Both the meeting with Dr. Hurrell this evening and the exchange dinner went well. Apparently, my practice QT would have scored around 64, which he considers to be a good pass. He made some suggestions for things I can work on during the next week and predicts that I will score between 67 and 69 on the real test. Tomorrow, I get back to revising and writing my own practice essays. Above all, he stressed the importance of constantly sign-posting: indicating in the introduction not only what points you will make, but hinting at their content and stressing their relation to your main thesis. Doing so contradicts the aesthetic style of unfolding argument that I prefer, but it’s hardly up to me to set the style for the qualifying test.
I also need to make one of my classic pre-exam lists of specific points made by authors that are likely to be useful for essays. When you can attribute something relatively obscure that is related to the question under discussion, it creates the impression that you have a really extensive grasp of the reading material. While that might be true when you are writing a paper, it can only really be simulated on a test that covers such a broad collection of materials.
I am to meet with Dr. Hurrell again before the end of the break, to discuss emerging thesis plans.
The exchange dinner was fun, particularly insofar as it involved talking with Lucy, Leonora, and their friend Anna in the MCR afterwards. The exchange dinner itself seemed more sparsely attended than the one in Cambridge was. I suppose twenty or so people take up much less of our hall than they would at Christ College. It’s also rather less of a to-do to have dinner in your own college than it is to cross much of the country. I appreciated the fact that the vegetarian options were quite good.
After the gathering in the MCR really died down, it was nice to have a cup of tea with Anna at the G and D’s on Little Clarendon Street: one of my favourite bits of Oxford, especially as it appears at night.
- The iPod Shuffle is a brilliant little device. Worn in a shirt pocket, you barely feel it. Somehow, music sounds better from a device that you don’t even notice that you’re carrying.