The Italian Oral Exam
I returned from Rome February 11th, a Tuesday afternoon, from then I would have 7 full days to study for my exam held the following Tuesday the 18th. It seemed like it was plausible to learn so much in 7 days, but then I realized the differences between Italian University and American University. At Union, every day I was expected to have prepared something for class, whether it was reading, writing a paper, or taking an exam. Contrasting this type of learning, the only thing I had done during the semester was attend class. And did I mention, I was attending Master Degree courses, in a foreign language, and in a subject I had never learned before?? I HAD to be crazy!
At this point I thought I had understood basic concepts, I had read through the entire book and the additional articles required for the class, yet I was entirely unaware of the kind of knowledge necessary to acquire to receive a high grade in an Oral exam. Studying with my friend Lina one afternoon proved to me that I knew nothing of the technique of how to study for an oral exam. You must be able to describe every term and concept and in a fluid way. You have to be prepared for follow up question, or prepared for a complete change in discourse. All I knew was that I would struggle to explain Law of European Policies in English, and doing the same in Italian would be a whole other endeavor. cazzo.
After studying with Lina I realized I had a lot more to study than I had thought. She outlined the topics that would be covered and explained some themes I found confusing which was very helpful, but still I wasn't near the level of proficiency that I was supposed to be at. I studied all weekend, taking one break to go out with Tori and the other americani on their last Saturday in Bologna, it was worth the study break, and then I was back to the grind! Tuesday morning before the exam I met with Lina to review. We went over everything and I was able to explain all of it, more or less... and I was feeling confident for the 3:30 exam.
|Osteria del Sole|
The final strange thing about the oral exam is that you still have to "verbalize" your grade. Technically the exam I took in december was a pre-exam date so the system for entering grades was not up. So La Endrici gave me a white piece of paper with my grade and topics we talked about, that I would have to return to her on the date of the verbalization of the grade (Jan 30). For a paper I wrote for Ricciardi I had to do the same thing, show up at the time of an exam and watch him put the grade into the system. It's a very strange concept, and very interesting because our English teacher verbalized our grades for us with out us having to return to do it in person (more efficient!). So without this verbalization I could have already been skiing in the Alps with Suzanne! But I had to be present today, so now I'm off to ski and enjoy the French Alps! A dopo!