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Essayant de ne pas dormir

I’m not quite sure why I was fighting sleep in today’s French exam.  I got a solid eight-and-a-half hours last night.  I managed to pull through the exam alright.  As in, I don’t think I would have done any better had I been wide awake.  But still…

Anyway, to the point; French exams seem to have a tradition of people leaving insanely early, and at level 3, you would think this habit would subside a little, but clearly, it does not.  The first candidate in our room of eleven left after 90 minutes.  90 minutes.  Now, by this time, I was halfway through my reading paper—the second of three papers.  Within another fifteen minutes, the time it took me to read the next page-long text and answer a page of questions, another three candidates left.  I’m not sure whether they gave up or whether they finished.  (Two years ago, in level 1, it was “they finished”.)

The listening tape seemed strangely slower than level 3 tapes from previous years, which for someone like me is of course a more-than-welcome change.  Unfortunately it didn’t seem to have the consequence I would have liked; of the three excellence questions, I could only fully answer one.  Though then again, the slowness of the tape might have made the difference between achieved and merit, for me.  So I guess I should still be satisfied.

As for the reading, well, I think I understood everything but I have a tendency to sometimes understand things in “different” ways, which could well be reflected here.  The second text, which was about a New Zealander who went to France and became a highly influential singer without anyone back home knowing who he was, was more interesting than the first text, whose topic I can’t remember.

By the time I got to the writing, I think about half the class had left.  I had revised Le Petit Prince last night; naturally, I was anticipating writing about it because it’s the only thing I semi-cared about that we studied this year, and there’s traditionally been a literature question in the writing paper.  This year, the literature question asked how we can learn about another culture by engaging with French texts.

So I thought, what have I learnt about French culture from Le Petit Prince?  Well, I’ve learnt how stupidly brilliant children are and how brilliantly stupid adults are (so clearly we should all take our lives before adulthood, so that we don’t fall into the trap of becoming too “je suis sérieux, moi!”).  But French culture?  Hmm.  What about last year’s film, Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain?  Or that other film a group of friends and I went to watch last year, L’Enfer?  Hmm.  Well, nothing, really; works of literature are normally designed to communicate ideas, not cultures.  A diagonal line went through that question.

Of the other four, three looked boring so I ended up choosing the one about modern technology.  It was easy to think about ideas to write about, because it was an opinion-based question.  But I think I got carried away.  The question asked us to cover advantages and disadvantages, and how young people could live without cellphones and computer games.  My essay ended up being a rant about how people should stop blaming young people for everything, and how they should stop deluding themselves into thinking that technology is evil and should be avoided if at all possible.  I wonder if I’ll get penalised for it.  Last time I checked, sticking to the question wasn’t a criterion…

That was my last exam, which means I’m free—except that I need to prepare for that week-long trip to Wellington (I have a three-minute presentation to make), and I have very little time left to do so.  I can’t seem to get a break, can I?


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