10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
10 Final Exam Guide
Question 1. You are beginning the examination of the skin on a 25-year-old teacher. You have previously elicited that she came to the office for evaluation of fatigue, weight gain, and hair loss. You strongly suspect that she has hypothyroidism. What is the expected moisture and texture of the skin of a patient with hypothyroidism?10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
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Moist and smooth
Moist and rough
Dry and smooth
Dry and rough
Question 2. Question : You are assessing a patient with joint pain and are trying to decide whether it is inflammatory or noninflammatory in nature. Which one of the following symptoms is consistent with an inflammatory process?10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
Question 3. Question : A 68-year-old retired farmer comes to your office for evaluation of a skin lesion. On the right temporal area of the forehead, you see a flattened papule the same color as his skin, covered by a dry scale that is round and feels hard. He has several more of these scattered on the forehead, arms, and legs. Based on this description, what is your most likely diagnosis?
Basal cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma
Question 4. Question : A 28-year-old graduate student comes to your clinic for evaluation of pain “all over.” With further questioning, she is able to relate that the pain is worse in the neck, shoulders, hands, low back, and knees. She denies swelling in her joints. She states that the pain is worse in the morning. There is no limitation in her range of motion. On physical examination, she has several points on the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and back that are tender to palpation. Muscle strength and range of motion are normal. Which one of the following is likely the cause of her pain?
Question 5. Question : Heberden’s nodes are commonly found in which one of the following diseases?
Degenerative joint disease
Question 6. Question : A new patient is complaining of severe pruritus that is worse at night. Several family members also have the same symptoms. Upon examination, areas of excoriated papules are noted on some of the interdigital webs of both hands and on the axillae. This finding is most consistent with:10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
10 Final Exam Guide
Before the Exam: Prepare and Practice
Writing a good essay requires synthesis of material that cannot be done in the 20-30 minutes you have during the exam. In the days before the exam, you should:
Anticipate test questions. Look at the question from the last exam. Did the question ask you to apply a theory to historical or contemporary events? Did you have to compare/contrast theories? Did you have to prove an argument? Imagine yourself in the role of the instructor–what did the instructor emphasize? What are the big ideas in the course?
Practice writing. You may decide to write a summary of each theory you have been discussing, or a short description of the historical or contemporary events you’ve been studying. Focus on clarity, conciseness, and understanding the differences between the theories.
Memorize key events, facts, and names. You will have to support your argument with evidence, and this may involve memorizing some key events, or the names of theorists, etc.
Organize your ideas. Knowledge of the subject matter is only part of the preparation process. You need to spend some time thinking about how to organize your ideas. Let’s say the question asks you to compare and contrast what regime theory and hegemonic stability theory would predict about post-cold war nuclear proliferation. The key components of an answer to this question must include:10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
A definition of the theories
A brief description of the issue
A comparison of the two theories’ predictions
A clear and logical contrasting of the theories (noting how and why they are different)
In the exam
Many students start writing furiously after scanning the essay question. Do not do this! Instead, try the following:
Perform a “memory dump.” Write down all the information you have had to memorize for the exam in note form.
Read the questions and instructions carefully. Read over all the questions on the exam. If you simply answer each question as you encounter it, you may give certain information or evidence to one question that is more suitable for another. Be sure to identify all parts of the question.
Formulate a thesis that answers the question. You can use the wording from the question. There is not time for an elaborate introduction, but be sure to introduce the topic, your argument, and how you will support your thesis (do this in your first paragraph).
Organize your supporting points. Before you proceed with the body of the essay, write an outline that summarizes your main supporting points. Check to make sure you are answering all parts of the question. Coherent organization is one of the most important characteristics of a good essay.
Make a persuasive argument. Most essays in political science ask you to make some kind of argument. While there are no right answers, there are more and less persuasive answers. What makes an argument persuasive?
A clear point that is being argued (a thesis)
Sufficient evidenct to support that thesis
Logical progression of ideas throughout the essay
Review your essay. Take a few minutes to re-read your essay. Correct grammatical mistakes, check to see that you have answered all parts of the question.
Things to Avoid
Essay exams can be stressful. You may draw a blank, run out of time, or find that you neglected an important part of the course in studying for the test. Of course, good preparation and time management can help you avoid these negative experiences. Some things to keep in mind as you write your essay include the following:
Avoid excuses. Don’t write at the end that you ran out of time, or did not have time to study because you were sick. Make an appointment with your TA to discuss these things after the exam.
