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How to prepare for a take-home exam that evaluates your engagement in a food and environment class

The exam requirements

“Hunger would be eliminated in the world if people stopped having so many babies!” Your final assessment will be a three-day take home exam that will require you to write a  (excluding bibliography) that uses the course material as your sources. At 9am EST on June 17th, I will post the exam (via a course announcement)  which will be comprised of three, strongly worded, provocative statements. You must choose ONE of the statements and evaluate its validity.  As an example, one of the statements might say (this statement will not be on the exam): “The only sustainable agricultural system is an organic agricultural system!”  You will have three full days to provide an evaluative response to one of the three statements. You should either agree or disagree with the statement and use the course material to demonstrate your argument. You will need to rely on several course modules make your argument in a clear and coherent way. You may rely on any other credible sources to make your point, but this isn’t required. All content must be properly sourced using the APA format. Lectures can simply be cited as, for example: Steckley, J. (2020) Module 9 lecture. Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto, Toronto. (NOTE: If I am summarizing an author's argument or information in the lecture, you should cite the original author [whether it is Sage, Guthman, Lang and Heasman, etc] and not the lecture) This is not an exam that will test your ability to memorize. You are free to use the textbook, the course readings, the video lectures, the supplementary videos and your own notes.  The objective of the exam is to demonstrate your engagement in the class and your ability use this knowledge to quickly and clearly evaluate a provocative statement about our relationship to food and the environment.  If you have done  the readings, watched the lectures, attended the tutorials, taken notes, and understood course concepts, you should do very well on the exam.  Here are 10 steps that I would recommend in preparing for this type of exam:  1) Read each of the three statements carefully. Ask yourself, which statement do I think I know most about? Choose that one. 2) Decide if I am going to write in support of or opposition to the statement; this will be my argument. 3) Read the selected statement carefully.  Do I need to define any of the words in making my response? Take the example above, "The only sustainable agricultural system is an organic agricultural system." I may wish to define the terms "sustainable" (sustainable for who or what), "organic," and "agricultural system" (should I focus only about farming, or include the processors, traders, retailers, consumers as well?). 4) Go through my well-organized notes and identify the key concepts and terms that will help me evaluate the statement. For the above example, I might think about no-till agriculture, subsidies, farm consolidations, the alternative food movement, the agricultural treadmill, cheap food, tariffs, etc.  5) Determine which of these terms will be most useful in evaluating the statement and create an outline that organizes these concepts in a way that will support my argument. 6) Only once I have a clear outline, I will begin writing. I would avoid distractions, turn off my phone, and write in 45-60 minute sessions. 7) Read over the first draft and ask myself if all of the information I presented supports my argument. Make changes if necessary. 8) Read through the document, editing for grammar, spelling, typos, formatting, etc. 9) Ensure everything is properly referenced according to APA format. 10) Read through one more time and submit

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