Exam Prep

The exam format example

  1. Question 1
  2. Question 2 We Did In Class
  3. Question 3

Question 1 (stories and essays):

In the beginning of the course we discussed the core components of what is usually referred to as narrative text and expository text. We looked at these in the context of "stories" and "essays." When discovered that stories have the following components:

  • Characters
  • A setting or settings
  • A plot and within the plot there is often some sort of tension that is either resolved or left unresolved.

Later on within the course, we discovered that plots which contain an ending that is resolved, are referred to as closed-ended narratives. When some tension is left unresolved at the end of the story, the story is called an open-ended story.

Essays, on the other hand, have a different set of parts:

  • A thesis: a single overarching idea that is being outlined, or opinion that is being addressed and which provides a focus for the essay. A thesis is often a clear answer to a core question or set of questions (could be stated but don't have to be) that are really being answered in the essay
  • An introduction that often provides context, that shows what the essay will be about. They might also provide an overveiw of what's going to be explained in the essay
  • Examples that are described and that will be used to illustrate the points that are being made in the essay
  • Explanations of the points that are being made
  • Some sort of ordering strategy that holds the discussion together
  • A conclusion that brings the ideas presented in the essay together.

We also learned in looking at some of the items we discussed from the textbook, that although there are some pieces of writing that are strictly "stories" or "essays" there are others that overlap. Some stories have a bit of a point that they're trying to make using the events in the story as examples. Some essays on the other hand can also contain significant story elements.

For Question 1 you will be given a story or an essay and then asked to identify and discuss the specific elements of this piece of work that identify it as a story, or as a essay, so : plot, character, setting, tension, and resolution; and/or examples, explanations, conclusions and introductions. I won't ask you about ordering strategies as we didn't really look at how these worked so much as we started to learn how to use them in our own work.

As a "for instance" here's an essay at Slate (it's a bit longer than what would normally show up as a sight passage on the exam...maybe 20-30% longer). And here are some example questions and responses. Before looking at my responses though, why not try your own out, see how you do, and then go back and take a look at mine.

Question 3 (Essay Response):

Sample Part 3 Exam Question

  Hel.  O! I am out of breath in this fond chase.


The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.


Happy is Hermia, wheresoe’er she lies;


For she hath blessed and attractive eyes.


How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears:


If so, my eyes are oftener wash’d than hers.


No, no, I am as ugly as a bear;


For beasts that meet me run away for fear;


Therefore no marvel though Demetrius


Do, as a monster, fly my presence thus.


What wicked and dissembling glass of mine


Made me compare with Hermia’s sphery eyne?


But who is here? Lysander! on the ground!


Dead? or asleep? I see no blood, no wound.


Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake.

  1. In a short essay identify three different literary devices used in the passage above and then explain how the devices you have identified contribute to this passage.  In order to explain how the devices add to the meaning of this passage, you will need to outline what is being said in the passage, although you do not need to provide a line-by-line transcription.

Here's my sample essay response and then a "silly" (but fun) response as well.