The material covered on my 261 exams comes from the following sources:
* the assigned readings, including introductory sections and footnotes
* ideas, interpretations, and so forth from my class lectures
There are usually four sections on a 261 exam:
* matching (You are expected to match short items in one list with short definitions or descriptions in another list. You would, for example, be expected to match the term scop with the definition "an Anglo-Saxon poet or bard.")
* short passages (You are expected to identify the author and the work of short passages from assigned readings and to give a very short comment about the passage which indicates that you understand the significance of the passage. For example, given the following passage, "But first I make a protestacioun/That I am dronke: I know it by my soun./And therefore if that I misspeke or saye,/Wite it the ale of Southwerk, I you praye," you are expected to identify that passage as "Chaucer, from the Prologue to the Miller's Tale" and you would also be expected to make a comment such as "Here Chaucer indicates that the Miller was a low-class, drunken lout who insists on telling his story first."
* significance of somewhat longer passages (Here you are expected to identify the author and work as well as write a four to six sentence paragraph explaining what the book or your lecture notes say about the significance, importance, or meaning of the passage.)
* short essay (Here you will given your choice of several short essay topics that cover long passages, whole works, or several related works and be asked to write a short essay on the topic of your choice. These essays will be graded primarily for content -- which means specific references to the details of the work as well as indications that you have undertood the significance of what you have read; however, you will also be graded on whether the essay is well-written in terms of grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling.)
Return to syllabus.