History 151 Summer 1999
Midterm Study Guide
Format and Grading expectations:
The midterm has two parts: essay (50 points) and identifications (50 points). For the essay, you will have a choice of three questions, drawn from the list of eight questions below. For the identifications, you will choose five from a choice of eight drawn from the list of x below.
The essay should combine general statements (defining terms, discussing issues, making comparisons) with specific statements (supplying data, citing examples, and giving evidence).
The T.A.s will grade your essay looking for the following three things:
- A strong thesis and arguments (take control in the introduction).
- Content knowledge and good use of evidence (cite documents, names, dates).
- Clear organization of ideas and information (each paragraph should start with an argument and be followed by supporting evidence).
The identifications should start with a clear definition of the item, identify who or what, when, and where, and then explain WHY it is significant (what does it tell us about that society?). This last is the most important--the T.A.s can make allowances for "circa" (around) dates, but the lack of discussion on why something is significant means that answer will receive no better than a C- grade (7 points).
Study Guidelines and Test-taking Hints:
- Premise: learning (understanding and memory retention) takes place through manipulating information and reconfiguring it in new ways.
- Controlling the data: Matrix Use a matrix to compare societies on the themes in the questions.
- Developing a thesis: make sure you can define the terms in the questions; try doing a mind map.
- Practice essay writing: try Outlining each essay answer. What themes would you use to organize your essay? What documents would you cite as evidence?
- I do not recommend writing out essays and trying to remember them--it wastes time trying to remember non-essentials. Rather, concentrate on developing good control of the data and a thoughtful understanding of the issues through the exercises above. Memorize an outline of arguments and examples, not a whole essay.
- Spend the first 5-10 minutes outlining your thoughts, including developing a thesis, a list of topics, and the examples you will cite. THEN, begin writing.
- Make sure your thesis and definitions are in the first paragraph. Each subsequent paragraph should start with a thematic statement, followed by your argument and evidence. DO NOT write on each society one-by-one; rather, compare them side-by-side on a specific issue or theme.
- Cite specific examples to illustrate your points--events, people, ideas, and especially documents from lecture or the gray "readings" boxes in the textbook. Avoid "name-dropping" by explaining how the item relates to your point; on the other hand, do not go into a long description of an event or story.
- THINK about what you are saying--try to say something truly meaningful about the topic. By the time you get to the conclusion, you may be able to make some kind of general statement about the issue universally.
- Study the item in its cultural context by checking where it is in the textbook and the lecture material to which it relates.
- Jot down information ideas starting with the most specific (who, what, when, where), moving to more general ideas (what it is evidence of), and its significance (larger course themes). Think of these layers as concentric circles radiating out from the item.
- When you write your answer on the test, move outward from the most specific to the most general statements you can make about the item.
- DO NOT SKIP ONE OF THE FIVE: keep in mind that an "F" answer (wrong or very incomplete) is 1-5 points out of the 10 possible. If you write nothing, we have no choice but to give you 0 points, almost a "double F." Always write something. And don't forget those dates--even if they are "circa" (around).
Three of the following questions will appear on the midterm. You will choose one of the three to answer for your essay (50 points).
- How does the environment have an impact on cultures (lifestyles and worldview)? Compare societies in the Kalihari desert, Southwest Asia and North Africa.
- What causes people to migrate and what impact does migration have on human societies? Compare people movements in Southwest Asia, South Asia, and Oceania.
- Why do complex societies with cities ("civilizations") arise in some areas and what is their long-term impact on surrounding areas? Compare Indus River, Yellow River, and Mesoamerican civilizations.
- Why do empires succeed and what causes them to fail? Compare the features of the Persian Empires, Indian Empires, Han Empire, and Roman Empire.
- How do various cultures explain the existence of bad things in the world? Compare creation stories and other myths from Hinduism, Mayan beliefs, Daoism, Hebrews, and Zoroastrians.
- How are political systems affected by religions and philosophies? Discuss using examples from the Greeks, the Romans, China, and India.
- Do women and men have distinctively different roles in ancient history? Compare different lifestyles, civilizations, and empires and the role of both men and women in them.
- Why and how do we study history? Define history and its methods, giving examples of different tools we have used so far in the course to explore the past.
Eight of the following items will appear on the midterm. You will choose five from the eight to identify and give their significance (10 points each).
- homo sapiens sapiens
- Paleolithic lifestyles
- Neolithic lifestyles
- Harappan society
- Shang oracle bones
- Mandate of Heaven
- Yin and Yang
- Olmec society
- Mayan ballgame
- Polynesian wayfaring
- Persian Wars
- Zoroastrian gathas
- the Dao
- 4 Noble Truths
- Ashoka Maurya
- Minoans and Myceneans
- Pax Romana
- Hebrew monotheism
- Paul of Tarsus
- Silk Road