Thursday, 20 March 2014

A326 Empire TMA 04 & TMA 05


This is probably the best word to describe how I am feeling. I am still loving this course, but I am oh-so tired and starting to feel like everything is on top of me.

TMA 04

This was the source analysis question. I picke slave owner Thomas Thistlewood, and my essay was decent. Pass 1, and I was over the moon with that. Chuffed that I can analyse sources, as well as taking on board the feedback I was given. I was more than happy to crack on with TMA 05.


I have extensions quite a bit. Only a few days, but I do use them if I need them. Sometimes I physically can't get to my laptop to finish or check my essay. I'm never miles behind and catching up - it's just the finishing touches or checking, or whatever that I need to ask for the extension for. Obviously, I am working, and the kids hang off my legs on my day off - I can't do anything with them, and it's not as easy as just "doing my essay" when they are in bed. I'm shattered by then, after a full day's work and an 80 mile round commute - it's really hard.'s fine. These are my circumstances and my choices. I will work hard to achieve my degree.

But I do have extensions.

There was quite a heated discussion on one of the Facebook groups that I got involved in. Some people feel that extensions don't put us all on an equal footing - it was made clear that me taking extensions was frowned upon by some students. And that is fine, I accept other people's opinions and I understand that some people struggle on without extensions in exceptional circumstances.

But extensions are not part of the marking criteria.

Extensions are allowed.

And I choose to use them.

Anyway, this led to...

TMA 05

A compare and contrast essay about settlements in Kenya and New Zealand. Not straight forward. Vast amounts of information and sources to trawl through. What is my argument??

I was adamant that I would not have an extension this time. Because of what had been said on the FB forums.

I made all my preparations, I wrote my essay, and left the tweaking and preening to the last few days.

Last few days: Alice vomited all day. I washed, I scrubbed, I cleaned. Rosie's birthday. I cooked, I shopped, I made her birthday special.

I stayed up until 1am to tweak my essay.

Rosie woke up when I went to bed.

I sat up with her until 3am, and then went to work in the morning all day, and submitted my essay just in time.


Something always happens. Something always crops up. I have three children, two babies and a tween. At least one of them has issues when I need to write or do my essay. I don't have space to study.

I struggle.

So yes, I do need extensions. And on this occasion, I needed one. But I made myself not take advantage of having one.

I don't know whether this essay will make the cut. I liked my points, I liked my argument, but I think it was rough around the edges.

We'll see. I am hoping that my previous marks will support me through this rough patch an lift my overall score.

And I am starting on TMA 06 almost immediately. Maybe the extension debate was a good thing. Maybe I am too relaxed about my work.

Must try harder :)


  1. oh how i could go on about extensions and equal footing - well done you for getting it in without the extension and literally being super mum! You'll still do awesome and you'll feel even better about it because you'll be able to stick it up for all those who don't agree with the extensions! like i said i could go on and on about extensions but i won't because i have just handed in an assignment that was on a week's extension and i should get to bed before caitlin wakes up and screams at me for giving her a bottle - night night ;)

  2. WifeMumStudentBum21 March 2014 at 21:29

    Thanks for your support! I always find it hard distance learning because you do feel so alone and if other students say anything negative then it is so easy to take it personally. Your comments really made me feel better! Only one more essay and the end of module assignment to do! Nearly there. How are you getting on with A200? x

  3. I completely agree about the feeling lonely but i'm lucky enough to have found 3 especially great friends from across the UK because of the OU. I'm glad they made you feel better no-one deserves to feel bad because they need an extension and those who disagree with others having them well i hope that they never need one or they will have to eat their words and that would be horrific for them haha. Oh an EMA how exciting :) I am really enjoying A200 contrary to popular belief that its a horrible course. It seems a lot of people didn't realise what they were letting themselves in for when they started and are now hating it but I have loved it - just wish I could spend a little bit more time working on it than I do now. How are you finding Empire?! Are you reading everything or only tma relevant parts? I'm starting it in september and already thinking about which set texts I'll have to buy xx

  4. WifeMumStudentBum22 March 2014 at 23:41

    I'm loving Empire. It is similar to A200 in that it is a lot to take in. The reading in Empire looks a lot worse than it is. I read every chapter and take notes, but I don't read every source or do every exercise. Like you, I wish I had more time to spend reading, but it is what it is and I manage to do what I need to to make sure that overall I get a good grasp of the course materia and the points that it makes.
    Regarding set texts, I got Niall Ferguson's Empire, but I've only read a bit of it. There is a TV series of his of the same name based on the book - I'm fairly sure that it would be just as well to watch that. I have not read anything else outside of the course - I am a great believer in sticking to the OU texts and going with that. However, I am told that the next course I do - A327 - the 'war one' requires loads of outside reading, so I'm not planning on having the summer off - I want to get a head start! I loved A200, glad that you are getting on OK with it. When is your exam - is it around June time? Exams always fall around my birthday time! You all set for revision? x

  5. sounds good then - ahh ok i've seen a few copies of it floating around on ebay for a few quid so will prob get it and read it over the summer - will be the first time i've had off from the OU in 21 months! arghhh thats annoying i'll be doing A330 as opposed to war when i finish empire so no more exams for me :) yep its on the 4th of june - like 60 odd days away now! I haven't started revising yet but i have a good plan for when it comes to it - we have received our advanced notification already so i have an idea of what i'm going to be focusing on. Any hints tips for the exam?! xx

  6. WifeMumStudentBum28 March 2014 at 23:33

    Time flies, so best be prepared! I do have some exam tips on one of my other posts on A200 (you may have already read it!) but search that on here. Revising in themes was some good advice I received e.g. beliefs and ideologies, state formation, etc. I made posters for my walls, and always try to remember your historians as well as facts, I used anacronyms (is that the word??) to remember them. I also planned each question before I wrote anything. Exams are just like your essays - stick to your program - and always always always answer the question. :) x


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