Midterm Info

The midterm will be on Friday, March 26, as scheduled.

The list of study terms covers all the chapters we’ve discussed, 15-24; basically from 1500 up to the 19th century. The vast majority of the terms are in the textbook; a few (like ‘early modern’ and ‘world systems theory’) come only from the lectures; most will have been covered in both the textbook and lectures and your answer should draw on both.

From the list of study terms, I’ll pick twenty-five; you will have to pick twelve to answer. Answers are usually short paragraphs.

The answers I’m looking for have three important components:

  • Definition: Basic information about what the person did or what the event involved or what the term means.
  • Context: What country or region, what time period does this fit into? What else is happening around this term that’s important to know? What other people or events or concepts play a role?
  • Significance: Why is this an important person or event or concept? What does this change about the world, and what comes after this that couldn’t have happened without it?

Definition alone, which is what you get if you memorize the textbook sidebar or a sentence or two from the text, gets you up to about a C. Context gets you to B-range. You need all three to make an A. (All of this assumes that you’re getting it right, of course.) You can get all that from the textbook, if you read it carefully, but it’s a lot easier if you listen to the lectures, too. Your answer on tests are not be limited to the material in a single chapter: many names and terms and processes will appear in multiple chapters.

You can find some exemplars of good work from previous semesters here and here. You can also see a comparison of good answers with the textbook sidebar definitions, if you’re thinking of memorizing those short definitions (hint: it’s not a good idea!)

I grade the individual questions on a 4-point scale: 4=A, 3=B, etc. I then total those up and, taking the highest grade in the class as 100%, convert them back to a letter grade with pluses and minuses. I record that grade (on a hundred point scale, so F is still worth more than zero) as your grade on the test.

I’m clearly going to need my catch-up day on Friday for finishing up the material on China and Japan, but we will talk about the test a little bit, and we have a review day on Monday the 22nd.