Cause and effect essay midterm (malcom x 1992)

NOTE: The midterm exam can be taken any time during week 10. 

The midterm exam  is a 750-850 word cause and effect essay based on the 1992 film, Malcolm X, (starring Denzel Washington and directed by Spike Lee). This essay will be the culmination of the writing skills you have learned in the course so far.  This exam is a cause and effect essay, which means you will use the strategy you learned in Unit 3.

I am providing you the exam prompt you will use to write the essay. Using this prompt, you will create an outline of one page (back and front), which you will take to the testing center.  During the exam, you will use this outline to write the essay.

NOTE: In the pre-exam preparation, you are only allowed to create an outline.  You cannot write a rough draft.

Directions about the film

  • Click on the Watch Malcolm X button on left.  Read the instructions for using the SWANK site.  Click on the link for the movie.
  • As you watch, take careful notes about the causes and effects in the film, basing them on the prompt/s below.
  • The exam question will be based on cause and effect analysis questions related to the film.  You have two choices.  PICK ONLY ONE PROMPT. This is the prompt you will also select during the exam.

PROMPT 1:  What are two effects of Malcolm X going to jail?  The organization for this essay prompt will look like this:

  • cause:  Malcolm X went to jail
  • short term effect:  ?
  • long term effect:  ?


PROMPT 2:  What are two causes of Malcolm X leaving the Nation of Islam?  The organization for this essay prompt will look like this:

  • effect:  Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam
  • cause: ?
  • cause: ?

How to prepare for the exam

  • Review the strategies of cause and effect.
  • Review the elements of an essay.
  • Review how to integrate sources.
  • Watch the film in Blackboard (see Watch Malcolm X button).  Take careful notes related to the prompt you have selected.
  • Create a Cause and Effect outline using the template from the Outline Workseet in last unit.
    • You outline should be one page (front and back).
    • Make sure that you include in the outline any quotations from the film that you will use as evidence.
    • You should also include in the outline the in-text citations and the Works Cited for the film
  • Bring a paper copy of the outline with you to the Testing Center.  
    NOTE: You will only be allowed to bring into the testing center a ONE page outline (8.5″ X 11″, front and back). 

The exam will test the following skills:

  • Your critical thinking skills
  • Your understanding of the cause and effect strategy
  • Your thesis building skills
  • Your organizational skills
  • Your understanding of the elements of an essay 

Exam Criteria

At the testing center, you will log into Blackboard.  The test proctor will type in the password. 

  • You will then see the two essay prompts, as stated above.  
  • You will be required to select ONE prompt and write a cause and effect essay on that central focus.
    • You should select the prompt for which you have created the outline
  • Your essay should have a good cause and effect thesis statement with key ideas (causes and effects).  Then using the key ideas from the thesis, you should develop an essay with clear topic sentences and a good organizational structure following the SEX formula. 
  • Remember to include the in-text citations for the evidence you use from the film and a Works Cited in which you will list the film.
  • You should also revise, proofread, and spell check your essay before you submit it so that it does not have errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Make sure you have a catchy introduction and a good conclusion that bring all the points together and connect to the thesis.

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