American Dream ECE
by Kate B
I took the American Dream ECE yesterday, and wanted to quickly put down on paper what I remember since this is such a hard test to find information on!
Definitely download the Excelsior Exam content guide for this exam, it lists pretty much all the authors and works you will need to be know, the only one who I think isn't listed there is Benjamin Franklin, and he was part of a question on my exam. Interestingly, I didn't really have any questions that were exclusively on any certain time period, there were people or ideas from each era in each question.
I am extremely bad about understudying for exams, and on one like this that may have hurt me (I don't know my score yet.) To start, I read "The Underside of American History" which is recommended in their exam guide, and checked out some books about female and African American writers since I am less familiar with them. Then my fiancé very helpfully made some study notes for me to read in the car. He took all the authors listed in the exam study guide (around 75 I think) and summarized their ideas in a few sentences. He also included a few interesting facts if there were any that seemed useful. I was highly disappointed not to have a question on Indians or women writers specifically since I studied them the most!
There are 3 essay questions which you receive all at once; you can switch back and forth between the essays at any time. That worked out great for me because whenever I got stumped, I could just work on the other essay until I remembered something useful. You also get 10 extra points for using direct quotations so it's a good idea to try to memorize a few.
Now on to the specific questions, the first essay question was the most difficult to me, it started with a short quote and then this was the question: Relating to each of these 3 topics: Topic 1, Topic 2, and Topic 3; pick 2 authors from your studying who went against the mainstream opinion of the time. Briefly introduce and discuss views. Then pick 2 authors who defended or justified the mainstream opinion. Compare and contrast. (That was very difficult for me because you had to know 4 different authors' opinions on the same topic)
The second essay question was a group of 7 documents and you had to pick 3 and write how the document related to universal liberty and how different views meant different things to certain people. Also how it affected the formation and structure of the government. I?m not putting down the specific documents though since it violates Excelsior?s policies.
The third essay question was 3 groups of 4 people (only one woman) and you had to pick one from each group and then write their views of how to achieve wealth and success, then say what would be positive or negative if you followed their ideas.
I think if you put more time into studying than I did, it shouldn?t really be that hard for you. 3 hours was plenty of time for me to write 3 essays, I finished with about 5 minutes to spare, so I just went over everything checking for spelling or grammar errors. The first essay was kind of a weird format, but the last 2 questions I just wrote a 5 paragraph essay like I learned in school. That being said, this was a VERY difficult exam, and there's a pretty good chance I didn?t pass it, so don't underestimate this one for sure. I'll try to update this when I find out my score.
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