UNISA exam results
By johan on Jul 18, 2005
This is so frustrating!
I started studying Spanish years ago for various reasons, but mostly to help fulfill my dream of travelling around Latin America one day. I started taking private Spanish lessons, but soon became frustrated at the slow pace. So, I decided to look at the formal Spanish program at the University of South Africa. I believe UNISA is the world's largest correspondence university, with over 150 thousand students, exam centres around the world, and degrees recognized internationally. While browsing the list of available courses, I decided, heck, why not just enroll for a full degree?
4 years ago we moved to Ireland. Elizabeth had started a BSc in Computer Science, and I reckoned it would be a good time to resurrect my unfinished degree. I needed to finish 3rd year Spanish, consisting of 5 papers:
SPS301HSpanish for translation
SPS302JSpanish for oral communication
SPS303KSpanish for professional purposes
SPS304LEncounters with Spanish American culture and literature
SPS305MReading and analysing literary texts in Spanish
I also needed a second major plus a least 2 more courses. Having done Psychology and Philosophy, I could have just carried on with one of them to complete my degree. Instead, since I have been interested in environmental issues, and would like to become familiar with GIS, I chose to do Geography.
Now, to compare the levels of difficulty between Spanish and Geography: I have completed all my 1st, 2nd and 3rd year Geography papers in less time that it will have taken me to complete only 3rd year Spanish!
I have passed 4 out of the 5 Spanish papers. Ironically, the paper that interests me the most, Encounters with Spanish American culture and literature, is the only one I keep failing. I started this whole degree based on my desire to travel and learn about Latin America, yet I can't even pass that exam. Some of the other papers were far more difficult than this one, especially the translation and literary analysis ones.
It is a very interesting paper covering the history and culture of Latin America from the ancient Maya, Aztec and Inca civilizations through the Spanish conquest, slavery, wars of independence to modern politics. The prescribed literature consists of the books "El coronel no tiene quien le escribe" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and "La muerte y la Doncella" by Ariel Dorfman. All together a pretty substantial amount of work which can be examined thoroughly.
However, the final paper contains only 3 questions, typically like:
"Violence and repression are central themes in Marquez's novel. Discuss."
Yet that short question counts 40% of the total mark!
Compared to any mathematics paper that is well designed to test the breadth of your knowledge and judge your reasoning capabilities in an objective manner, this is a complete joke.
Anyway, I have asked for the paper to be re-marked. Hopefully I get the few extra percent I need to pass this exam... otherwise I'll just have to persist until I eventually pass.