For example, we studied The Stranger by Camus, The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald (bleh), Jane Eyre by Brontë, and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Hurston (which I didn’t even finish reading, I must confess; any book with so much dialect that it slows my reading rate to about 30 pages an hour and almost forces me to read it aloud gets a “bleh” from me, even if the plot and characters are damned interesting). I’m not going to say what was on the papers, but I loved the poem I wrote on (I may find a way to “randomly” mention the poem sometime during the summer) and I managed to know what I was writing about on Paper II, and if parts of my paper were a little weak (like my thesis), I amply proved that I have studied the works and could point out tone, symbolism, yakkity-smackity, as well as specific examples (although not quotes) from the books, which is really the purpose of the exam. With the French exam, the fact that we do a recorded oral presentation as an internal assessment prevents us from having to do a verbal section on the IB exam (which, I might note, is included on the French AP exam, which I am happily not taking).

But, as I said, the exams are all going well for the most part, especially given that my health is still good (for the last 3 years I’ve gotten sick during exam times) and my stress levels are low. My new slacker mentality is extending itself to include these exams as well, I’m afraid. I can’t get credit for French at RHIT, as they don’t offer French, so the purpose of that exam is only to get the IB Diploma, which is second place in my mind. I don’t want Physics credit, because I understand so little physics that if I place in a higher class than Electromagnetism I (Mechanics I I think I can do without), I’m screwed. Besides, I need a different perspective on physics than the one I’ve had for the past three years. Dr. M. (my teacher these three years) knows what he’s talking about, he just doesn’t teach well. I bombed the AP English Literature exam (I hadn’t written a 40 minute essay, much less three, since last year’s AP English exam and tried to write too much on the first one), but I think the IB scores will compensate for that, giving me credit for two courses, I believe (the first two semesters of courses… I think). That’s good, since I’m still planning on minoring in English and Literature.

My four days of math exams went well also. I didn’t know what “fixed iterations” were, so I lost at least 5 marks on the Math Methods Paper II Calculus problem, but I could still land a 6 (out of 7), if the Computer Science test from last year was any indication. If I’d had a good calculator, I would have done the statistics problem instead, as I could have nailed that one, but the stat package on the TI-86 is rather skimpy. The AP Statistics exam (on which I got to use my trusty TI-89, which is banned from IB exams) was scarily easy. I know some people have to take alternates (meaning that, due to conflicts, they have to take a different edition of the exam later this month) and all that good stuff, so I won’t say why, but I was rather shocked; the most difficult topic, in my opinion, was tested by only a question or two on the multiple choice section, and nothing on the free-response section. What the…? The AP Calculus exam was a little more difficult, but still easier than I expected, given that I studied not a lick. What I didn’t know how to do, I didn’t know at all, so there wasn’t much problem in whether I should leave certain choices blank or not (which were only three on the calculator multiple-choice), and on the free-response, I bullshitted enough to be able to at least get a couple of the marks points (damn IB and their “foreign” ways) out of the 9 available for each problem. They’re quite lenient with giving out points, from what we’ve seen in class.

The hardest ones are the ones remaining, though. Physics (all three days of it) is going to kick my ass all over the place, and I’m doing my best to be nonchalant about it, but I still have to report these scores, ya know? And RHIT (and the Dean of Admissions, a very nice guy) seem to have such high expections… I would hate to have to report a 2 or 3 on the AP exam, or to not be able to get my IB Diploma because I got a 2 on the Physics Papers… Oh, well. Study, study, study, right?