American History Lecture Fourteen
NOTE THIS CHANGE IN THE SCHEDULE: THERE WILL BE NO CLASS ON JAN. 8th. THE FINAL EXAM WILL BE IN CLASS ON JAN. 15th.
We completed the course material last week, and this final lecture prepares you for the final exam, which will consist of about 50 questions with a time limit of about 45 minutes. This closed-book exam covers the entire course, but the second half (after Reconstruction) will be weighted twice as much as the first half (up until and through Reconstruction). One question will be identical to a question on the midterm. No points will be deducted for wrong answers. The make-up of the exam will roughly be:
- Political history: 35% (politicians, legislation, court decisions)
- Foreign policy: 15% (Wars, dealings with foreign countries)
- Economic history: 20% (money, jobs, business, trade)
- Social history: 20% (reform movements, religion, racism, immigration)
- Intellectual and cultural history: 10% (books, media, conformity, hippies, etc.)
How to prepare? I know what I would do. I'd memorize the information in the lectures and event lists. I would take some lectures or the event lists with me when I'm riding in the car, waiting in line, IM'ing on the internet (actually, I rarely "IM"), etc. Each day I would learn a little more. By the day of the exam, I would be able to say this: there is almost nothing someone can ask me about American history that I do not know, or at least have an idea how to figure out.
Ultimately, the score is yours. Ultimately your success is up to you. Try your best.
There are between 360 and 370 events in each of the two event lists. But also keep a perspective on the "big picture." Learn the details about the French and Indian War, but also be sure to know who won the war. Good history preparation requires constantly asking yourself questions: do you know who was president in that year, do you know what the culture was like, do know what the political parties were then and what they stood for, do you know which foreign countries were friendly and which ones were not, etc.?
If the total of about 730 terms in the two event lists seems like too many to learn, then consider this: some students memorize the entire dictionary of tens of thousands of words in order to try to win the national spelling bee. Quiz yourself while you are in the car. Quiz yourself while you are waiting to be picked up. Quiz yourself instead of watching television. Ask your mom to quiz you, and she will be amazed at what you know.
Ted Williams became the best hitter ever in baseball (excluding those who use steroids!) by devoting all of his interest and attention to it. He developed a love for the art of hitting a baseball. He studied every aspect of it in his drive to be the best. Find a way to motivate yourself in a similar manner about American history, and you will do remarkably well.