Class Notes: Project #4 and final exam prep

***Today I distributed the reading for Monday’s final exam. If you have not gotten it, please be in touch with me either in a comment on this post or by email.***

Think about how to succeed on an in-class essay exam. What will make you prepared? What do you need to avoid?

Preparing for the exam

  • annotate the article for the exam!
    • underline/highlight important information
    • write notes in the margins to help you find information
    • summary of each paragraph, difficult parts/main ideas in the margin
    • emphasize the main ideas in the margins–maybe paraphrase
    • define any words you’re unfamiliar with
    • passages you would want to quote if you accurately anticipated the questions
  • anticipate possible questions
    • write outlines for them
    • draft thesis statements
    • identify passages you would quote
  • reread the article!
    • and again!
  • be able to identify the main argument of the article
    • and main supporting points
  • Reread the sample questions to get comfortable with the instructions and the types of questions
  • Think about similar experiences or ideas from:
    • your life
    • other people’s lives
    • things you’ve read or watched
  • Be prepared
    • pack your bag with the reading, pens/pencils, eraser, etc
    • sleep!
    • eat breakfast/lunch
    • bringing a quiet, innocuous snack
    • be on time–leave yourself plenty of time
    • breathe

During the exam:

  • read the questions and instructions
    • usually, one is about the specific topic and one is broader
    • instructions: write approximately 5 paragraphs
    • decide on which one you want to answer
      • read both questions
      • reread article–or parts of it
      • think about which will be easier to write
      • devote some time to choosing
      • outline both?
  • Your written response:
    • approximately 5 paragraphs
    • not one long paragraph
    • one possible plan: 10 minutes to choose/plan; 50 min to write (roughly 10 min per paragraph); 15 min to review/edit. Be sure to begin with some planning!
    • name the article, author (full name the first time, last name afterwards), source, date
    • thesis statement in the first paragraph
    • examples: quotations from the reading; examples from your life/experience/things you’ve read or seen
    • introduction and conclusion
    • you can agree/disagree/little bit of both with the author
    • revising some errors in these sentences:
      • [In] the article “A Natural Fix for ADHD,” [the author] [Richard A Friedman] talks about the ups and downs of having ADHD.
      • In the article “A Natural Fix for ADHD,” by author Richard A. Friedman claims that altering someone’s environment can be a opportunity to recover from ADHD.
      • According to the article in paragraph 6 [the author] [Friedman] states “blah blah blah.”



Some examples for the formal bits at the start of the business letters: Purdue OWL, UW-M Writing Lab, and UNC-Chapel Hill Writing Center

Here’s one sample of what the top of the letter could look like, using the block format (which I recommend) rather than the indented format (which I don’t recommend):

New York City College of Technology
300 Jay Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

December 12, 2018

Artsy Pants, DFA
WordArt Gallery
123 Ink Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

Dear Dr. Pants:


FYLC “Our Stories” end-of-semester prompt: We drafted our responses in class on Wednesday. Please post these on the FYLC site (not on this site!) by Monday, 12/17.