How to Write a Good Quiz
The quizzes in this class are intended as a measure of whether students are:
1. Keeping abreast of the readings;
2. Grasping the basic concepts;
Developing a fundamental vocabulary of
the major traditions that we will study
Quizzes are not Exams
As you prepare for and take the quizzes, remember that their only purpose is to measure the basics.† I do not expect exam-length responses, but concise, to-the-point answers.† The quizzes are intentionally brief (10-15 minutes) to show that you have the basics at your fingertips.† If you feel extremely rushed, you might be writing too much.† If you have to ruminate for very long to retrieve the basics, you might not know them well enough yet.†
Quizzes include definitions, short answers, and
sometimes image identification.†
Here are a few suggestions and some samples of well-written answers:
While a definition need be no longer than two or three lines, one really pithy sentence can earn the full points.† The terms for definition will always be taken from the terms listed in lecture notes or in the main text, with one exception:† occasionally a central term will appear from the reading for the day of the quiz (i.e., if the reading is ďSeeing the SacredĒ in Hindu religion, the term darsan might appear on the quiz).† Also, occasionally I might throw in a more obscure term from the readings for extra credit.
The following are sample responses from recent quizzes.† Each one received full points:
∑ Dharma refers to the structure of the cosmos and especially society, and to the rules pertaining to it.† A personís dharma is his duty in life, based on his caste.
∑ Örefers to the cycle of death and rebirth and to the whole universe, which is characterized by flux and flow.
Short answers should be 3-5 lines and get to the heart of the question, based on the lecture and/or reading.† You can certainly add more, but points are gained by basics.† Here are a few recent examples:
Period ranged from 800-400 BCE.† During
that time, Aryan settlements emerged and brought about the development of
agriculture and urbanization.† The
Upanishads emerged during this time with an emphasis on re-interpretation of
older texts.† That coincided with the
development of ideas of karma and moksha.
∑ During the Speculative Period (800-400 BCE) the Indian civilizations were becoming more urbanized and settling in cities.† Principle texts include the 13 major Upanishads that were written at this time.† Also, there was a stronger emphasis on self attainment and stressed a movement away from ritualized sacrifice by priests.
What do Yoga and Sanyasa have to do with each other?
It would be very difficult to do well on quizzes by relying solely on your memory of the lectures.† Sometimes we donít get to each of the relevant terms in class, and every quiz contains something based on the reading for that same day.† Nevertheless, it should be fairly easy and not unduly time- or sleep-consuming to do well on the quizzes.† Here is the formula:
up with the readings, making notes on them as you go
careful notes on the lectures and check them against the posted lecture
(which give only the general structure)
your reading and lecture notes once or twice before the quiz, being sure to. .
4. Quiz yourself.† This means that you:
a. Write out definitions to each of the terms
b. Write out responses to the questions that you anticipate could be on the quiz
c. Check these responses for accuracy
You will probably need to do these things in order to do well on the quizzes (and thus in the course).† However, once you get into the swing of doing them, and have a sense of how much is enough, the quizzes should not seem like such a burden.
I will always meet with you to go over a quiz or exam, to talk about the
class, anything.† Itís not only my job,
I like doing it.† I want you to do
well.† You can expect me to help you
with the class.† If you feel especially
anxious about the quizzes, letís meet, regularly if needed, to work on
them.† I challenge you to test me on
Quizzes help prepare you for the
exam.† Get them back! Check them
over!† Correct them!† Know them!†
Quizzes are only one measure of progress in the class.† They donít measure other important things --† for example, your
own creative or critical take on the material or what is most important to
you about it.† They merely show that
you are getting the basics.