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:

  1. A strong thesis and arguments (take control in the introduction).
  2. Content knowledge and good use of evidence (cite documents, names, dates).
  3. 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:


Study strategies:
Test-taking strategies


Essay Questions

Three of the following questions will appear on the midterm. You will choose one of the three to answer for your essay (50 points).
  1. How does the environment have an impact on cultures (lifestyles and worldview)? Compare societies in the Kalihari desert, Southwest Asia and North Africa.
  2. What causes people to migrate and what impact does migration have on human societies? Compare people movements in Southwest Asia, South Asia, and Oceania.
  3. 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.
  4. Why do empires succeed and what causes them to fail? Compare the features of the Persian Empires, Indian Empires, Han Empire, and Roman Empire.
  5. 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.
  6. How are political systems affected by religions and philosophies? Discuss using examples from the Greeks, the Romans, China, and India.
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  1. homo sapiens sapiens
  2. Paleolithic lifestyles
  3. Neolithic lifestyles
  4. Hammurabi
  5. Gilgamesh
  6. pyramid
  7. Ma'at
  8. Harappan society
  9. varnas
  10. moksha
  11. Shang oracle bones
  12. Mandate of Heaven
  13. Yin and Yang
  14. Olmec society
  15. Mayan ballgame
  16. Polynesian wayfaring
  17. `ohana
  18. Ashurbanipal
  19. Persian Wars
  20. Zoroastrian gathas
  21. Confucianism
  22. the Dao
  23. legalism
  24. Jainism
  25. 4 Noble Truths
  26. Ashoka Maurya
  27. Minoans and Myceneans
  28. polis
  29. Socrates
  30. Etruscans
  31. Pax Romana
  32. Hebrew monotheism
  33. Paul of Tarsus
  34. Silk Road
  35. Manichaeism