Everyday life Life

Studying at Oxford. Year 1

I was keen to write the Studying at Oxford. Year 1 post. I talked about each term: Michaelmas, Hilary, and Trinity. I also mentioned how I prepare for exams in another blog post. But the overall picture can get lost, so I wanted to remember how many things I did in this first year, and, of course, to keep it as a reminder.
My regular readers know that I am studying part time for a Foundation Certificate in History, which can be made equivalent to the first year of full time studies, but this is at the discretion of each university.

Studying at Oxford. Year 1

I thought it would be interesting to look at my first year in another way, and so this is why I will look into numbers, as I talked about how it was before.

Studying at Oxford. Year 1 in numbers:

I’ve attended all the seminars, that is, a total of 28, a number which does not include the study skills sessions. I went to 8 lectures in person, and I listened to about 20 lectures online, including a couple of those I went to, but I needed to refresh my memory on some of the things the lecturer said.

For British History I finished 24 books, cover-to-cover. For this I wrote 3 essays, adding up to 6,316 words in total, and these essays had, overall, 38 different books and articles in bibliography. Of these, 20 books are on broad topics and 18 are dedicated to a monarch or a specific part of a monarch’s reign.
I have no idea how many books I looked at overall, it must be close to 100 for British History, as I only read a small amount of the books I was recommended and I used about a third of the books I picked from the library shelves to do my research for the essays.

For European History I finished 20 books, cover-to-cover. As you can guess, I wrote 3 essays, adding up to 6,525 words in total. For these 3 essays I had, overall, 39 different books and articles in bibliography. For European History though I looked in more books, so I would gathered I went over 100 in total, especially if I include articles.

When it comes to hours spent learning each week, it varies between 17 and 30, but that was an exception and not the norm. I think my average is just over 20 hours a week. In Trinity the libraries were closed and I was not able to browse on the bookshelves for inspiration, like in the first two terms. Also, by learning from home, all the time I spent reading or writing was considered before I started. When I had to commute to Oxford, I made sure I arrived at least an hour, usually two or more, before my tutorial or seminar, which would mean that I would go into the library for a quick look or I would chat with my colleagues about the seminar, essays, and so on.

The year finished with 2 exams of 4h each, in which I had to answer 2 questions in over 1,000 words each. I am yet to find out the results, but I’m happy with what I did. For the British History exam I wrote 3,275 words, while for the European History my total was 2,968. As we had the exams online, I can just look in my word count for the exact number, which is a bit high for first one, but I picked two subjects I felt the need to write more about.

So, these are the numbers for my experience of studying at Oxford, in the first year. I picked the optional subject for my second year and I am very excited about it. Now I need to read a bit more.

8 Comment

  1. You did an amazing amount of work, Anca, and it’s great to keep track of all stats and data. That’s a fab achievement. I have been following your year with interest and enjoyed reading about your exams and the history books you’ve reviewed. Will you keep reading history books in summer, or have a break from the subject altogether?

    1. Thank you. I already started reading some books on British history, like the one on the history of RAF. In a couple of weeks I will start reading books from the recommended reading list too.

  2. That is an amazing schedule you’ve been keeping! And the best thing is, time spent studying or reading is never wasted….the things you learn will be with you for life.

  3. Great idea tracking your academic accomplishments in numbers. It is amazing how many books you have read to expand your historical knowledge. Well done!

  4. It’s wonderful that you’re keeping track of all this in blog form so you can have it to look back on someday. It’s an impressive accomplishment!

    1. Thank you. I love looking back on my blog and I do that often, a few times each month, when I’m looking for a specific place I’ve been to and things like that.

  5. That’s impressive, Anca. In fact, just going back is impressive! I’ve followed some of the posts where you have focused on your books and I have to say there are more than a few I’ve written down to add to my reading!

    When I went back to graduate school, eons ago, it was about eight or so years after graduating from university and I was still working. The hardest thing for me was getting back into the mode of studying AND doing my job AND making the classes. I know it isn’t easy (and your commute wouldn’t help, though I suppose it’s a good time to read!). Well done.

    1. Thank you. I agree, getting back into “study mode” is harder than I had imagined, especially after working for myself for the last years.
      Hope that you’ll enjoy the books. xx

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