J7B Assignments & Tests
Spring 2012 Midterm 01 & Midterm 02
Length. The full session but there will be plenty of time to complete the test. Some might leave early.
Essay questions only. You will not have a choice as to which to select, but the questions are open-ended.
You can have one sheet of notes, front of the sheet only. You will submit this sheet with your exam at the end of the session. It is not graded and it will be returned to you.
If you need a dictionary because you are a non-native speaker you need to email me about that at least 48 hours before the test begins (since I need to make the seating chart and need to place you on the front row). Use this subject line: J7B_MT01_LASTNAME_classname usedict
Coverage. Assigned prose texts (no poetry) and lecture content. Multimedia that can be downloaded from bSpace are optional but since you will be asked to provide context for the texts you might find that information useful to you.
Necessary for test day:
- Memorize your SID.
- Make rest room breaks before class. Once you leave the room you cannot return.
- Arrive on time.
- Bring whatever you like to write with and whatever you like to erase with, if you erase things.
- Bring your one sheet of notes.
- The questions will be projected so bring glasses or contacts if you need them but the font will be rather large so I don't think it is necessary to ask to sit forward.
- That's all. Nothing else. Time will be projected.
How to prepare
This is a thinking test. It is 80% or more analytical, not information based so spend some time thinking how texts relate to each other, to their authors, to the historical moment in which they were written, to the intellectual, literary or artistic landscape of the time of the writing. To repeat: You will be answering questions that require that you put texts in their larger context. So you need to understand:
- cultural history
- various writing groups, their interests and goals (example: Shirakaba-ha / White Birch Group)
- themes of the texts
- very basic story line content
- important events in the authors' lives
- You need to be familiar with the major works assigned and your thoughts on them. ("Thoughts" does not mean evaluative rubrics such as "like / don't like", "interesting / boring" of course. Rather, various things you think about them.)
You will be graded hardly at all on the information you use in your answe; the grading focus is on your intelligent choice of what information to use and how well you integrate it into your answer. In other words, if you can say a lot about Shirakaba-ha because you looked it up online but if I can't see why that is important to your answer it counts for next to nothing towards the grade. Meaningful information presented in a meaningful context is the goal for the half of the answer where you need to give details of the texts you discuss. Meaningful analysis presented in a meaningful context is the goal for the half of the answer where you are giving your analysis.
Things to avoid:
- The very worst thing you can do in terms of your grade is to be academically dishonest during the exam. You will receive an "F".
- Equally bad is to miss the test and it is unlikely you can make it up, except in very unusual circumstances.
- The next worst thing you can do for your grade is to import information that you don't seem to own or understand in terms of what you want to say.
- The next worst thing is factual inaccuracy.
- Story summary is meaningless unless necessary to make your point.
- Not very helpful but not as negative is poor penmanship. I tend not to work very hard at deciphering difficult handwriting or rereading the question to get a better understanding of it. I grade it on the spot as best I understand it first time through.
Things to do:
- The best thing you can do is have rich ideas about a wide variety of texts assigned and be able to share that within the limits of the question while giving basic information about the text and its context that is meaningful to the text and to your answer.
- The next best thing you can do is know a lot about your favorite text. You might get lucky and be able to use that text in your answer.
- Also helpful is, when answering, keeping your paragraphs short to emphasize your points and/or underlining your points.
The details and context you provide about the texts you will write on is 50% of the grade. The content of the specific questions is the other 50%. Essays will be graded comparatively as well as on basic content. I will compare your work with that of others answering similar questions and that will be a factor in the grade. Midterm 02 is not returned to you.