Mid-Term Jeopardy.

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Mid-Term Jeopardy.

Postby Boyish-Tigerlilly » 2007-10-19 01:04pm

Has anyone here ever taken the "factoid test?" I hate those things. It's basically a true/false or multiple choice test that coveres a thousand pages of reading, notes, images, etc, but then asks random "fact questions" about random portions of it, only covering a miniscule fraction of the material.

You basically have to be a pointless human filing cabinet and memorize every possible little detail about everything, because virtually anything could be a question, no matter how insignificant it might seem.

On top of that, since there's only a few samples from each topic covered, if you get one wrong, it's functionally assumed you know nothing about the topic, when in reality, you just didn't zerox the shit word for word into your head, every minor detail.

How the fuck do you prepare for shit like that? That's been my experience with history classes. I almost get no real "big ideas" questions where I apply or analyse events. It's endless ream after ream of factoids, unconnected.

Is this just my university, or is this the case in your experiences too? I was working on deep connections and understandings of ideas, but instead got Jeopardy: University Edition Trivia. My community college wasn't like this. It seems I downgraded when I transfered.
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Postby Darth Wong » 2007-10-19 01:07pm

I only took one university-level history course, and it was a third-year course. But I don't recall anything like that. That sounds more like a really bad high-school history teacher.
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Postby brianeyci » 2007-10-19 01:15pm

Complain.

Factoid tests should generally test only the major facts. Even the worst of worst English teachers do not tell you to memorize a pointless line or a minor character. Don't skip lectures. The lecturer should indicate what factoid he wants you to memorize if he's really doing it that way.

Find a biology major. They are the fucking crazy ones who have to memorize practically their whole book.

For my payroll course I had factoid tests. The only way to prepare for them if you can't complain is read and read and read over and over, and before the night read again. You need to read in blocks and very fast. The way to do it is fix your vision in the middle of the page and scroll down it, like you're reading a newspaper. You must use your peripherial vision. If you focus on each individual word, you will have a harder time remembering than if you scanned down like that. If you scan every page five times, your memory should kick in, and if it doesn't you're fucked.

That's the best answer I have. Also, facing a bullshit test like that don't feel bad about getting last term's tests. Usually the same factoids are tested over and over. If the teacher is too lazy to make an essay question and mark it properly he might be too lazy to make a new test every semester. Then again, it's entirely possible that the guy is really stupid and puts in a herculean effort to make a new test every term with brand new factoids and thinks himself brilliant for it, proving again that effort does not always equal quality.

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Postby Dooey Jo » 2007-10-19 01:16pm

I've never had anything like that. We did, however, one time get the test a week beforehand, so that we would know what to answer during the actual test. Of course, the questions were of the type "explain the fall of Rome" and the answers were to be several pages long...
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Postby Alferd Packer » 2007-10-19 01:23pm

Is this a lower level history course? I took a few history classes as part of my humanities requirements, and we didn't have to memorize factoids in any way, shape, or form. In fact, we spent the semester analyzing and interpreting events with which the course was concerned, as well as reading other historians' thoughts on whatever subjects were at hand.
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Postby Boyish-Tigerlilly » 2007-10-19 01:29pm

I see. I will try to do some of that. Seems helpful to scan the page, since I didn't know that technique. What really pisses me off is that these types of questions take the place of far more important content. I have no clue what the hell possesses them to give you the crust instead of the meat of the bread. They aren't even hard questions.

One was like "how many carnelian beads were found in the Aegean during the 3rd Millennium," or "what was the exact radio-carbon date for Spirit-cave man." Bizarre off-the-wall shit. Of course, the answer is 1 for the first, but hte only way you would know that is from the last sentence on the last paragraph of the last page of one book we read at the beginning of the semester. :lol:

There weren't even essays on the test. I think my US history I class had those. This was like turning Bloom's Taxonomy on it's head. Thanks for the advice. Now that I know what his tests are like, I can better prepare for the Final.
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Postby Darth Servo » 2007-10-19 02:33pm

My university level history grades were always based heavily on written essays.
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Postby Johonebesus » 2007-10-19 03:02pm

As others have said, college level history should be more about analyzing cultures and movements than memorizing names and dates, and exams are mostly essays. You have a bad instructor. Don't let this spoil you on history.
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