Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The home stretch

The exam is about three weeks away, and at this point, all I have left to do is keep memorizing articles and keep thinking about how everything hangs together. I've been doing this for the past two weeks -- talking to myself in the car, in the shower, in bed, to the dog -- so in other words, I'm in a holding pattern. I should write some practice questions to get the timing and time management aspects down, but I'm not completely concerned about that anymore. Really, I just want to get this over with.

I can talk about every major theory -- social learning, social disorganization, social bonds/control, self control, strain, labeling, conflict -- in terms of where it is, where it's been, where it's going, how each relates to the others. I can talk about peers, parents, communities, chronic offenders, gender, race, class, age, the life course, terrorism, onset, escalation, persistence, desistence, and how all of the theories above can inform these topic areas. I can talk about what constitutes high risk youth theoretically and empirically in terms of the 4/5 biggest factors in academic terms and the most important factors in layman's terms. I can talk about what we can do about it, I can talk about where the field has been going and where I think it will be going.

What I have neglected to include is research methods and social deviance, but there has never been an exam where 3 of the questions were methods & deviance related. If I am unfortunate enough to have two of those questions on the same day, I'm not entirely screwed because I have substantially beefed up my research in other areas. In looking at previous exams, I have gone from exams where there were only 2-3 questions I was 100% confident on and the remainder being a series of gambles to having 4-6 questions I am 100% confident on and the remainder being questions I can and would immediately write off (deviance or methods).

This has been an intense year building up to this, and it's hard to believe that it's so close. This definitely hasn't been what I expected it to be, and at this point all I can do is keep on keepin' on and hope that I get some good questions. That's one thing that is driving me crazy -- I know that there are going to be questions about the life course and I'm 95% sure I'm going to get something about gender, but the rest is up in the air. That's what the Tums are for, I guess.

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