On the day of our first test in the class, I thought I was ready. I felt like I knew and understood the rhetorical devices enough to get an A. Never have I been so wrong. A couple of minutes into the test, my mind went blank. I knew what the definitions were, but I couldn't remember the word associated with them. Needless to say, I did terrible. It dropped my grade massively. The highest grade in the class was a 75. That test woke me up. I realized I had to work harder so I started studying the terms for longer periods of time.
The only thing that helped my grade were the rhetorical analyses.
Our first rhetorical analysis was on the Santa Ana Winds. This was the first rhetorical analysis I had ever written. Of course it ended up in the middle. I was surprised it was an even lower grade. It was terrible. I had bad word choice, I didn't stay in the right tense, and I misinterpreted a lot. Yeah it was pretty bad.
I had no idea how to write a rhetorical analysis. I looked at the examples and tried to mirror them. I needed to learn how to write the piece by myself. I couldn't mirror another person's writing style. After the Santa Ana piece, I consistently stayed around a 6 or 7. A 7 was equivalent to an A-. I felt good about it. It was an improvement, even if it was a small one. I worked harder on the next rhetorical analyses we did, and I kept getting a 6 or a 7. The hardest part was writing the essays in only 40-45 minutes. At first, it would take me 60-65 minutes to write these essays, but after all of the drilling of technique into our heads, I could easily get it done in 40-45 minutes. Sometimes I could get it done in even less time so I could have extra time to review what I wrote.
Out of all of the essays, I believed rhetorical analyses were the hardest. It was just looking for certain devices. There was no way you could add in other information. There was nothing to argue or add to. It was just writing what the author used.