Guidelines for First Exam



Map Location: (10-15points)  I will ask you 10-15 questions related to the list of places that we have encountered so far. They are taken from material in the readings (check the maps in Diamond), and you would be very wise to study not only their location on the map, but also how they fit into the context of our discussions in the first unit. Below is an incomplete list of places.


New Zealand

New Guinea

Indus River Valley


Caribbean Sea

Nile River Valley

Fertile Crescent


Chatham Islands

Sahara Desert

Big Chico Creek


Multiple Choice: (20-30 points) 5-10 multiple choice questions gauging your understanding of Guns, Germs, and Steel and question sets and class discussions. Book and chapter theses will be emphasized.


Short Essays: (10-15 points)  Below are several short essay questions. Only two of them will be on the exam. You will select one and answer in a beautifully constructed and seamlessly argued essay.  To earn high scores on the short essay question, you must use the terms to tell a story.  I am not asking you to simply write definitions.  As you prepare for the exam you should consider how each term is related to the explanation that I have asked for.  Be certain to restrict your answers to the questions.


I will convert some of the other short essay questions into multiple-choice questions. 


1. Use the following terms to explain how Diamond’s analysis of the Maori-Moriori conflict is a model for understanding the differing paths of human development around the world: climate, domesticated plants, population density, common heritage.

2. Use the following terms to demonstrate how proximate factors specifically contributed to Pizarro’s conquest of the Inca: horses, infectious diseases, centralized political organization, and writing.

3. Use the following terms to explain how Native American history might have been different if the Late Pleistocene mammal extinction had not occurred in the Americas: disease, warfare, fiber, manure.

4. Did the flora and environment of the Fertile Crescent have clear advantages over those of New Guinea and the eastern United States?   Use the following terms to answer this question: annual plant seed heads, hermaphroditic "selfers", Teosinte.

 5. Compare East-West diffusion and North-South diffusion and explain why the differences are significant.  Use the following terms in your explanation: latitude, axis, rate of diffusion, plants.

6. Use the following terms to explain the connection between epidemic diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, and smallpox and the "power of farming": immunity, big domesticated mammals, population density.