See how well you can do on my Greek I Final Exam!

I just administered the final exam to my Greek I students yesterday. You can view a copy of it here: Greek I Final Exam (.pdf format). As you can see, there is a lot of matching (with pictures or definitions), a few multiple choice, some short answer, and a few Cloze-style reading questions. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look this over:

  • Students were allotted two hours for the test, but most completed it in around one hour.
  • The average grade was 85/100.
  • This test was administered to students who have only had around 36hrs of in-class instruction (spread over 13-14 weeks). In other words, about the amount that you would get in one or two weeks of intensive language training from the government, a missionary school, or some other type of immersion program. I did not assign students homework outside of class but gave them suggested guidelines for continuing to practice what we had covered in class.
  • The test is entirely in Greek (save for the instructions, which would have contained vocabulary/structures we hadn’t yet gotten to in class). When students finished taking the test, they would have just read 5 pages of Greek.
  • The test does not require students to translate, but encourages them to understand Greek in terms of Greek, by describing or defining Greek words in Greek.
  • I included one simple grammar section (the last section on the test) to see how well the endings sank in. Students did very well on these, despite the fact that I never taught them explicitly in class. Please note that there are contract verbs and middle/passive forms there (although the students don’t know that—they’re all just actions to them!).
  • This semester we covered around 350 vocabulary words. I moved slower than usual so that no one would be left behind and students would rely less on memorization and focus more on internalization. We still move faster than most classes on vocab, but slower than most on grammar (vocab is quickly internalized, but forms take longer to master).
  • The test is in very simple Greek. Is it elegant? No. Is it complex? No. Is it authentic? In some places, probably not (when I learn Greek, I’ll let you know Smile). But, it’s just the kind of Greek that students need to be exposed to if they are to gradually increase their reading skills without resorting to translation. Of course, any corrections to actual mistakes are welcome.

Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments!


About Daniel R. Streett

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Houston Baptist University
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14 Responses to See how well you can do on my Greek I Final Exam!

  1. Dexter Maben says:

    Dear Dr. Daniel,

    Thank you so much for sharing your hard work. I think this a a new and creative way to test students in Greek. But I understand that, in the next step, they will move to more vocabulary and grammar? I find your method engaging and exciting, for students. Best wishes and really looking forward to more innovative inputs from you.

    • Dexter, I’m not sure what you mean by “more vocabulary and grammar.” As for vocab, a standard textbook like Mounce’s covers around 330 words in the entire first year–we’ve surpassed that number in the first semester. As for grammar, perhaps you can clarify what you mean. Thanks for your comment!

  2. A marvelous resource, Daniel. I think all intermediate learners should take this test, orally and written. καλόν ἐστιν σε τοῦτο διδόναι ἡμῖν.

    One quibble. In I. 3 I think that κρατέω with body parts takes the genitive. Cf. Mt 9:25. ὁ ὄχλος εἰσελθῶν ἐκράτησεν τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῆς. But I think the accusative is okay too. ἔρρωσο.

    • Mark, thanks for the feedback. There are numerous examples in the NT of κρατησαι being used with the accusative (e.g. see Col 2:19), but it appears that when one grasps the hand, the most common way to say it is in the genitive. I wonder if this is in flux during the Koine period. I do notice that Joseph and Aseneth 4.7 has εκρατησεν την χειρα, as does 20.1; 20.4; 22.8, while 29.3 has της χειρος! The Martyrdom of Perpetua also has the acc, and I notice many later fathers use χειρα as well, so I think the more proper genitive might have been a victim of the Koine accusativizing trend for direct objects. I only searched for instances of κρατεω and χειρ, so a more extensive search that incorporated other body parts might be more definitive.

  3. Nathan Smith says:

    Question 1.1 answer “c” made me think of Ezekiel 3:3, though it is a scroll and not a book.

    • Yes, that’s one of the reasons I instructed my students to pick the “best” answer–because there were several that were possible and meant to mislead. It makes a multiple choice question a little bit more challenging than usual. On the issue of scroll and book, I think βιβλιον and κεφαλις overlap quite a bit. In Ezek 2:9 we have a scroll of a book (megillat-sefer), which I guess most people take as one volume of a multi-scroll work, though βιβλιον can also be used for a section.

  4. James Hosler says:

    This exam is very good; it looks like it actually might have been fun to take! Your goal of not “resorting to translation” has given me something to think about before next semester begins.

  5. Cody Hinkle says:

    An enjoyable exam; thanks for sharing! Two comments:

    1. It seems rare that the article accompany γῆς when it is modified by a proper noun. Cf. Acts 7:40.
    2. Just a typo, but if you plan to recycle the exam: ὀφθαλμοί, οὐ ὀφαλμοί ἐπί ἀριθμῴ ἐννέα (p. 2).

    • Cody, thanks for the feedback and for catching the typo! I’m not sure what you mean about the article in your point #1, since a BW search turns up 77 occurrences of a ARTICLE-γη-proper noun, and a TLG search turns up numerous exx of my phrasing. It doesn’t seem that rare.

      • Cody Hinkle says:

        When I searched, I included the preposition ἐκ. I don’t have BW (yet!), but even from Genesis and Exodus, there is a whole litany of examples of ἐκ-γῆς-proper noun, but of ἐκ-τῆς-γῆς-proper noun, I only caught three instances in all of Scripture.

        ἐκ τῆς γῆς Θαιμανων (Gen. 36:34; 1 Chr. 1:45)
        ἐκ τῆς γῆς Μωαβ (2 Sam. 8:12)

        Since my search methods are somewhat restrained, it is very possible that I missed something. However, it seems that ἐκ makes a significant difference in the search. Curious to hear your thoughts.

      • Ok, that makes more sense. I think you’re right: It is clear that when we have a phrase like, “from the land of [country name],” the default is “εκ γης [country name, e.g. Αιγυπτου].” However, since we have three exx of “εκ της γης [country name],” it seems to me that we cannot say that such phraseology is necessarily unGreek or totally unnatural (it could be, of course, that it’s simply a Septuagintalism and is in fact unnatural). Against it simply being an unidiomatic LXXism, we find in Origen’s notes on Numbers the same phrase: ἐκ τῆς γῆς Αἰγύπτου (Sel. Num. 12.576.43). The phrase appears again in the 6th cent chronographer Johannes Malalas.

  6. Paul D. Nitz says:

    This gives a good picture of what you covered… and that in 36 hours! Fabulous. Do you start entirely with aural/oral and introduce the written later?

    • Paul, in the past, I have taken that route, but I now introduce them together at the beginning. I’m not sure which is a more effective way, but introducing the written at the beginning prevents some of the frustration that the aural-first can bring about. It also allows students to practice vocalizing written Greek from the beginning, which is an important skill.

      • Joshua W.D. Smith says:

        Could you explain what kind of frustration you’ve seen brought up by the aural-first method? And how do you introduce them together? It seems like spending some time just hearing and saying the Greek would allow students to focus on the new sounds, without trying to decipher new shapes at the same time…I’m thinking of the Cognitive Resource hypothesis. And, speaking of Second Language Acquisition, what do you think of the Silent Period hypothesis (i.e., allowing students just to listen until they seem ready to speak themselves, rather than requiring them to speak from day one)?

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