As everyone back at IU struggled through finals week, I had my own bout of misery as well—Peruvian midterms.
Exams here are far different from exams in the United States. Whereas at IU we typically receive study guides or outlines that direct us toward what subjects and themes will be covered, here we were given hardly any instruction at all. Anything and everything that had been in readings or course materials up to that point was fair game, and little indication was offered as to what form the exams would take.
Of course, I panicked.
I attend my classes regularly, consult with groups for group projects and attempt every reading assigned, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m retaining any and all information. With everything in Spanish, taking in 100 percent of the material is nearly impossible. So when midterms snuck up on me, I buckled down and forced myself to concentrate on school work.
Going into exam week, I felt as though I had prepared to the best of my abilities, yet as the week went on, my exams grew harder. The first offered a list of nine questions, from which I only had to briefly respond to four. The second required me to thoroughly flush out two short response essays. And the last—I was required to write an analytical essay in less than two hours, a task that is difficult in English, let alone in Spanish.
By the time the week ended, my brain was fried. Never had I spent so much time drilling information into my brain, and never had I tried so hard time and again to understand the slightest dates and facts. Luckily, I have a nice, long weekend ahead of me to relax, take a breather and revel in what I just accomplished.
Because yes, I did survive Peruvian midterms—but that just means that finals will be right around the corner.