HOW TO SUCCEED ON ESSAY EXAMS Before the exam Have a study strategy: Look at your class notes and the text. What items did the professor emphasize or seem to have a passion about? Think of questions the professor might ask on the test. Make a list of ideas and have a friend do the same. Narrow down to the most likely questions and make sure you learn as much as you can about those topics. Make lists of important information like who, what, when, why, how. Don’t procrastinate. Study sections every day. Write down the most important ideas from that day’s study so you can review shortly before the exam. Try to get sufficient rest the night before the test, and drink plenty of water before you go into the test. Both will help you with alertness. Once you have the exam in hand Before you start writing: Before you even look at the questions, jot down points you are worried you will forget: dates, names, terms, formulas, etc. Once you have those items safely on the paper, you can relax and read the text questions with less anxiety. This is not cheating–the facts came from your head! Plan your time. If there are three questions, and you have one hour, plan to be ready to move to question two after 20 minutes. Read the questions and circle key words so you know exactly what you are being asked to do. You might choose to rewrite the question in your own words, but double-check to see that you have covered all requirements. Thanks to Professor Marcella Norling for sharing these questions from her OCC ethics class. 1. Explain Aristotle’s idea of the virtuous person, and describe how we should work towards becoming virtuous. Include his “function of a person.” What must you do? You must do three things 1) explain what Aristotle’s virtuous person would be like 2) describe the steps one much take to become that ideal person 3) be sure you have explained Aristotle’s notion of the “function of a person”–write everything you remember hearing or reading about this concept. 2. Explain the difference between ethical egoism and psychological egoism. What are some arguments for, and against, ethical egoism. What must you do? 1) You must compare two kind of egoism and explain the differences between them. 2) You must give arguments for and against ethical egoism. Make an outline, plan, or even a list of points you will include. The benefits of an outline are you don’t get caught up in the writing and forget to cover some sections. Your “roadmap” will keep you focused and on target. Also, some instructors actually give points for items mentioned in the outline that the student ran out of time to address in the essay. Also, some questions are much easier to address if they have been organized in outline form. Notice how Dr. Norling’s second question is outlined below: ETHICAL EGOISM VS PSYCHOLOGICAL EGOISM 1 TRAIT OF ETHICAL 1 OPPOSING TRAIT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL 2ND TRAIT OF ETHICAL OPPOSING TRAIT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL 3RD TRAIT OF ETHICAL OPPOSING TRAIT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL You should find as many ways of comparison as you can think of. Then you are ready to address part two. ARGUMENT FOR ETHICAL EGOISM ARGUMENTS AGAINST ETHICAL EGOISM 1. 2. 3. These outlines can be abbreviated lists of differences. Do the charts quickly, just to organize your ideas. Then refer to the chart as you write your essay and add details and explanations to the topics on your list. Always tell as much as you can remember about each point. If you have time, revise and edit. You probably won’t have time to rewrite, but you can make corrections by neatly crossing out errors and writing the corrected version above. Double check the question to see that you have answered all that was required.