25. About the Final Exam


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Instructions for Lesson 25

1. The revised research report is due in Lesson 25 (today)!  This assignment concludes our research project. As a result of this extensive project, you are now well prepared for any researched writing projects that college may require of you.

2. Read the documents in this lesson and prepare for the "Mock Final" practice exam to be held in Lesson 26.

3. Don't forget your daily positive thinking! Take time out each day to say nice things about yourself and your circumstances. Positive thinking is most needed when challenges arise.





Module 1

1: Orientation  
2: Goals   

Module 2

  3: Euthyphro  
     4: The Library
 5: The Apology   
    6: Citation   
    7: Crito
    8: Phaedo  
    9: Exam Prep   
10: Plato Exam

Module 3

11: Research Project 
12: Research 101   
13: Books   
14: the Librarian   
15: the Web   
16: conferences  
17: Joy of Research 
18: Reasoning 

Module 4

19: Outlines 
20: Review the Plan:
21: Language 
22: Dr E's Grammar
23: Peer Review  
24: Hit Parade 

Module 5

25: About the Exam
26: Mock Final 
27: Exam Prep
28: Graduation 


1. MLA documentation
try Hacker's exercises below as a final review

A big part of academic writing and the English 101 final exam is MLA documentation of citations. Hacker deals with this issue in A Pocket Style Manual at section 32 (Hacker 127-150).

You can make a last review of this important subject by visiting her web site and trying her online research exercises. From her research exercises page, click on the area "MLA" and then to the right click on "MLA documentation." (There are two sets of exercises, a total of fifteen questions.) You will be asked to sign in by providing your name and the instructor's email. For instructor's email here use gutchess@englishare.net.

If you have any remaining questions about citation after trying Hacker's exercises, be sure to get answers before the final exam.

2. About the TC3 English 101 Final Exam

English 101 plays the central role in TC3's core curriculum. It assures that all students in the college have experience as academic writers. It allows teachers of psychology, nursing, history, physics, criminology, or any other discipline to make writing assignments with confidence that they will not have to teach writing in addition to their substantive subjects. A standardized final exam in English 101 is designed to assure this college-wide result.  

Pass/Fail. All students in English 101 must pass the standardized final in order to pass the course. English Department faculty do not grade their own students' exam papers; grades are determined by independent teacher-teams to promote objectivity and uniformity to the fullest extent possible.


Time and place. English 101 Departmental Final Exam, 
                                          Monday, December 13, 2004
                                    1:00 pm to 3:50 pm, room 210B. 

Subject matter. This semester's exam will ask you to:

Write an argumentative essay of approximately 500 words.  Create a narrowed persuasive thesis on some aspect of the following area:

To vote or not to vote. That is the question. Does voting make a difference for the legitimacy of democratic governance and for the strength of our pluralist democratic culture?

Your essay should incorporate at least three citations from the attached readings.  Use the MLA in-text citation and construct a Work Cited list at the end.  You may utilize your English handbook and dictionary.

Your essay should demonstrate sound organization, solid development, strong control of the mechanics of grammar, and correct spelling.  You should also concern yourself with such elements of style as tone, word choice, sentence variety, correct documentation format and other aspects of good writing that your professor has discussed with you in the course of the semester.  You have three hours to complete this assignment.

What to bring to the test site: bring several writing pens, thoughtfulness and confidence. Also bring Hacker's A Pocket Style Manual and a dictionary (other than an electronic dictionary). Blue books will be supplied at the test site, so writing paper is not needed. 

Sources. Students may NOT use books, articles, periodicals, pre-written essays, written outlines, journals or notes of any kind during the exam.

Equipment: students may not use PDAs, laptops, calculators, electronic dictionaries, or cell phones during the exam.

What is evaluated. There are an infinite number of "right" answers to every essay exam. The writer's claim or position on a subject (in favor of X or opposed to X) does not matter to the examiners. Three general things matter. We have called them COW. I think I've used that acronym enough that you'll barf if I spell it all out it again.

Most instructors at TC3 (in fact all I know) use a scoring system similar to the grading sheet that Dr. G used for the Plato exam. Attached you can see a particular essay grading rubric that is used by most TC3 instructors to evaluate English 101 final exams.

3. Be Confident

Like any other situation, the Final Exam provides you with the choice to panic or to remain calm. The emotional state in which an exam is taken often governs the outcome. Choose to be calm. Prepare for the exam so that you have good reason to be calm.

Look at what's right the exam, not what's wrong with it. Approach this problem with a constructive mind. There's always something positive in every situation, even an exam.

We have time to prepare. We can and should use this time to research the topic of torture, to discuss it in class discussion, and to plan what we will write on the exam.

This Module contains study materials on the exam topic (to be added as soon as possible, once the topic is known). Students should look for additional sources and contribute them for class discussion.

In Lesson 26, we will take a practice final exam to rehearse for the real thing. Dr. G will evaluate your response. From this practice, you will understand clearly how to complete your preparation.

