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Examination Descriptions

We encourage students to review the following exam descriptions prior to selecting their preferences in the Member Questions section of the Common Application.

Exam descriptions, and associated documents, are provided by the academic department sponsoring the exam. The department faculty select the scholarship recipients and can offer up to three scholarships per exam.

Students should select three exams they would be interested and comfortable taking based on the information below in order of preference. Each invited student will be selected for one exam and informed via postal mail and e-mail on or before January 9, 2015.

Exams need not be related to a student's potential major, but rather should reflect an area he or she feels comfortable completing the exam based on the description below. Please note that not all departmental exams are available every year and that students may be asked to select another option or be placed in a comparable exam. An invitation to Competitive Scholarship Day does not require you to participate - you will have the option to decline an invitation after being notified of your chosen exam.

Accounting

The accounting competition will consist of an essay examination. The exam will be based on a reading about a contemporary accounting-related issue. The reading will be provided at the time of the exam. No bookkeeping skills will be required.

Time allowed: 90 minutes
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Art

The art exam consists of three parts:

1. ESSAY: Write an essay (2-3 pages typed) addressed to the department faculty articulating the importance of artistic activities in your life and education, and why you are interested in art as a personal, lifelong passion. This should be completed prior to the event.

2. QUESTIONNAIRE: Included with the student's invitation is a questionnaire to be completed prior to the event. There is neither right nor wrong answers; we are simply interested in learning about your exposure, taste and interests.

3. SIX ORIGINAL WORKS OF ART: At least two of which are to be drawings in charcoal, graphite or pastel. Each is to be about 16 x 20”. They need not be matted or framed. These two drawings should be done from direct observation, not from photographs or any other pre-existing graphic material. They need not be realistic, per se; in fact they may be highly abstracted. The remaining four works of art should be recently completed in any medium or combination of media, including drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, design, sculpture, video, etc.

Biology

The examination will consist of 100 multiple choice questions covering the breadth of biology – from molecules to ecosystems and from microbes to plants, animals and fungi.

No special equipment or calculators are necessary for the examination.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Chemistry

The exam consists of four multi-part problems plus an essay. Please note that although the essay topic is made available in advance, the essay submitted for the exam must be written during the scheduled exam time on the provided exam paper. Non-programmable calculators are permitted and will be provided if you do not bring your own.

Essay topic: Why do you believe atoms exist? Give examples of observed physical and chemical properties and explain why the observations are best explained by the existence of atoms.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Communication Arts and Intercultural Communication

The Communication Arts and Intercultural Communication examination will consist of three parts.

1: The first essay is a response to a hypothetical communication interaction within a relational context. You will be asked to examine a situation and suggest a course of action based on your analysis of the communication interaction. This essay will be written during the exam.

2: The second essay consists of a personal narrative that provides a brief autobiographical sketch, describes your personal goals, and explains why you consider the study of human communication an important endeavor in the twenty-first century. This two-page, typed, and double-spaced essay should be written prior to the exam and submitted at the beginning of the examination period.

3: For the third part of the examination, you will engage in an interview with faculty and students in the Communication Arts Program. As part of this process, you will be asked to present a formal, three-minute speech about a public figure from history you find interesting or inspirational. You should craft a speech about this person that details how she or he contributed to the public good. You may use one 3”x5” note card during the speech.

Time allowed for written exam: 30 minutes
Time allowed for oral exam: 10–12 minutes

Computer Science

The computer science exam will consist of a set of problems that are intended to test the type of thinking required in the area of computer science. No particular computer skills are needed for the exam. Instead, you will be asked questions that test your ability to think clearly, logically and analytically. Calculators not allowed.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Creative Writing

Writers should arrive on campus with a five page sample of their own creative work. The sample should be printed in 12 point type and double spaced with adequate margins. In addition, a single page cover sheet should include your name, a list of the work (or works) in the sample and the genre for each of these works. No other description or discussion should be included. The cover sheet and the five pages of original work should all be stapled together. They will be collected from you at the time of the exam.

In addition to the writing sample, you should expect to write a short essay that will ask you to comment in some way on your own writing experience, interests, or aspirations. Beyond being a writer who’s thoughtful about your own practices and ambitions, you cannot really prepare in advance for this essay. A more specific writing prompt will be given to you at the time of the exam.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Economics

The economics competition is a two-part examination. The first part will consist of multiple-choice questions that test basic economic knowledge and reasoning skills. The second part is a written essay that will test your understanding of economic concepts, your analytical skills, and your ability to communicate in writing about economic issues of national or international concern. You will answer two essay questions, one focusing on microeconomics, the other addressing macroeconomics. For each essay you will have two questions from which to choose.

