Memory Strategies and Test Preparation
Because the material presented in Arts and Humanities / Western Civilization is so diverse, a number of memory strategies may
An effective strategy for auditory learners, mnemonics is strategy for remembering lists. The first letter of each list item forms a
It is easier to use the strategy with lists that can be reordered, but it is possible to develop mnemonics for lists that must be recalled in order. If extra letters or words need to be added to the mnemonic so it makes sense, write those letters or words in lower case so you know they do not represent a list item.
A example of a cue-word mnemonic for Arts and Humanities / Western Civilization information is illustrated below (D. Applegate, CAL).
This example uses a cue-phrase mnemonic to remember a list of Impressionist artists (D. Applegate, CAL).
Alphabetizing is also used to remember lists of information, but only if the list items can be rearranged. This memory strategy involves reordering the list items so that they are alphabetically arranged according to the first letter of each list item. Once the list is alphabetized, look for patterns in the letters.
The following example of alphabetizing aids in remembering the eight characteristics of the Renaissance period (D. Applegate, CAL).
Visual elaboration may be used in Arts and Humanities / Western Civilization to remember term definitions or explanations of a concept. It is particularly helpful for visual learners. The strategy involves developing an image that represents the term or concept as well as the key points in the definition or explanation. The more vivid the image, the better.
This example of visual elaboration is used to remember the definition of feudalism.
Besides information organization and memory strategies, which are described elsewhere in this page, other strategies that assist with Arts and Humanities / Western Civilization test preparation are study guides, practice questions, and self-testing (D. Applegate, CAL).
Study guides are lists of all the terms, people, dates, concepts, and other information that will be covered on an exam. They provide a quick summary of what one needs to know for an exam. Use study guides as a check list for learning the material and/or for seeing relationships among information.
The study guide template illustrated below may be used to list all the information you need to know about a particular culture or time period.
An effective way to prepare for Arts and Humanities / Western Civilization tests is to make up and answer practice questions over the material. First find out what types of questions will be on the test. Then look for those types of practice questions in your text or workbook; if there are none, you'll have to compose your own by turning chapter headings into questions, rewording your notes, and looking at old exams. Finally, answer the questions and develop answer outlines or webs for essays.
Listed below are examples of practice questions in the form of multiple choice, true-false, fill-in, and essay (D. Applegate, E. Granitsas, C. Krause, CAL).
Multiple Choice Practice Questions
The Greeks defeated the Persians at this battle, which marked the end of Persian rule and the beginning of the Classical period in Greece.
Exemplary patrons of Renaissance arts, this family sponsored Michelangelo's work at the Sistine Chapel.
a. de Medici [correct]
The Eiffel Tower
a. was designed by Bartholdi
The First Crusade took place during what time period?
a. Early Middle Ages [correct]
The Calling of St. Matthew
True-False Practice Questions
True or False: The ziggurat at Ur functioned as an imperial palace. [false]
True or False: Cervantes' The Iliad and The Odyssey depict events of the Trojan War. [false]
True or False: Early Greek government was democratic, while the government of Rome is best characterized as a republic. [true]
True or False: England was conquered by the Normans in 1066 B.C. [false]
True or False: Frank Lloyd Wright's naturalistic style of architecture is well reflected in Falling Water. [true]
Fill-in Practice Questions
Knossos was a palace site of the _______________ culture. [Minoan]
_____________ was a scientific philosopher who wrote Discourse on Method and is well known for the quote, "I think, therefore I am." [Descartes]
Handel, a German composer who settled in England, developed a new musical form that resembled opera but lacked the action, scenery, and costumes; his most famous example of this art form is ______________ [Messiah ]
Darwin's theory of natural selection, which was misused by social evolutionists in the late 1800s and early 1900s, was spelled out in his book, _____________________ . [On the Origin of Species ]
Napoleon Bonaparte's troops were defeated at the battle of __________ . [Waterloo]
Essay Practice Questions
Describe the Gothic cathedral. What were the religious aspects and meaning of this form of architecture? How is the cathedral a reflection of the Middle Ages?
Discuss the Roman form of government. Explain how the Romans acquired and administered their vast empire, and identify ways they were successful and unsuccessful as rulers of an empire.
Describe how theatre, visual arts, and literature of the time reflected the Roman way of thinking.
Describe the factors that lead to the collapse of the Roman empire.
Discuss completely the relationship between Renaissance artwork and Christianity.
What led to the Dark Ages in Europe? What is meant by this term? Describe the social, economic, religious, and political ways of life during the Dark Ages. What factors lead to the end of the Dark Ages?
Compare and contrast modernism and post-modernism.
Besides practice questions, there are other ways to test your knowledge and to evaluate your level of understanding before an Arts and Humanities / Western Civilization test.
Use flash cards to quiz yourself.
Remember to work from both sides of the flash cards. Use the term, name or date to test your recall of definitions, contributions, and events. This will help you with multiple choice and true-false preparation. To test yourself on possible fill-ins, work from the explanation sides of the flash cards and quiz yourself on terms, names, and dates.
Use running concept lists to quiz yourself.
Running concept lists may be used for self-testing in much the same way as flash cards. Cover up one column and quiz yourself on the other column. Alternate between columns.
Question other students.
Ask each other questions based on the lecture notes, readings, guest speakers, movies, handouts, maps, and other course materials. Help each other develop answers to possible essay questions.
Teach other students.
Find an empty class room and teach the test material to each other. Explain concepts, give examples of terms and concepts, and illustrate relationships among ideas. Write information on the board. "Students" should ask the "teacher" questions. If you are working alone, pretend you are teaching and answering questions.