Exam tips

1. A strong thesis that specifically answers all parts of the question is the first step to a 9 on your essay. If you hook the reader in the first ten seconds, you have an easier time of it.

2. On the DBQ, A string of direct quotes is deadly.  Graders call it a “laundry list” and it usually results in low scores.

It is better to quote in context and indirectly if possible.  The reader can tell if the student is using the quote in context and correctly quite easily.  We do not have to be hit over the head!

Example.  Assume “The Gettysburg Address” is a document.  Student says “The Gettysburg Address (doc. B) illustrates that Lincoln had long thought about ultimate purpose of the Civil War and was willing to reaffirm his long held views about the sanctity of the Union.”  The reader now knows that the student thoroughly understood the document.

3. Group the documents thematically if you can– don’t just go through them in order.

4. Interpret the documents in light of the time period in which they were written. A misspelled document in the 1700s is not as much a sign of illiteracy as it would be if it was written today.

5. Bring a hoodie or sweatshirt with you to the test so that you don’t get distracted by being uncomfortable.

6. Do NOT bring cellphones, other homework, watches that beep, or mp3 players.

7. Show up early. Don’t stress out those who are trying to administer the test.

8. Latin phrases you might see and their meanings:

quid pro quo— “this for that”

status quo ante bellum or antebellum— “as it was before the war” or “the period before the Civil War (1830-1860)

(sic.)— how it was written in the original document, usually used to explain that a spelling or usage error is not a typo.

ex post facto— after the fact, usually referring to the attempt to apply a law retroactively

de jure— by law, as opposed to…

de facto— by custom or by fact

ad hoc— created for this special purpose, usually used to describe a committee

prima facie— on the face of it, an obvious conclusion

ultimo— of the previous month

casus belli— the case or evidence used to justify going to war

per capita— per person (literally, per head)

ergo— therefore

et al.— abbreviation for et alia or et alii, which means “and other things”

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by ACL Tear on May 11, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    What outline are we supposed to do for extra credit? What chapter is it in the book?

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