Don’t “pad” your answer. Instructors are usually quite adept at detecting student bluffing. They give no credit for elaboration of the obvious. If you are stuck, you can elaborate on what you do know, as long as it relates to the question.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
Avoid the “kitchen sink” approach. Many students simply write down everything they know about a particular topic, without relating the information to the question. Everything you include in your answer should help to answer the question and support your thesis. You need to show how/why the information is relevant — don’t leave it up to your instructor to figure this out!
What this handout is about
At some time in your undergraduate career, you’re going to have to write an essay exam. This thought can inspire a fair amount of fear: we struggle enough with essays when they aren’t timed events based on unknown questions. The goal of this handout is to give you some easy and effective strategies that will help you take control of the situation and do your best.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
Why do instructors give essay exams?
Essay exams are a useful tool for finding out if you can sort through a large body of information, figure out what is important, and explain why it is important. Essay exams challenge you to come up with key course ideas and put them in your own words and to use the interpretive or analytical skills you’ve practiced in the course.
Instructors want to see whether:
You understand concepts that provide the basis for the course
You can use those concepts to interpret specific materials
You can make connections, see relationships, draw comparisons and contrasts
You can synthesize diverse information in support of an original assertion
You can justify your own evaluations based on appropriate criteria
You can argue your own opinions with convincing evidence
You can think critically and analytically about a subject
What essay questions require
Exam questions can reach pretty far into the course materials, so you cannot hope to do well on them if you do not keep up with the readings and assignments from the beginning of the course. The most successful essay exam takers are prepared for anything reasonable, and they probably have some intelligent guesses about the content of the exam before they take it. How can you be a prepared exam taker? Try some of the following suggestions during the semester:10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
Do the reading as the syllabus dictates; keeping up with the reading while the related concepts are being discussed in class saves you double the effort later.
Go to lectures (and put away your phone, the newspaper, and that crossword puzzle!).
Take careful notes that you’ll understand months later. If this is not your strong suit or the conventions for a particular discipline are different from what you are used to, ask your TA or the Learning Center for advice.
Participate in your discussion sections; this will help you absorb the material better so you don’t have to study as hard.
Organize small study groups with classmates to explore and review course materials throughout the semester. Others will catch things you might miss even when paying attention. This is not cheating. As long as what you write on the essay is your own work, formulating ideas and sharing notes is okay. In fact, it is a big part of the learning process.
As an exam approaches, find out what you can about the form it will take. This will help you forecast the questions that will be on the exam, and prepare for them.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
These suggestions will save you lots of time and misery later. Remember that you can’t cram weeks of information into a single day or night of study. So why put yourself in that position?
Now let’s focus on studying for the exam. You’ll notice the following suggestions are all based on organizing your study materials into manageable chunks of related material. If you have a plan of attack, you’ll feel more confident and your answers will be more clear. Here are some tips:
Don’t just memorize aimlessly; clarify the important issues of the course and use these issues to focus your understanding of specific facts and particular readings.
Try to organize and prioritize the information into a thematic pattern. Look at what you’ve studied and find a way to put things into related groups. Find the fundamental ideas that have been emphasized throughout the course and organize your notes into broad categories. Think about how different categories relate to each other.
Find out what you don’t know, but need to know, by making up test questions and trying to answer them. Studying in groups helps as well.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
Taking the exam
Read the exam carefully
If you are given the entire exam at once and can determine your approach on your own, read the entire exam before you get started.
Look at how many points each part earns you, and find hints for how long your answers should be.
Figure out how much time you have and how best to use it. Write down the actual clock time that you expect to take in each section, and stick to it. This will help you avoid spending all your time on only one section. One strategy is to divide the available time according to percentage worth of the question. You don’t want to spend half of your time on something that is only worth one tenth of the total points.
As you read, make tentative choices of the questions you will answer (if you have a choice). Don’t just answer the first essay question you encounter. Instead, read through all of the options. Jot down really brief ideas for each question before deciding.
Remember that the easiest-looking question is not always as easy as it looks. Focus your attention on questions for which you can explain your answer most thoroughly, rather than settle on questions where you know the answer but can’t say why.
Analyze the questions
Decide what you are being asked to do. If you skim the question to find the main “topic” and then rush to grasp any related ideas you can recall, you may become flustered, lose concentration, and even go blank. Try looking closely at what the question is directing you to do, and try to understand the sort of writing that will be required.
Focus on what you do know about the question, not on what you don’t.
Look at the active verbs in the assignment—they tell you what you should be doing. We’ve included some of these below, with some suggestions on what they might mean. (For help with this sort of detective work, see the Writing Center handout titled Reading Assignments.)10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
Information words, such as who, what, when, where, how, and why ask you to demonstrate what you know about the subject.
