The History Lab Quiz

This quiz is designed to help you figure out what areas of your writing you can improve. If you miss a question, be sure to look over the explanation (in red) of what the right answer should be. Your score will display at the bottom of this page.


1 ) Many students have difficulty with introductions. A good introduction should alert the reader to the topic of the paper, provide necessary background information, and let the reader know what the paper will be arguing, and how, all while catching the reader’s interest. Which of the following does NOT belong in the introductory paragraph?




2 ) Assuming there’s enough evidence to prove it, which of the following sentences offers the strongest thesis for a paper addressing this question: Why were the Allies ultimately triumphant in the Second World War?




3 ) Your thesis and introduction should provide the reader a sense of how your paper will be organized. What would be a good way to organize your paper if your thesis is the following: “The decline of the Spanish Empire was the result of accelerating financial troubles in the Spanish homeland that paved the way for powerful independence movements in South America.”




4 ) Topic sentences typically belong at the beginning of each body paragraph. What does an effective topic sentence do?




5) You you just wrote the paragraph below, but you realize that some of your sentences are in the wrong order. Which of the sentences should serve as the topic sentence?

The highway project he directed led to increased trade between the northern and southern regions of the country. His investments in the nascent textile industry created jobs in key cities like Paris and Marseilles. King Louis’ many infrastructure projects transformed the French economy from 1750-1770. In the mid-1760s, Louis expanded the country’s shipping capacity and promoted the design of next-generation steam ships.




6) Like lawyers building a case, historians have to think carefully about what evidence is most relevant and most effective for constructing the strongest argument possible. In one of the body paragraphs of your paper, you are arguing that Ramses II was very successful in expanding the kingdom of Egypt. Which of the following pieces of evidence would you want to include in this paragraph to persuade your reader that your interpretation is correct?




7) You are writing a paper (I’m sorry.). The last paragraph you wrote was about cultural developments in late 19th century Japan. Now you are writing the next paragraph, which is about 19th century China. Which of these sentences would make the most effective transition between these two paragraphs?




8) The term “passive voice” refers to sentences where the subject is being acted upon (rather than acting), or where the subject is not mentioned at all. In other words, with passive voice it is unclear who exactly is doing what. Which of the following sentences does NOT include the use of passive voice?