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Exam 1 Stats & Common Feedback

Exam Statistics

Context to keep in mind

First and most importantly, the exam went rather well considering (A) most you you have not taken a UGC module, (B) this particular module has not contained exams in over two years, and (C) this is a totally different sort of history than most you have encountered. 

So please know that I recognize that this exam represented your best effort at this point in time - and that I am confident that you'll be able to meet the challenge of Exam 2 with aplomb.

The numbers

I'm not willing to release the precise numbers of people who achieved A's, B's, etc. BUT I was quite impressed by this figure:

70% of the members of the class scored between a B- and an A on the exam.

The chart below details how the averages broke down for each class and each version. 

Common Feedback

Bigger Mistakes

The two biggest issues in the exam were the Context and Compare/Contrast portions of the essay.

Many people wrote essays that beautifully showed their understanding of the primary sources, but did not include the broader historical framework (political/economic/social/intellectual environment) surrounding the sources.

Many people also outlined some solid key themes about the sources BUT did not clearly signal comparisons among the sources/civilizations they discussed.

Common comments

Intros & Transitions:

  • Fair start. For exam 2, try introducing your specific points in the intro paragraph
  • Unnecessarily general intro - jump right into your content instead of starting with generalizations
  • For the next exam, try using transition sentences between paragraphs to state the connections/comparisons among your sources.
  • New idea = new paragraph


  • In Exam 2, though, try to signal comparisons throughout your essay with words like "Similarly" or "Unlike" (etc.)
  • You established some key themes, but I'm not seeing specific comparisons and contrasts among the sources...
  • You summarize the similarities in the intro and conclusion, but it would be good to see clearer comparisons among the sources throughout the essay


  • I'm definitely seeing explanations from class, but not so much context (that is, info that provides framework for understanding how the source is a product of its society)

Heather Bennett

Professor, feminist, sci-fi geek. Historian interested in pedagogy, technology, gender/sexuality, archives, pop culture, medicine, intellectual history, world history.