Tag Archives: in-class exam

Preparing for Monday’s Midterm Exam


Drawing from the themes and conflicts that we identified in our tagging activity in class yesterday, I have developed five prompts for the midterm exam (which is on Monday). On the exam, I will narrow down the choices to three, and you will choose one. As I have recommended before, if you prepare for at least three of these questions, you will be guaranteed to have at least one of your preferred questions on the exam.

You will not be allowed to bring the stories to the exam. Instead, you will be able to bring one sheet (typed or handwritten) that includes the quotations you would want to use in writing your essay. I will collect this sheet with your exam booklet.

Here is a draft of the exam, including the instructions:

In a well-developed essay, consider how two of the short stories we have read this semester compare in their approach to one of the following issues, topics, or themes. Compare (that is, write about similarities and differences in) two examples from each story, using quotations from your quotation sheet as evidence to support for your thesis-driven essay.

  1. the use of gruesome, macabre details to develop characters (i.e. characterization)
  2. the significance of setting details, including their symbolic significance
  3. patriarchy or oppression as a dominating force or as a force to be overthrown in the plot
  4. the intricate relationship between freedom and death
  5. marital or familial relationships as restrictive and/or empowering

(on the exam, this will be a list of three)

Guidelines and tips: (these will be on the exam instruction sheet, but it’s good to familiarize yourself with them before the exam)

  • You must use two stories we have read this semester for this essay, excluding the story you are writing about in Project #1.
  • Your essay should be 500-600 words—if you’re writing 5 words per line, that’s 5-6 pages in the blue book, fewer pages if you get more words per line. There’s no need to count all of the words: check to see roughly how many words you write per line on a few lines, then multiply that by 20 (lines per page) and the number of pages you have.
  • To get started, you should choose one of the questions and the two texts you will use to write the essay, based on the work you did to prepare for the exam.
  • Take time before you start writing the essay to think about what you want to write, and use the blue book to write down notes, lists, outlines, or other planning-writing before you start writing the essay.
  • There’s no need to skip every other line, but you might want to skip a line or two between paragraphs to give yourself space to add in any additional words or sentences when you re-read your essay.
  • When you include a quotation, even though it is already on your quotation sheet, please copy it into your essay.
  • Be sure to leave yourself enough time to proofread at least twice.
  • Rather than using whiteout or making a mess, when you need to make a correction, just cross out what you want to delete.

Getting Ready for the exam:

  • Re-read any stories you think you want to write about
  • Annotate the stories you think you want to write about as you re-read so you get the most out of reading them
  • Practice by drafting a thesis statement and outline for three to five of these topics
  • Prepare your quotation sheet for three to five of these topics
  • Ask questions by replying to this post
  • Share ideas by replying to this post
  • Get some sleep
  • Eat a good meal
  • Print (or write) and bring your quotations sheet
  • Come to class on time!