Information words may include:
define—give the subject’s meaning (according to someone or something). Sometimes you have to give more than one view on the subject’s meaning.
explain why/how—give reasons why or examples of how something happened.
illustrate—give descriptive examples of the subject and show how each is connected with the subject.
summarize—briefly cover the important ideas you learned about the subject.
trace—outline how something has changed or developed from an earlier time to its current form.
research—gather material from outside sources about the subject, often with the implication or requirement that you will analyze what you’ve found.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
Relation words ask you to demonstrate how things are connected. Relation words may include:
compare—show how two or more things are similar (and, sometimes, different).
contrast—show how two or more things are dissimilar.
apply—use details that you’ve been given to demonstrate how an idea, theory, or concept works in a particular situation.
cause—show how one event or series of events made something else happen.
relate—show or describe the connections between things.
Interpretation words ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject. Don’t see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence. Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation. Interpretation words may include:
prove, justify—give reasons or examples to demonstrate how or why something is the truth.
evaluate, respond, assess—state your opinion of the subject as good, bad, or some combination of the two, with examples and reasons (you may want to compare your subject to something else).
support—give reasons or evidence for something you believe (be sure to state clearly what it is that you believe).
synthesize—put two or more things together that haven’t been put together before; don’t just summarize one and then the other, and say that they are similar or different—you must provide a reason for putting them together (as opposed to compare and contrast—see above).
analyze—look closely at the components of something to figure out how it works, what it might mean, or why it is important.
argue—take a side and defend it (with proof) against the other side.
Plan your answers
Think about your time again. How much planning time you should take depends on how much time you have for each question and how many points each question is worth. Here are some general guidelines:
For short-answer definitions and identifications, just take a few seconds. Skip over any you don’t recognize fairly quickly, and come back to them when another question jogs your memory.
For answers that require a paragraph or two, jot down several important ideas or specific examples that help to focus your thoughts.
For longer answers, you will need to develop a much more definite strategy of organization. You only have time for one draft, so allow a reasonable amount of time—as much as a quarter of the time you’ve allotted for the question—for making notes, determining a thesis, and developing an outline.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
For questions with several parts (different requests or directions, a sequence of questions), make a list of the parts so that you do not miss or minimize one part. One way to be sure you answer them all is to number them in the question and in your outline.
You may have to try two or three outlines or clusters before you hit on a workable plan. But be realistic—you want a plan you can develop within the limited time allotted for your answer. Your outline will have to be selective—not everything you know, but what you know that you can state clearly and keep to the point in the time available.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
Again, focus on what you do know about the question, not on what you don’t.
Writing your answers
As with planning, your strategy for writing depends on the length of your answer:
For short identifications and definitions, it is usually best to start with a general identifying statement and then move on to describe specific applications or explanations. Two sentences will almost always suffice, but make sure they are complete sentences. Find out whether the instructor wants definition alone, or definition and significance. Why is the identification term or object important?10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
For longer answers, begin by stating your forecasting statement or thesis clearly and explicitly. Strive for focus, simplicity, and clarity. In stating your point and developing your answers, you may want to use important course vocabulary words from the question. For example, if the question is, “How does wisteria function as a representation of memory in Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom?” you may want to use the words wisteria, representation, memory, and Faulkner) in your thesis statement and answer. Use these important words or concepts throughout the answer.
If you have devised a promising outline for your answer, then you will be able to forecast your overall plan and its subpoints in your opening sentence. Forecasting impresses readers and has the very practical advantage of making your answer easier to read. Also, if you don’t finish writing, it tells your reader what you would have said if you had finished (and may get you partial points).
You might want to use briefer paragraphs than you ordinarily do and signal clear relations between paragraphs with transition phrases or sentences.
As you move ahead with the writing, you may think of new subpoints or ideas to include in the essay. Stop briefly to make a note of these on your original outline. If they are most appropriately inserted in a section you’ve already written, write them neatly in the margin, at the top of the page, or on the last page, with arrows or marks to alert the reader to where they fit in your answer. Be as neat and clear as possible.
Don’t pad your answer with irrelevancies and repetitions just to fill up space. Within the time available, write a comprehensive, specific answer.
Watch the clock carefully to ensure that you do not spend too much time on one answer. You must be realistic about the time constraints of an essay exam. If you write one dazzling answer on an exam with three equally-weighted required questions, you earn only 33 points—not enough to pass at most colleges. This may seem unfair, but keep in mind that instructors plan exams to be reasonably comprehensive. They want you to write about the course materials in two or three or more ways, not just one way. Hint: if you finish a half-hour essay in 10 minutes, you may need to develop some of your ideas more fully.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
If you run out of time when you are writing an answer, jot down the remaining main ideas from your outline, just to show that you know the material and with more time could have continued your exposition.
