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How to study for a quotation based exam in Literature (college)? - June 9th 2015, 06:47 PM

Hey everyone,

I am an Aerospace Engineering major, and taking one of my core requirements for my degree over this Summer (I didn't need it previously until moving to Texas -- we only need 2 composition courses which I took several years ago). Our midterm and final are based over the stories and novellas we read, however, the entire midterm and final is quotation based. She gives a quote, usually a few sentences, and you have to attribute it to the author.

I asked the professor and she said to keep up on your journals and do the readings. However, my study habits for engineering are vastly different. It's mostly learned through repetition and conceptual understandings. I'm not good when it comes to detailed based quotations and attributing it to someone.

What I've been doing is keeping up on my journals, then I have a separate paper where I write down the main characters and the plot of the story to recollect what the story was about. But, I have no idea how this is going to help me with quotations unless they are that obvious.

Does anyone have suggestions? I've considered re-reading the stories, but I feel that's a waste of time, as I understand the general plot, and feel like I should spend the spare time I have enjoying Summer since it's the last one before I start interning.

The primary problem I have is I need to maintain my GPA. It's currently a 3.9, but after Junior classes most Engineers GPA averages between a 2.5 and 3.0, so I'm trying not to lower my GPA at all with courses like this. Most jobs in Aerospace also require a 3.0-3.5 GPA, which in any engineering discipline is difficult.

Anyone have suggestions on how to prepare for these? Sorry to go off on a tangent.
   
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Re: How to study for a quotation based exam in Literature (college)? - June 10th 2015, 06:08 AM

Hey there,

I'm not entirely sure what your professor's quotation based test is going to look like, so I'm going to give you a couple different suggestions and you can decide what you think will work best for you.

Writing out the major plot points of the story and the main characters, like you're currently doing, is a great start. Depending on the quotations your professor chooses, you might be able to use contextual clues to help you figure out what piece of literature the quote comes from. Of course, memorize the author that wrote each piece, since you said your professor will be having you match the quotation to the author. Even if the quote isn't blatantly obvious (doesn't mention the character's name, an obscure portion of the story), having a basic understanding of the major points in the novel(s) will help you narrow down your options.

Another way that you can go about studying is to examine the styles of each particular author. Obviously, this isn't going to work as well if the styles of the different authors that you studied are all very similar. If there are obvious differences from author to author, however, this might be a good route to take. For example, Dickens tends to write run-on sentences, especially when he is trying to describe something. He goes a bit heavy on the adjectives. If you were to see a quote with a lot of adjectives and a sentence that is longer than average, you would be able to narrow your choices down, including Dickens as one of your answers. I'm not sure if this makes as much sense on paper as it does in my head, but I hope you're able to understand what I'm trying to say.

I'm actually really good at English, so if you need help studying, feel free to shoot me a PM.

Good luck on your exam! I have faith that you're gonna kill it!


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Re: How to study for a quotation based exam in Literature (college)? - June 10th 2015, 11:36 AM

I think Sammi has some good ideas here, I can't offer anything else... apart from WTH prof? This exam just sounds plain weird.


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Re: How to study for a quotation based exam in Literature (college)? - June 10th 2015, 01:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elixir. View Post
Hey there,

I'm not entirely sure what your professor's quotation based test is going to look like, so I'm going to give you a couple different suggestions and you can decide what you think will work best for you.

Writing out the major plot points of the story and the main characters, like you're currently doing, is a great start. Depending on the quotations your professor chooses, you might be able to use contextual clues to help you figure out what piece of literature the quote comes from. Of course, memorize the author that wrote each piece, since you said your professor will be having you match the quotation to the author. Even if the quote isn't blatantly obvious (doesn't mention the character's name, an obscure portion of the story), having a basic understanding of the major points in the novel(s) will help you narrow down your options.

Another way that you can go about studying is to examine the styles of each particular author. Obviously, this isn't going to work as well if the styles of the different authors that you studied are all very similar. If there are obvious differences from author to author, however, this might be a good route to take. For example, Dickens tends to write run-on sentences, especially when he is trying to describe something. He goes a bit heavy on the adjectives. If you were to see a quote with a lot of adjectives and a sentence that is longer than average, you would be able to narrow your choices down, including Dickens as one of your answers. I'm not sure if this makes as much sense on paper as it does in my head, but I hope you're able to understand what I'm trying to say.

I'm actually really good at English, so if you need help studying, feel free to shoot me a PM.

Good luck on your exam! I have faith that you're gonna kill it!
Hey! I really appreciate the advice. We just started the course (it's a Summer course), so I'm just trying to stay on top of it.

I actually started taking your advice before seeing your response, but I was wondering if it was cool to collaborate with you about various authors I encounter to get your input? For example, we finished the Mark Twain section of Heath Anthology. I noticed that his style tends to play on dialects and has references to war, imperialism, pacifism, and religion. A lot of his stories tend to involve a "stranger." I made note of this, and it seems to coincide with a lot of his views in person after having a lecture on him.

The other person we've read is Herman Melville. I didn't have much to say about him, other than his style is very complicated, rigorous, and difficult to understand.

Do you have any additional thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahray View Post
I think Sammi has some good ideas here, I can't offer anything else... apart from WTH prof? This exam just sounds plain weird.
Haha, right!? Both the midterm and finals are quotation based. There are only two writing assignments (one being daily journals). The midterm is 16.5% of the grade, the final is 16.5%, the journals are 33.33%, and the research paper is 33.33% of the grade. Sooooo, assuming I can do well on the writing assignments, I only need a 75% average on the tests which consist of 33 questions each.

It just seems overwhelming and frightening because I've not experienced something like this before. It seems ridiculous. But, on the other hand, I guess it prevents people from using SparkNotes. I just wish there was more to the exam than quotes only. Blah.
   
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