I did it! Whew, this is a relief. Pardon me for this is going to be a long post...when I finished my A/S exams, I wrote a 12 page email to my history teacher in Romania...almost freaked him out LOL. So..sorry if I'm boring you with the details!
How it was...well my first thought was "THIS WAS HARD."
Obviously. I managed to write 7 pages in all, so I think I did quite well. I have to say what my pet peeve with myself was though...I am not British and while my language is good in speech, and essays on unforeseen texts, it is a little difficult to make sure I give clear arguments. I know what I want to say, it's getting it out in the best way that's the problem. It's just a small problem, and I *can* write fluently; it's just where I think I have a weakness. I prefer computers where I can edit till I get perfection.
The first question spoke about causes, how the economic world can be influenced by the government structure but these causes are not synchronous et cetera. I'm a bit peeved at the fact that I interpreted the words "prior to" as giving importance to a cause over another - which, in my opinion, the historian was saying not to do, that we must develop a more complex interpretation. I checked the dictionary at home and 'prior to' means "before"..*sigh* in my language, prior comes from priority. It's not that big a deal though, and since the paper said there is no "right" and "wrong" answer, maybe my interpretation was alright...I'm not sure. I'm inclined to say it was.
The second question was to write 10-15 lines on explaining what the extract was saying. I said what its main argument was, with my own words and basically said what I understood was implying i.e - I spoke about how I believed he was arguing a historian's argument changes over time because it is a reflection of the society he lives in...how one must have a broad interpretation of causes because saying one cause has primordial importance (using stereotypes) over the other, can cause problems with its inflexibility etc etc etc. I wrote 12 or 13 lines...not too much or too little. Quoted a few key words.
Then came the first essay. In the essay, I talked about the German Reformation so it was useful I revised that since it was the topic I did last year. The question asked to write about several causes (political, ideological, economic, religious) which led to a period of change. I had to focus on the interraction between these. So when I did the essay I tried to not write an essay about Martin Luther, and talk about each cause in particular, but focus on the causes of the reformation in interraction. I challenged this idea of interraction by talking about how:
- one cause can be both advantageous and detrimental to the Reformation - e.g. Luther's religious and ideological causes let him befriend humanists and later created him enemies among the same group.
- how the interraction of three causes can vary with different levels of society - e.g Peasants war - ideological, religious and economic causes vs. princely reformation - same causes, different consequences. Basically the causes when they interract can either speed up or hinder the reformation.
- I also mentioned that, like the previous article we got in the exam says, these causes are not synchronous. The religious and economic causes were long embedded in the society while others such as the political causes (Habsburg problems) and cultural - printing presses - were more new...so basically my conclusion was that these causes interract to bring change, historical development but they don't have a straightforward, equal and parallel line of progression.
And I forgot what else. I think it was 3 sides.
Then came question 4...why do the historians' arguments change over time in order to state different causes were more important, or had a bigger impact. I wrote one side like it asked and I spoke in more detail about society and how it can reflect the historian's outlook - e.g. Victorian age historians were more optimistic in their approaches, but 60 yrs later they could voice the scepticism and bewilderment of a beat generation. I talked about how the dual function of history is to understand the past to increase our mastery over the present and that the present plays a big role in the interpretation of the past...if the present society changes, the historian is likely to choose different arguments, different causes etc. I forgot how exactly I phrased it and what I else I wrote though. I'm sure I had a little more though...hmmm. Oh well.
Then came section 2...the text where I had to read between the lines. THAT was challening - all we got was a small paragraph in which a dead king as eulogised. It was hard to choose things but I remember it said write one to two sides...I wrote one and a half or a lil more than one and a half. I gave some crazy arguments LOL...some less crazy and more obvious, what I thought basically. I ran out of time there, I managed to finish just in time but I wish I had spent less on section one. But yeah, in section 2 I tried to make some less obvious deductions and just tried my best. It wasn't about being accurate anyways, just about imagination. Hopefully I'll get in...I have no idea. By the way is it ok I described this here? If it is not allowed to share or anything, feel free to delete the post.
I couldn't check with *my* history teacher today because she isn't in charge of Oxford and she's basically not really interested in that, and my other teacher had classes today. It was me who decided to apply and my Head Of Yr supported my decision...but he doesn't teach history so that was the prob with talking 'bout it!
I *so* hope I got in...I really want to embark that Modern History course they offer. I have no idea, based on what I wrote, whether they'll accept me or not. We'll see in a few days. I have to say while it was stressful, I really enjoyed it.
Thanks again for your help.
Edited by Satirical, 03 November 2004 - 08:52 PM.