Saturday, June 27, 2020

L3 Civilisation britannique. Feedback on retake assessment

L3 Civilisation britannique – Popular Culture in the UK since 1945

L’examen de deuxième session posait la question suivante

 « Popular music is not just about melody and words. It is about who we wish we were. » Discuss, giving plenty of examples from British popular music since 1945.

Many of the answers were fine. Here are some of the main problems encountered.
The first is with  the analysis of the question : "popular music is about who we wish we were". That means it is about imagining we are someone else. A typical answer would be first to show some ways in which this is true (the young person who had to work in a rather uninteresting office during the week could be a punk or a mod or a metalhead at weekends), and then to show some ways in which popular music means other things which are not connected with pretending to be someone else.

A commmon mistake was to write an essay about another subject – usually the use of popular music in political protest. This is very interesting, but that was not the question.

Another major mistake was to give French or American examples to illustrate what the student wanted to say. This is an exam about British popular culture since 1945. If you use mostly French or US examples, you are telling the examiner that you know nothing about British examples. 

It is also a good idea to avoid using extremely famous examples. If the only British groups you mention are the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, well these are examples that everyone is aware of whether or not they have followed a course on British popular culture since 1945 : better to avoid them, because they are not impressing the examiner.

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