Preparing for the Essay Exam


  1. Write what you have learned and what you think the purpose of the class has been.
  2. Talk though the content with someone else in the class. Compare your interpretations.
  3. Write a set of questions you would ask if you were the instructor and wanted to know if your students understood the material.
  4. Write your own set of responses to these, and/or exchange sets of questions with someone else in the class. Then discuss your answers.

Taking the exam:

  1. Plan your time.
  2. Give the most time to the highest point-valued questions.
  3. Allow extra time at the end for edits.
  4. Start with a mini outline to organize your thoughts. You can add to the outline as you write your answer. Your resulting essay will likely be more compact, complete, clear, and organized.
  5. Take time to reread your essay for:
    • Spelling
    • Omitted words and parts of words
    • Omitted parts of questions
    • Hastily written dates and figures (reversals such as 1935 for 1953)
  6. If you run short on time, outline the rest of the essay you didn’t get to. (Partial credit!!)