Friday, October 15, 2010

Reflection on English Paper 1

I only got about three and a half hours sleep last night, as thoughts about today's exam were keeping me awake. It's not that I was nervous, but rather that I couldn't stop speculating about the exam. My mind was having a conversation with itself, and it was rather frustrating. Before I knew it, it was 6:30 A.M. My breakfast was scrambled eggs on toast, which is more breakfast than I'd have on a regular school day. As I started to put on my school uniform, it sunk in that I was going somewhere; that something important was happening today. I was planning to pump myself up for the exam by listening to music on the bus, however I reached into my pockets, only to realise that I had left my headphones at home. I thought that may have been a bad omen for things to follow. When I arrived at school, I felt relatively relaxed. I was all smiles, and was pretty happy to see all of my mates again.

Upon finding my seat in the exam room, I tried to feel as natural as possible, and block out the fact that I was sitting a HSC exam. I thought that the new three-page writing booklets were an unnecessary change, although they made me feel as though I was writing more than usual...I think that's because I was. As usual, I did the exam in chronological order; a decision that I now regret. Personally, I thought that the reading task was particularly challenging. I found the wording of the questions to be a bit vague, and didn't like how the theme of family was tied in with each question. It's as if we were being tested on that theme, as well as belonging. (Random fact: the word family was said on Home and Away almost at the exact same time that I typed the word, two sentences ago.) The first text, i.e. the artwork, was deceptively simple, however I haven't spoken to anybody so far who interpreted it the same way as me. I think I looked too far into it. The second text (the one about the two brothers) was easy to read, but I think that it could be interpreted from a variety of perspectives. I'm not gonna lie - I found it somewhat confusing. I absolutely HATED the third text (the one with the three sisters and Beth), and pretty much bullshat (past tense of bullshit) my way through its adjoining question. As for the poem, I actually liked it from an aesthetic point of view. I understood it to a fair extent, although I'm not sure if my interpretation matched the poet's intentions. I took it to be about the importance of examining the entire human experience, not just the good times. For the five-mark question, I chose the second text, as well as the poem. Overall, I wasn't happy with the texts that were chosen for this section, nor with my ability to persevere with them.

My eyes lit up when I found out that we could write the creative piece in any imaginative form. I went with my forte - writing a speech. My speeches on belonging always follow the same format. I assume the role of a teenage male (meant to symbolise me) who is warning his friends (who generally agree with him) of the dangers of conformity, and call upon examples of thoughtlessness and insolence amongst Generation Y. I was speaking to Antonio before the exam, and he comically suggested that I should just regurgitate my blog entry The Introverted Extrovert (Where I Fit on the Social Spectrum). Believe it or not, I actually used parts of that entry in my speech today. It just came naturally. I've lost count of the number of times I've criticised Generation Y over the Internet. So, my speech was a bit of a rant on today's music, the death of common courtesy, and what our generation is like at parties. I began the speech with the third piece of stimulus, if you're interested. Overall, I think that this was my most cohesive section, and the one that I'll get the best marks for.

Now for my reflections on the essay. I have a confession to make. Remember how I told you all that I'm against memorising essays for the HSC? Well, I memorised an essay for today's exam. This essay is the same one that I used for the half-yearly exam. I tweaked it for the trial exam by changing one idea completely, and including Radiohead's song Creep as a second supplementary text. For today's exam, I changed my paragraph about Creep into a paragraph about the film American Beauty. So, my sole related text was that film, which just so happens to be my favourite film. The question was fairly basic, yet I still didn't bother to tweak my memorised essay to perfectly match the question, which made me feel lazy and stupid, in a sense. Anyway, I was writing practically non-stop for 35 minutes, and my hand/arm was killing me. The worst part of it all? I didn't finish. This wasn't too much of a disappointment when "pens down" was called, as I had practically accepted resignation when there were ten minutes to go. I just knew that I wouldn't make it. I simply can't write fast enough (as explained in my blog The HSC - A Test of Knowledge? I Don't Think So.). It's not like I just didn't finish the conclusion either...I didn't finish the conclusion AND half of my last body paragraph. If it's any consolation, I wrote five and a half pages, which is the highest number of pages that I have ever written in an extended response for any subject. Yes; I'm being serious. Some people would laugh at that fact, but I was pretty pleased to reach that personal achievement.

In the end, any disappointment about not finishing was quenched by the feeling of knocking over my first HSC exam. I just can't wait for this shit to be over. Today's exam pretty much confirmed that an ATAR in the 90s is out of my reach, but I never had the self-belief in the first place, so what's there to be crushed about? It's no big deal. Seriously, I will be pleased with anything in the 70s or 80s.

Oh, and on a side note...over the past two days, I've found out that this blog attracts more people than I originally thought. A few people have come up to me and professed their love for my blog. Thanks guys! Your comments mean a lot.


1 comment:

  1. steven... as per usual your blogs are both insightful and honest which i believe is a great reflection of your comfort in expressing what you believe. i really like this one. keep it up.