This past week I had my two examinations as part of my Grad school. They weren't exams to get into the program - I'm already in. They were to see if we are ready to go straight to Graduate Level Music History and Music Theory classes or if we need a review course.
The day after I received my acceptance letter into SMU, I opened my history book and began reading it. Cover to cover. All 900+ pages. It was actually quite interesting and I enjoyed it. This was in April. Once I received our online practice exams, I started those right away. It was so frustrating when I failed the first one. But then I changed my perspective to seeing that the exams simply give us possible questions that will be on the test. My job was not to try to pass them, but to gather information from the questions and begin memorizing, finding correct answers and working to understand what kinds of questions would be asked.
The last 4-6 weeks I have spent anywhere from 4-8 hours a day studying the music history sections. Met with a small group of other students to review and learn and help each other.
I didn't spend as much time on the theory. My thoughts were that I wanted to pass the history exams and focus on those before attacking the theory. If I put equal time into both, I wasn't sure that I'd remember what I needed to know and pass both exams. Theory comes easier to me (despite my results) and the amount of reading for the history would be more intense so I focused on it first. Thankfully it paid off.
Each exam was 3 hours long. History exam was three sections long with 100 questions in each section that needed to be completed in an hour. Theory exam was four sections long. Questions varied. Needed a 70% in each section to pass
Form - 75%
Aural - 69.23%
Tonal Harmony - 64%
Contemporary Theory - 50%
Section One: 88%
Section Two: 94%
Section Three: 88%
I've never been so happy to get a C in my life! Studied the form more than any other part of the theory. So thankful to have passed that section. Froze on the contemporary and praying I can pass that one next time. 50% - yikes! Tonal Harmony - again, didn't spend much time reviewing so I'll focus on that next time.
I have six more opportunities to pass the tests. Goal is to get it done the first opportunity that I have!