Tips for Success on Quizzes

The quizzes will normally take place in the 24 hours before we begin discussing a play in class. You will write the quiz via Brightspace. You will have 20 minutes to write the quiz. Once you have finished reading the play and made your plot summary and scene-by-scene, find a quiet time to write the quiz when you will not be interrupted or distracted. (Note for people with accommodations approved by the Centre for Accessible Learning: I have already programmed Brightspace to adjust the time limit as needed.)

The learning outcome for the quiz is that you are prepared to discuss the play. The quiz motivates you to read the play carefully and rewards you for doing so.

Each quiz consists of ten questions.  The questions cover the following material:

  • Any digital tools we have discussed in class since the last quiz. (Can you use the tool to find information about this new play?)
  • The context or meaning of unusual words/passages in the text of the play. (Did you look up words you didn’t understand and read the footnotes and explanatory matter in your text?  All good scholarly editions have explanatory footnotes.)
  • One or more details from 1.1 (Act One, Scene One). (Did you understand all the background information that is given in the first scene of an early modern play?)
  • One or more details from the final scene or act. (Did you finish reading the play?
  • One or more details from the middle of the play. (Did you read the whole play?)
  • You are also responsible for lecture and discussion materials up to the day before the quiz. For example, if I talk about doubling in one play, can you apply that knowledge to the next play we read? (Did you come to class, take notes, and understand the material?)

Form of questions for a Brightspace quiz:

  • Explain how something happens.  –> This question tests how carefully you have read the text.
  • Name the character(s) who ………………….. –> Usually I’m testing your knowledge of the relationship between characters or of the function of characters.  Do you know characters’ names? Have you figured out who they are?
  • For what reason does someone do something?
  • What happens . . . .?

Some of the questions may require you to:

  • Recognize a quotation in a question.  You need to recognize the quotation in order to answer the question.  I often use a quotation as an alternate designation for a character or a place.
  • Apply an approach modeled or described in a previous lecture.  Can you take the lecture material to the next step?

Questions range in difficulty from easy (answerable by everyone who has done the work), to moderately easy (may take a little thought but most people should be able to answer it), to moderately difficult (may take a little thought and will require that you have done your work carefully), to difficult (a correct answer will demonstrate exceptional grasp of the material).  Most of the questions will fall into the middle range.

Questions that I might ask on an in-class quiz

  • Fill in the blank –> Can you remember or guess the word from context?  The missing word is usually from an important passage in the play, points to a major theme or recurring image pattern, and/or has come up in class.  If the line is verse, scan the line.  The missing word will likely complete the iambic pentameter rhythm that is typical of Shakespeare’s verse.
  • Who says ……………….. to whom? –> This kind of question tests your knowledge of character names and relationships.  Pay attention during your reading to the voices of characters.  Remember that a play consists of dialogue, and that each character has a distinct voice (diction, syntax, style, degree of prolixity).  How does a character talk?  What kinds of things does s/he say?