Double-space to leave room for additions, and strike through errors or changes with one straight line (avoid erasing or scribbling over). Keep things as clean as possible. You never know what will earn you partial credit.
Write legibly and proofread. Remember that your instructor will likely be reading a large pile of exams. The more difficult they are to read, the more exasperated the instructor might become. Your instructor also cannot give you credit for what they cannot understand. A few minutes of careful proofreading can improve your grade.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind in writing essay exams is that you have a limited amount of time and space in which to get across the knowledge you have acquired and your ability to use it. Essay exams are not the place to be subtle or vague. It’s okay to have an obvious structure, even the five-paragraph essay format you may have been taught in high school. Introduce your main idea, have several paragraphs of support—each with a single point defended by specific examples, and conclude with a restatement of your main point and its significance.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
Some physiological tips
Just think—we expect athletes to practice constantly and use everything in their abilities and situations in order to achieve success. Yet, somehow many students are convinced that one day’s worth of studying, no sleep, and some well-placed compliments (“Gee, Dr. So-and-so, I really enjoyed your last lecture”) are good preparation for a test. Essay exams are like any other testing situation in life: you’ll do best if you are prepared for what is expected of you, have practiced doing it before, and have arrived in the best shape to do it.
You may not want to believe this, but it’s true: a good night’s sleep and a relaxed mind and body can do as much or more for you as any last-minute cram session. Colleges abound with tales of woe about students who slept through exams because they stayed up all night, wrote an essay on the wrong topic, forgot everything they studied, or freaked out in the exam and hyperventilated. If you are rested, breathing normally, and have brought along some healthy, energy-boosting snacks that you can eat or drink quietly, you are in a much better position to do a good job on the test. You aren’t going to write a good essay on something you figured out at 4 a.m. that morning. If you prepare yourself well throughout the semester, you don’t risk your whole grade on an overloaded, undernourished brain.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
If for some reason you get yourself into this situation, take a minute every once in a while during the test to breathe deeply, stretch, and clear your brain. You need to be especially aware of the likelihood of errors, so check your essays thoroughly before you hand them in to make sure they answer the right questions and don’t have big oversights or mistakes (like saying “Hitler” when you really mean “Churchill”).
If you tend to go blank during exams, try studying in the same classroom in which the test will be given. Some research suggests that people attach ideas to their surroundings, so it might jog your memory to see the same things you were looking at while you studied.
Try good luck charms. Bring in something you associate with success or the support of your loved ones, and use it as a psychological boost.
Take all of the time you’ve been allotted. Reread, rework, and rethink your answers if you have extra time at the end, rather than giving up and handing the exam in the minute you’ve written your last sentence. Use every advantage you are given.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
Remember that instructors do not want to see you trip up—they want to see you do well. With this in mind, try to relax and just do the best you can. The more you panic, the more mistakes you are liable to make. Put the test in perspective: will you die from a poor performance? Will you lose all of your friends? Will your entire future be destroyed? Remember: it’s just a test.
The Pre-Game: Good Study Habits
1. Keep up with your work. If you attend class regularly, keep up with readings, and take notes conscientiously, studying can be a relatively pain-free process. Make sure to review and expand upon class notes regularly throughout the semester. Consider developing a glossary or collection of note cards for vocabulary review in each class. Many students find that preparing for an individual class for 60-90 minutes per day, five or six days per week, will leave them well-prepared at exam time. To assist students with organization at finals time, we have compiled a couple of time management tools that are included with this page.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
2. Don’t cram at the last second. Building off our previous entry, try studying for 60-90 minutes per day for a week leading up to an exam. All-nighters simply don’t work for most people, and students experience declining returns on their efforts when they attempt to study for four and five hours straight.
3. Complete a mock test. So many social science, natural science, and foreign language text books contain hundreds of questions at the end of chapters that never get answered. Why not set aside an hour, and try to answer these questions on paper without using your notes? If you complete a mock test 3-4 days before an exam, you’ll then know where to focus your studying. You may also combat pre-test jitters by demonstrating to yourself what you know. For the humanities, try answering a couple of potential essay questions on a timed, closed book basis and see how you do. Another simple way to conduct a mock test is to ask a friend or classmate to give you an oral quiz based on concepts in the textbook or in either of your notes.
