One of the reasons it takes so long for me to grade tests is that I grade by questions or chapters, which means that I can be more consistent across tests. It also means that your grade on each question is independent of your grade on the other questions: it’s entirely possible to get 4 points on some, and zero on others, depending on how well you’ve understood and expressed everything.
Each question was worth up to 4 points, for a possible total of 36. The highest score in the class before extra credit was 32; the median was a B-, which is good, and nobody who took the test failed. The grade scale works out like this:
If you answered 9 questions, but failed to answer one from each chapter, I took a 2 point penalty off your grade. (If you didn’t answer all 9 questions, I did not)
If you want to discuss your performance, and how you can improve it next time, feel free to come by my office hours. If you want to dispute your grade, feel free to do so in writing.
For reference, here are a few 4-point, full-credit answers. I’m not saying that these answers were perfect, but that they were good enough, covering historical content, context, and significance substantially. Obviously, you can’t copy them on the next test, since the subjects will be different. But you can learn from them. These were all taken from different students’ tests, to give you some variation.
Domestication of various animals, dogs, sheep, chickens, goats, for human use, as well as domestication of plants, led to the development of two distinct styles of human existence. Pastoralism, a migratory life style centered around the herding of animals, and one that centered around agriculture and the storing of grain supplies. This excess food led to the ability to sustain a higher population in a smaller area and the development of cities.
Legalism was a philosophy started by the statesman Shang Yang around 5th century bce. The basic principles of this philosophy are that a ruler’s power should be absolute, his goal should be the expansion of the state’s strength and wealth, and that all a ruler’s vassals exist to serve the state. Another core principle is that laws should be upheld strictly and enforced harshly (Hence, the legal part). Shi Huangdi would later adopt these principles and use them, in addition to a large military, to unify all of China.
Epic of Gilgamesh is the first surviving written story we have found. It is Sumerian. It was told orally for several centuries but written approximately 2000 bce. The story is about a ruler named Gilgamesh who bumps into gods and has to prevail over their anger. The great flood story is included, which may have impacted the flood stories in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Vedas was a book of battle hymns for the Aryan people who settled in the Indus Valley after the Harappans. Aryans were pastoral warriors who were fierce in battle. They had a rigid caste system, and priests and warriors were at the top. In the Vedas they sing to many gods, but one god in particular, Indra, who was a fearsome warrior. The Vedas help historians understand the Aryans, their culture, and traditions.