History

In order to write a good exam, you need to think carefully about the text and your writing. You must organize and present your thoughts with maximum precision, clarity, and conciseness. Begin your exam with the author, title, and facts of publication, using a standard bibliographical form. For the first exam (as an example):

 

Isaac Hourwich, Immigration and Labor: The Economic Aspects of European Immigration to the United States (New York and London: Putnam, 1912).

 

Here are five questions, the answers to which must form the substance of your exam. Answer each of them in the order given. Devote a separate section to each, and number your sections to correspond with the number of the questions. Number the pages of your review as well.

 

1. What is author’s purpose in writing the book?

 

2. What is the author’s thesis?

 

3. What assumptions about society and politics guide the author’s work? What notions of causality guide the author’s explanations in the work? You will likely have to dig out the answer to these questions by means of a careful, thoughtful, reading. This section can include a brief summary of the book. However, make sure the summary is tied into the primary issue of perspectives and point of view.

 

4. What sources does the author use to develop the thesis of the book, and why are these sources used? Do not give a laundry-list of sources. Discuss types of sources used, not used, and the reasons for turning to some kinds of sources rather than others. Provide a minimum of four citations from the text and include an explicit statement about the pertinence and types of sources in light of the author’s theses and theory.

 

5. How well is the author’s purpose accomplished? In this section you have an opportunity to make a critical evaluation of the book. You will want to address the issues of what is well done, poorly done and originally done.

 

Exams must be 12pt, double-spaced, five complete pages at the minimum and seven at the maximum. These are requirements not suggestions.

 

Note: Cite exact pages in your answers to each question, e.g. (23-24) and avoid direct quotations from the work that exceed two lines. Do not use any outside sources.

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