4. Do not multi-task while studying. Set aside time to study in advance and then follow through. For most people, that means leaving your dorm room and turning off visual/auditory distractions, including iPods, Facebook, and music with lyrics.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
5. If you have outstanding questions, go see your professor or tutor at least three days before the exam. If you’ve given yourself a mock test in advance, you’ll be able to go to office hours with an agenda.
6. Think about what written questions might be on the exam; Outline each potential essay as a form of pretesting and practice.
7. Find a group of dedicated students with whom to study. A group study session is an ideal time to review and compare notes, ask each other questions, explain ideas to one another, discuss the upcoming exam and difficult concepts, and, when appropriate, delegate study tasks. Do set an agenda and a specific time frame for your group study session, so that your work together doesn’t veer off-topic.
8. Keep your ears open in class. Your professor will sometimes come right out and tell you about the exam or present study strategies. You need to be in class every day to receive such help. This is particularly true as tests and final exams approach. Use review sheets thoroughly.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
9. Review your class notes every day. Add keywords, summaries, idea maps, graphs, charts, discussion points, and questions where applicable. Take the time to organize lecture notes after class, adding key examples from labs and course readings.
10. Take notes on the course readings. You should also review these notes on a regular basis. Again, create visual enhancements when possible (e.g., compare/contrast charts, timelines, etc.). Use both your course notebook and the text’s margins to record valuable information. Please see our entries on reading for further information on this topic.
11. Make sure to get plenty of sleep. Sleeping hours are often the time when we completely synthesize information, especially topics we’ve covered in the couple of hours before bedtime. You want to be as fresh as possible and able to fully engage your working memory when you take the exam. Also, don’t stop exercising or taking time for yourself, even at final exam time.
12. Find ways to apply materials from class. Think about how course topics relate to your personal interests, societal problems and controversies, issues raised in other classes, or different experiences in your life.
Game-Day: Performing Well on the Exam
1. Develop a good ‘morning-of’ routine. Eat a healthy breakfast. If music gets you going, go ahead and play something upbeat. Get a bit of physical exercise, even if it’s a brief stretch or brisk walk. If you’re feeling nervous, record your fears on paper or use mental imagery to envision doing something that you enjoy and then apply those feelings towards the exam. Think of preparing like an athlete before a contest or a musician before a performance.
2. When you first receive the exam, glance over the entire test before you start. Create a plan of attack. Write down any key terms or formulas that you’ll need before starting. Think about how you’ll use the time allotted.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
3. Read the directions carefully. If something doesn’t make sense to you, ask the professor. Remember that many questions at the college level have multiple queries or prompts.
4. Write out a brief outline before beginning essay questions.
5. Use the process of elimination on multiple-choice and matching questions. Also, for multiple choice questions, you may wish to cover the options first and try to answer the question on your own. That way, you’ll find the answer options less confusing. As you prepare for multiple choice exams, make sure to be aware of context, relationships and positionality among concepts, and multiple definitions of terms. A deep understanding of vocabulary is a key to success on multiple-choice exams.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
6. Leave the most time-consuming problems for the end, especially those with low point values.
7. Focus on the question at hand. If you complete the test one step at a time, you are much less likely to find it to be overwhelming.
8. If you are stuck on a question, bypass it. Mark the question off, so you can return to it at the end of the exam.
9. Show as much work as possible. This is particularly important for math exams. Make sure that you’re answering each part of the question.
10. If you have time at the end of the exam, go back and proofread your work and look over multiple-choice questions again. Check to see that you have answered every question before you turn in the exam. But remember, your first answer is usually your best answer. Be extremely cautious about changing answers later on.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
11. Some people benefit from conducting a memory dump when they first receive a test. That is, they jot down a comprehensive list of concepts, formulas, vocabulary, and details at the beginning and revisit these ideas as they’re progressing through the test.
12. See if there is a way to draw a picture or otherwise create a visual description of the question you are trying to answer.
13. Strive to include course terms and concepts in written responses (correctly, of course).
Post-Game: Reviewing Your Performance
1. If there was a part of the exam on which you struggled, go see your professor. This is likely not the last time you’ll see the concept covered.
2. Hold onto your notebooks. You never know when the information you’ve learned will be useful in another situation. The same rule goes for many of your books.
3. Take a moment to review your test preparation strategies. Take account of what worked and what needs improvement. In particular, take a moment to gauge whether your study group was helpful. If you feel like your test-preparation strategies need work, go see your professor or the Academic Advising Office.
4. Reward yourself. If you’ve studied conscientiously for a week or more, you should take a bit of time to relax before getting started with your studies again.10 Final Exam Guide Essay.
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