Why did ED209 seem such a dreadful course for so many people?

Throughout the course everyone seemed to be saying that there was “an awful lot of course” in ED209 but I found that I really didn’t notice that so much until the time came for revision.

Since it’s a research led course you need to try and memorise an enormous number of names of researchers so that you can quote them in the exam. If you were trying to revise the entire course that would equate to several dozen names at least but by that point very few people seemed to even attempt to revise the entire course as it seemed to be an impossible task.

Thus, people selected what they had to revise. In principle that was a fairly easy thing to do in that a guiding principle is that you’re only examined on a topic once. So you could eliminate almost a dozen chapters throughout the three books. However, even that turned out to be problematical as one of the assignment topics turned up on the exam paper thus removing a choice for a lot of people. In fact, this seems to have resulted in almost everyone ignoring the “disturbing behaviour” question and going with the “gender development” one if they were revising book 2.

The structure of the exam paper introduces further complications. There’s one “seen question” that you need to research before the exam and write out during it which is much more difficult than it first appears. The research isn’t so bad but few people these days know how much they could write in an hour and even fewer know how much they could write in an hour under exam conditions. Besides, you basically need to memorise that essay which isn’t that easy either.

Next you need to choose two questions. The questions on offer are a selection of two from each book of the course and you need to answer one question from each book. Thus a lot of people only revised two books and limited themselves somewhat during the exam. Since the third book was the largest and most complex, many people chose from the first two books. This would have been fine but since people were generally limiting the chapters within each book to study and eliminating those chapters already covered by an assignment they had the complication that one of the assignment topics was on the exam paper thus an awful lot of people answered the “gender development” question.

The effect of all this is that getting on for 20% of our merry band didn’t turn up for the exam and around 10% left within the first hour. One glance at the paper was enough for one person and she left after about a minute. Somehow that doesn’t seem right. Yes, people don’t turn up and people leave early in all exams but I’ve never seen it happening in anything like the numbers in ED209.

Overall, the impression is that ED209 is much harder than even the level 3 psychology courses which doesn’t seem right.

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