4. Sample Student Essay

The following is an average quality (passing) student essay on the exam question. It was written within a few days after the first photos from Abu Ghraid concentration camp were published. The exam question was: is torture ever justified? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this student's response?--Dr. G

Student L
Academic Writing
Prof. Gutchess
12 May 2004

Can We Justify Torture?

The practice of extracting information from criminals and prisoners of war through the use of physical and psychological torture has been with us since the beginning of recorded history. From Chinese water torture to thumb screws, dunkings and numerous other methods, humans have at one time or another fallen back on inhumane actions when they feel that they, their country or their loved ones are in some way being threatened. The well-worn Biblical maxim "an eye for an eye" is often used as a rationale for this form of punishment, but if we read further in Deuteronomy, it becomes clear that the reference is to a trial by judge and jury and is in fact where our current legal system found its humble beginnings. In more primitive times, this type of treatment of fellow humans may have found an excuse in ignorance. Today, I will argue that we have too much to lose to allow ourselves the indignity of becoming the brutes that we profess to abhor.

The practice of torture has, with the advent of the war in Iraq. fallen under the spotlight of the media. As events unfold daily the onion is rapidly being peeled away. This has placed the concept of America as a benign aggressor in great question, our policies under exponentially greater scrutiny.

Volumes have been written in the form of international treaties, such as the Geneva Convention and the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The latter document makes it clear its rules may be side-stepped only for brief periods of time and only under the most dire of circumstances (Wendland 15). While such broad language may be necessary to provide leeway for the interrogators to operate, it is, like the prisoners it is designed to protect, often abused.

When it comes to America's unofficial policy, it seems to depend upon whose ox is being gored. We turn a blind eye to Saddam's atrocities back in 1988 when he gassed his own people while we hold out our morally superior policy of "eschew[ing] torture in even the most extreme cases" ("Ends, Means and Barbarity"). Recent events have taken an awkward turn for the world's only remaining super-power, as the photos and films keep pouring in from Abu Ghraid.

Some are able to justify the abuse of prisoners in times of war. It is possible that one prisoner could hold a secret that could save many lives. This is not a question of intelligence, only perspective. Professor Sam Vaknin considers that ethically torture "is no different to [sic] any other pretrial process" (11). Taken in consideration with other trauma experienced by prisoners, this might well be a valid response. Vaknin is alluding to the idea that, in war, all is torture. His analogy sounds a disingenuous tone. Since the days of chivalry it has been understood that there are rules of engagement. These rules tend to break down in increments as first one party and then the other makes exceptions first in one case, then in a second, and a third. It is one thing for one man to kill or maim another man in the heat of battle. It is quite another to restrain someone and apply pressure at will over an unrestricted period of time.

Then there is the question of what kind of return you get on your investment. In the May 10 issue of the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh questions a 36-year veteran of the CIA who tells him that, by and large, "they tell you what they want you to hear." The information obtained under torture is usually not reliable.

The definition of justice is moral rightness or lawfulness. Making allowances for human cruelty renders our own lives meaningless. We may attempt to rationalize and excuse away our vengeful acts, but it remains better to imprison a thousand men withholding secrets valuable to the state than to wrongfully torture one man who knows nothing. We are either for our laws or against them. Anything less degrades us all.

>page break<

Works Cited

"Ends, Means and Barbarity." The Economist 9 Jan 2003.

Vaknin, Sam, PhD. Malignant Self-Love. New York: Penguin Press, 2003.

Wendland, Lene. The Handbook of State Obligations Under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Geneva, Switzerland: Association for the Prevention of Torture, 2002.

5. Links for Info
on Exam Topic


"Does Your Vote Matter?" from Business Week

"Voting Rights: An Overview" from The CQ Researcher  

"Latest Conspiracy Theory" from The Washington Post

Keyssar's Right to Vote reviewed in Michigan Law Review  

"Why Vote?" in International Journal of Politics and Ethics  

voting provisions in the US Constitution   PBS By the People    

People for the American Way   Electionline  
League of Women Voters   

Common Cause     Moritz Law    2004 election complaints   
 League of Non-voters  

(on reserve at the TC3 Library: Keyssar's The Right to Vote & Doppelt's Nonvoters)

Dr. G's Mock Final Exam will be due in Lesson 26 (worth up to 5 course credits)

The exam will be given at TC3 at the following times and places. Choose any one:

   Thursday, December 2, 7:40 am to 10:30 am in TC3 cafeteria
   Thursday, December 2, 2:00 pm to 4:50 pm. in room 262.
   Friday, December 3, 1:00 pm to 3:50 pm in TC3 Library.
   Saturday, December 4, 9:00 am to 11:50 am in TC3 cafeteria
   Need a different time? Contact Dr. G for an appointment
                 to take the exam.

This Mock Exam is your chance to practice taking the final exam under simulated exam conditions. Prepare for the Mock Exam by studying about the exam topic
. Before writing the exam, have a clear plan for the essay that you will write. Bring with you to the exam: A Pocket Style Manual and a dictionary. 















Left: from Michelangelo's mural of The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City.






gutchess@englishare.net                    Academic writing home page                    Gary Gutchess 2003