We'll have four non-cumulative exams this semester, each coupled with a Self-Assessment exercise. See the links below for specific grading criteria and formatting requirements for each exam. You'll notice that exam weights ramp up over the course of the semester. This gives you the opportunity to earn better grades over time as you're able to incorporate the writing principles we're learning each week into your writing along with instructor feedback.
Left Header: Full Name
|✔||Each essay (if applicable) begins on a new page - utilizing page breaks to prevent post-submission editing shifting things around (How do I use a page break?)|
|✔||Each essay (if applicable) has its own Works Cited (if Works Cited won't fit on the last page of that essay in its entirety, then page break it to its own page)|
|✔||Question text appears at the start of each essay in bold, single-spaced text|
|✔||One inch margins on all sides|
|✔||12 point serif font such as Times New Roman (What is a serif font?)|
|✔||Adheres to prescribed word count range|
Submitted as 2 drafts (one which is edited and one which is final with no edits visible) with Track Changes employed to demonstrate your writing process. (Help! What is Track Changes and how do I do THAT?)
1. Write your first draft.
Double-spacing for essays
|✔||Single-spacing for each Works Cited entry with a hanging indent (How do I do a hanging indent?); double space between entries|
|✔||Correct citation formatting for both parenthetical citations and references|
|✔||Maximum 10% of word count for direct quotes; maximum another 15% for paraphrased quotes|
How to be successful on GEOG 438W Essay Exams
- Answer the question accurately and thoroughly (as opposed to writing about a tangentially related topic)
- Answer all parts of the question – These questions are deliberately multidimensional and it is important that you devote enough discussion in each essay to all the components of the question.
- Incorporate referenced reading assignments - If a question references a reading assignment, it is impossible for you to adequately answer that question without discussing the reading assignment – And, ‘discuss’ means more than one standalone quote from the author in your essay or simply putting those works in your bibliography. It means you should weave what they’ve talked about into what you’re talking about and utilize their work to support your answer. This also means that the reading assignment must appear in your citation for that essay.
- Write in an academic tone – Students often write very conversationally. There’s never a need to start a sentence with ‘In my opinion’ or ‘I think’ – do not use first or second person (I, we, us, you). You want your academic writing to be formal and professional. Also avoid colloquial phrases and over-dramatic, broad, unsubstantiated assertions (climate change is destroying everything on our planet). Also avoid contractions (they’re, it’s, should’ve).
- Follow the formatting instructions completely – Why am I being so picky with these details? It is really not that I have strong font preferences. Instead, it is about your ability to demonstrate attention to detail and take pride in the appearance of your work.
- Adhere to the word count guidance – Turning in an essay which is dramatically under the word count reveals that your answer does not include enough detail. Turning in an essay which is over the word count reveals an inability to pare down your thoughts and strategically eliminate wordy phrases. It’s important to hit the sweet spot in between!
- Avoid plagiarism – I know that it can be challenging to paraphrase the work of others and incorporate it into your own discussion, but you need to be careful with this. Also, if you are taking something (like the definition of a term) directly (word for word) from a source – including our class website – you need to use quotation marks. I run all exams through Turn It In, and plagiarism is taken very seriously.
Stand-alone quotes – related to this, try to integrate quoted material into your discussion better. You can do this in simple ways such as starting a sentence with, “As Smith et al. discuss…” It really improves the overall flow of the essay and forces you to really incorporate quoted material with your own thoughts.
- Implement specified citation format properly in text and in the Reference List– This class requires APA Style.
- Submit the exam on time – The standard late penalty applies. The due date is not the time at which you should try to upload your file. It’s the time at which you’re responsible for already having your correct and complete file uploaded. Failure to do so will result in lost points.