here to read my general suggestions in response to past low exam
You will be tested on lecture material, reading material, and laboratory
encourage you to study in groups—you will especially learn more if you quiz each
other to test the depth of your understanding of terms and concepts.
information you learn here (or in any class) will be more valuable to you if it
is develops concepts that can be applied to solving new
problems. Exams will therefore emphasize concepts that I have emphasized
in class: relationships between structures and their functions, how different body
plans solve and create problems, etc. To be conversant in a field, however, one
must know the language. In this class, the language includes terms for
important processes and body parts, especially those that distinguish groups.
Guides to important material. Your best
study guide comes from each class handout: the major themes, specific goals, and illustrations
used in lecture. Note, however, that (1) the outline may not cover the material
completely and (2) the best kind of exam question would ask you not to
reproduce exactly what you've been told in class, but to apply that
information to answering a new question. Therefore, don't be satisfied
that you understand the concepts if you have simply organized the material to
address each study goal. Quiz each other with questions that go beyond the
noted earlier, you are responsible for information from the textbook that
relates to lectures. Lecture time is too short to cover all the important
details, and I could not possibly be as complete as a book. My goal in
lectures is to organize for you a large amount of information,
and to reinforce the major themes. You are not responsible for new
vocabulary from the
book unless it was also introduced in lectures or lecture notes. To
prepare for answering questions about other readings (Research Focus Boxes and
supplementary reading) you should understand the goals of the research, the general approach to
and the conclusions drawn.
Taxonomic detail. For lecture/reading exams, you should
know the taxonomy of groups to the levels listed at
the top of each lecture handout. Typically this list does not go below the
Class level, but sometimes I include other groups that you should also know (for example, hydroids and siphonophores
within the Class Hydrozoa). For the laboratory portion of the midterm exams
(see below), you will be
responsible for the taxonomic detail covered on lab handouts.
contain a mix of questions that test different kinds of skills. The
"Preliminary exam" (see details in
will give you practice with answering some of the different styles of questions in
preparation for the more extensive Midterm (2) and Final exams. Below are
examples of ten different types of questions and their instructions:
QUICK IDENTIFICATION. Identify
the structure or process and name a group that uses it.
SHORT ANSWER. Answer briefly in
the spaces provided.
phylogenetic tree provided, for each trait give the tree branch that
corresponds to when the trait most likely
RECONSTRUCTION. From the traits given, show the steps involved in
deducing the best supported hypothesis for evolutionary relationships among
JEOPARDY! Fill in the blank to complete the question that is
false, correct the statement by changing, eliminating, or adding words in
underlined sections so that the statement is
true. You may not change or eliminate words that are not underlined.
SINGLE CHOICE. Choose
only the single best answer from the choices given.
as many answers as are correct
(0 to 5 possible).
Explain the following paradox. Your answer must contain a complete
explanation and not just point out why the statement is a paradox.
Give a convincing argument about why the statement is
false. Your answer must contain an explanation and not just contradict
RESEARCH RESULTS. Referring to
research described in class or readings, fill in the graphs in a way that
would be consistent with the following results.
RESEARCH DESIGN. Referring to
research described in class or readings, state a testable hypothesis for a
given observation, or design a simple set of experiments
to test the hypothesis posed.
Portion of Midterm Exams
and study guide
What the heck
(Hint: found only on the lips of lobsters)
of your two Midterm exams (see
relevant dates) will include a portion of questions relating to
laboratory material. This part of the exam will involve a series of
stations set up
around the lab, to be visited by students in turn. Stations will contain short answer questions, microscope displays, and specimens.
You will be given 4 minutes at each station to examine the
specimens and to answer the questions. After all students have visited each
station there will be time to revisit stations. There should be little time
The best way to study
for these questions is to review material from your lab worksheets and drawings.
Know the taxonomic details to the levels listed in the "Taxonomy" section of the
lab handout. Be sure you can identify important structures, know the
anatomical terminology, and can describe the function of different structures. If something isn't clear to you from your
notebooks or from your textbook, be sure to ask me for help. I can be available to help you during review sessions/office hours or by appointment.
Three basic types of questions will be asked on the exam:
Taxonomic IDs. These
fill-in-the-blank questions will ask for the taxonomy of the specimen
presented at the station. These will usually ask for the taxonomic
hierarchy of specimens as presented in lab handouts. For example: To
what phylum, class, and order does this animal belong? In
addition, there will be questions asking you to identify the major
characteristics of a certain taxonomic group (phylum, class etc.).
For example: What characters seen in laboratory can be used
to differentiate scyphozoan and hydrozoan medusae?
These questions will ask for the function of a particular structure that
we focused on in the lab. Some of the stations will have a specimen on
display with a pin inserted into or pointing at a particular structure. For
example: give the name of the structure labeled by pin A and
describe its primary function. A question might ask you to
identify the structures contacted by a pin as it was pushed through the
animal. For example: list in order the names of epithelia contacted
by this pin as it was pushed through the body. In addition, this section may ask you
to describe the activity of the organism. For example:
Describe the locomotion of this leech and give one reason why its locomotion differs from
that of a nematode.
These questions will be similar to the "thought questions" posed on your
handouts each week, which focus on concepts rather than on
the strict memorization of taxonomy, structure names, or functions. For example: Give a reason why asconoid sponges are smaller in size than either sycon or leucon grade