Study guide for JMC2300 April 5 exam

This guide is me (professor Lathrop) doing my best to guide you both to the right material to study and some good strategies on how to study for it. If you haven’t been keeping up to this point, it should give you at least a chance catching yourself up.

My exams are built with the idea that if you have done the reading, attended class and paid attention to both they should be fairly easy to complete. Most recall-based questions are designed to each be challenging, but to fall within the parameters of the “takeaways” presented at the top of each class.

You can find those in the slides.

Having participated in the in class activities in a thoughtful way should prepare you well for the “short answer” (three to five sentence) questions as it will have forced you to tackle some of the same issues.

Questions may be drawn from the reading, class or both. Items from the reading referred to in the takeaways are fair game even if they were only minimally discussed (or called out to) in class.

Most of you said the last exam was about the right length, so this exam is structured the same way.

Exam structure

The exam will have the following:

  • 15 multiple choice questions at 0.5 points each
  • seven true/false questions at 0.5. points each
  • four fill-in-the-blanks questions at 0.5 points each
  • two definitions at 1 point each
  • two three to five sentence short answer questions at 2.5 points each
  • four extra credit news questions at 0.5 points each

That’s a total of 20 regular points and 2 extra credit points. It’s also only 30 regular questions and four extra credit questions for which you have 1 hour and 15 minutes. Most people finished very quickly last time, but there was a definite correlation between taking more time to finish and getting a higher score. So maybe, don’t rush?

What’s in the questions?

The questions are drawn from the material since the last exam on Feb. 15. You are accountable for all the material listed in each day’s “takeaways.”

All were discussed at least briefly in class. In some cases it is the only place it was covered. In some cases, a topic got additional in-depth treatment in the textbook. You are accountable for everything discussed in class and everything in the textbook called out to in class or closely related to the material from class.

In addition to questions related to our takeaways, there will be one question each drawn from the presentations by visiting journalists Mark Johson and Nikole Hannah-Jones.

A word about the short answer questions …

These will demand you to draw and argue briefly for a conclusion. This is different than simply expressing an option. You should clearly state explain conclusion and provide multiple pieces of supporting evidence drawn from class. Giving real world examples – particularly from recent news – is another great way to explain and support your point.

Think about the kind of things I’ve had you discuss as a whole, within small groups, write on cards, etc. in class. Those are the kind of topics you can expect to tackle. In fact, don’t be surprised if one or both of them is verbatim the same as an in-class exercise or discussion.

Study resources

In addition to your notes (you’re take notes, right?) and the slides you have some excellent resources from your textbook and the textbook website.

In the textbook:

  • The end-of-chapter summaries. You should be able to recall them and understand all the terms used in them.
  • The end-of-chapter discussion questions. You should feel comfortable providing an answer to them that would reference the material from this course.

Textbook website:

  • Practice tests. These are the kind of questions that will in the first three sections (multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank) section of the test. Some of them will actually be from the practice tests.
  • Flash cards. These are the kind of terms – and defintions – that will be covered in the definitions section.

Study advice

This course relies mostly on being able to recall and apply key ideas and terms about journalism. Four of the five weeks were related to chapters from the text.

These are applicable not only to this course, but most of your lecture-based social science and humanities courses will require you to be able to explain the importance of key people, terms and events.

The following steps are helpful to most students:

Create a study sheet

Write down a list of the takeaways from each day. Luckily for you, in this course I provide them in list form.

If it is a “define”, write the defintion. For others, list the key terms you feel you would be relevant and write their definitions.

Take the practice exam online

If you get an incorrect answer, re-read the relevant section of the book and your notes. If you’re missing one thing from that area, you may be missing more.

Discuss it together

Meet with a group of your peers and go through your study together, comparing your answers. Go through the discussion questions at the end of the chapter and take turns answering them.

For some people, creating a study sheet and taking practice exams is more effective if done in a group. So consider that.

Good luck, and may the Force be with you.