Making science graduates uncomfortable
If you’ve gone down the route of becoming a science graduate you might have done so through an aversion to the more ephemeral subjects in school. Well guess what , those topics that are probably very out of your comfort zone like poetry and Shakespearean texts could crop up in the multiple choice questions of section 1. Here’s a little sample of what to expect from this type of question:
The following passage is taken from William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, Act III Scene 2.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my
cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me
for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that
you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and
awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
Caesar’s, to him I say, that Brutus’ love to Caesar
was no less than his. If then that friend demand
why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:–
Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved
Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and
die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live
all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I
slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his
fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his
ambition. Who is here so base that would be a
bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If
any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so
vile that will not love his country? If any, speak;
for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.
Don’t just expect to be answering over seventy questions on Shakespeare, the texts that you are likely to come across can be very diverse. In your preparation you need to be pushing yourself to read and analyse as many different types as possible, even if they seem obscure and lacking in meaning. This is what it means to be stepping out of your comfort zone.
In this case let’s look at a typical question you might come across:
In this speech, given immediately after the assassination of Julius Caesar by Brutus and other conspirators, Brutus
A asks the Roman people to remember some of Caesar’s good qualities
B appeals to reason and emphasises civic duty
C explains why he (Brutus) is an honourable person
D shows that no-one loved Caesar more than he
If the questions or the text itself don’t make sense to you then, guess what, you’ve discovered a comfort zone that you have to push through to do well. Other questions that you might expect from a text like this are its overall purpose, how you would summarize it and other topics like comments on the tone.
This type of analysis of a very meaning filled text is what you’ll be expected to do. Notice particularly how this type of question differs so greatly from a solid mathematically inclined question. You could argue that whole different thinking processes need to be used to actually answer.
If you’re a science student and you don’t like what you see, then tough! You have to go beyond your own abilities and skills if you’re going to get the results you want.