Strategies for Taking the Final Examination:
Given the fact that the final examination is worth 33% of the final course grade, I want to offer some words of advice with regard to how to compose it. First, I will begin with some general information. The exam date and time is listed on the final week of the assignments calendar on the course syllabus. The location of the exam will be announced as the exam date draws near.
The exam will be word-processed, so it will be taken in a computer lab.
You will have two hours to complete the exam.
Arrive at the lab at least 15 minutes early, find a computer, and logon.
Open a blank document, save it to the hard drive, so as to avoid lost work through computer mishaps.
Once the exam begins, save the essay to the hard drive every few minutes.
After you have completed the exam, and successfully turned in a paper copy to me, delete the paper from the computer's hard drive.
Understand that the essays go through a double-blind grading processblind means that your name appears nowhere on the paper. Instead, only your TC Student ID number appears on the paper. The English Department does this so that the grading process is fair. First, they are graded blind by a random instructor in the English Department, and then without knowing that grade, or who the student is, I grade it. Afterwards, an average is struck between the two grades. Essays are evaluated in terms of unity, coherence, supporting evidence, and sentence structure. Really, I do not have that much control over it, but I have a solid sense of what other graders generally look for; hence, I am offering up this guideline.
Your job on the final exam is to write an argumentative essay, and you will be given six possible thesis statements to choose from—two on each topic. For example, "tobacco companies should be held liable for the damage their products do to people's health," or "tobacco companies should not be held liable for the damage their products do to people's health.
Now here are the things you must do:
Write exactly five paragraphs. No more, no less. An introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, one conclusion paragraph.
Compose a narrative that stays unfailingly in the third-person.
Use academic prose: just follow the academic prose requirements in
"Lecture 2: Formatting and Academic Prose: Read This Before Turning in Any Work."
Absolutely make your thesis statement the final sentence of the introductory paragraph.
Compose an introductory paragraph that sufficiently lays out the topic for the reader, which means that it would be a good idea to review
"The 5 Paragraph Essay Format,"
under Course Documents.
Proofread and edit carefully. Grammar and punctuation count.
The exam begins, and you choose your thesis, so how do you start? Open a blank document in Word because this is going to be your outline. Type the thesis. Erase the period, and add the word "because." Here is an example:
Example one: Tobacco companies should be held liable for the damage their products do to people's health.
This is a reasonable thesis, but it does not demonstrate excellence.
Example two: Tobacco companies should be held liable for the damage their products do to people's health because (you will add to this).
This is the beginning of a far better thesis because you are going to add three specific reasons why tobacco companies should be held liable.
Next step: come up with three solid reasons why tobacco companies should be held liable. For example:
1) They drive up health care costs for everyone.
2) There is legal precedent insofar as tobacco companies have been successfully sued in the past.
3) There is sufficient evidence to suggest that they market to children and adolescents.
Next step: combine the reasons into your thesis, like so:
Tobacco companies should be held liable for the damage their products do to people's health because they drive up health care costs for everyone, there is legal precedent, insofar as tobacco companies have been successfully sued in the past, and there is sufficient evidence to suggest that they market to children and adolescents.
This is quite a strong thesis, and it is, in fact, what the department is looking for students to demonstrate with regard to thesis-composing skill.
In effect, you have just created a map for your essay. You have told the graders of your essay exactly what your three body paragraphs will focus on. With that thesis, here is what you just told the graders the structure of your essay will be:
1) Introductory paragraph: lays out the topic and the problem. Finishes with the thesis.
2) First body paragraph: focuses on how tobacco companies drive up health care costs for everyone.
3) Second body paragraph: focuses on how tobacco companies have been successfully sued in the past.
4) Third body paragraph: focuses on how tobacco companies market to children and adolescents.
5) Final paragraph: Write a conclusion paragraph.
Check your essay for grammar, punctuation, typos—essentially, proofread very carefully, and then revise.
Print it, and turn it in to me.
Although I cannot guarantee the grade your essay will receive by following this strategy, I am confident that it dramatically increases your chances to do well on the final examination.