So here’s the exam piece from the end of last year in the carpentry apprenticeship, brought back with five minutes notice last week as it was that or let the college use it for firewood. Thank goodness for Xtracycles.

The almost identical step behind is from a mock exam in late 2013. We were not supposed to have the same assignment twice but last years exam was a very unofficial internal one using an old paper from the trade guilds, and the guilds happened to use the same assignment this time around. Our tutor unveiled the design with a meaningful look and we all kept a straight face.

This year I refrained from drilling a line of holes in entirely the wrong place, managed to saw the dovetails so they fitted with minimal filling of gaps with sawdust and glue and managed to finish on time to boot. Strangely despite this being better than the previous attempt, and about four hours faster, I still ended up with a lower grade. I think this was because I’d gone and learned several non-guild-approved methods for some stages of the work and the examiners were concerned that I was showing dangerous levels of initiative.

On the other hand I managed to get a fairly good grade in the multiple choice theory exam despite failing to understand several questions and simply circling answers at random.

Less than a year to go, thank goodness.