Monday, July 16, 2007
The Art of the In-Class Essay / Final
HOW TO SAY WHAT YOU KNOW IN TWO HOURS OR LESS
Many of you will be asked, soon, to sit in a room, elbow to elbow with your classmates, and demonstrate mastery of your subject in two hours (maybe less). Either it's midterm and time for your instructor to check up on you, or it's nearing the end of term and finals are approaching. Let's talk strategy:
* Know everything you can about the essay ahead of time. Ask your instructor what you will be expected to know and what question(s) you are likely to see on the essay/exam. Pay attention to printed materials from your instructor. They may contain information about what's to come.
* Study early and often. Cramming doesn't work if you need to write a thoughtful essay on your subject. You need time to learn your subject and think about it before the day of the essay.
* Write an outline. The first thing you should do when you sit down and read an essay question is make a list of the things you know about this subject. Then, write a brief outline, organizing your knowledge into a paper. Once you begin thinking about your response in this way the writing will be much easier and much more productive.
* Relax, sleep the night before, eat healthy, and come to class ready to do well.