Time allowed: 2 hoursNotes will not be permitted in the exam.

Education

The Education competition will consist of a writing assignment designed to assess:

• Analytical skills
• Depth of understanding
• Personal voice and perspectives
• Writing ability

Two essay questions, related to the short video provided below, will be given, one focused on a contemporary education issue and one that relates to the candidate’s personal experiences within the field of education.

Dylan Garity’s performance at the 2013 National Poetry Slam:

http://www.upworthy.com/teaching-children-in-this-awful-way-is-like-helping-a-person-who-is-on-fire-by-drowning-them

You may take notes about the video, which you are welcome to use during the exam session. Notes must be limited to one 4 x 6 notecard (front and back).

Time allowed: 90 minutes
Notes limited to one 4 x 6 notecard (front and back) will be permitted in the exam.

English

The English competition will consist of two short essays. One asks for analysis of a specific literary passage or passages provided in the exam. The second asks writers to discuss works familiar to them in relation to questions posed on the exam. Students are expected to have a strong background in literature and writing.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Environmental Studies

Students who choose the environmental studies exam will be asked to answer a question chosen from one of two environmental topics. Students should prepare for a question on either (1) biodiversity or (2) global climate change. The question you will answer will be about one of the two.

Essays will be evaluated according to how well the author demonstrates 1) an understanding of underlying scientific and technical issues, 2) an ability, where appropriate, to defend a coherent public policy response to environmental issues, and 3) an understanding, where appropriate, of how different cultural values affect the assessment of environmental issues.

Time allowed: 90 minutes
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Finance

The finance competition will consist of an essay examination. The exam will be based on a reading about a contemporary finance-related issue. The reading will be provided at the time of the exam.

Time allowed: 90 minutes
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Government, Law and Politics

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science, this competition involves an essay examination based on a reading included with the student's invitation. An interest in the areas of politics, government, current affair or law suffices for preparation. No formal coursework in politics is required.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Health and Human Performance

The examination will consist of two parts.

Part A includes short answer questions covering personal health promotion and disease prevention, physical education and fitness, athletic training and exercise science (incorporating kinesiology, biomechanics, physiology and motor learning). The questions contained in Part A are of a specific nature and are designed to test the student’s knowledge in these areas.

Part B of the examination consists of a personal narrative which provides a brief autobiographical sketch, describes personal goals and aspirations and explains why the student may be interested in considering studies and/or future careers in health and human performance. Part B is also intended to provide the department with an opportunity to better assess the student’s written communication skills and abilities.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

History

The history competition will consist of a writing assignment designed to test:

1. Analytical skills
2. Ability to interpret historical documents
3. Awareness of the factors that contribute to social, economic and political change from one time period to another
4. Skill in using historical evidence to support a thesis
5. Writing ability

The examination will be based on reading materials provided by the Department of History and included with the student's invitation. Participants should bring pens.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Only the reading – without notes – will be permitted in the exam.

International Business

The international business competition will consist of an essay examination. The exam will be based on a reading about a contemporary international business issue. The reading will be provided at the time of the exam.

Time allowed: 90 minutes
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

International Relations

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the International Relations Major, this competition involves an essay examination based on a reading included with the student's invitation. An interest in the areas of politics, government, current affair or law suffices for preparation. No formal coursework in politics is required.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Management

The management competition will consist of an essay examination. The exam will be based on a reading about a contemporary management issue. The reading will be provided at the time of the exam.

Time allowed: 90 minutes
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Marketing

The marketing competition will consist of an essay examination. The exam will be based on a reading about a contemporary marketing issue.

Time allowed: 90 minutes
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Mass Communication 

You need only to be interested in studying media and/or journalism to participate. The scholarship test consists of a portfolio review or timed essay and a short interview.
 
Portfolio Review or Timed Essay
 
Portfolio: Prepare a portfolio of original work that demonstrates your experience in journalism and/or media production. Includenewspaper or magazine articles, videos, audio or radio pieces, design projects (e.g., print or web layout, graphics), advertising, blogging, or any combination of these. Include at least one substantial example of your writing. This portfolio may be organized in paper or digital format (e.g., on a flash drive, DVD or website). Be prepared to discuss your work with faculty during your interview. (If your portfolio is digital, you will be asked to demonstrate it.)
 
Timed Essay: Alternatively, you may write a timed essay in which you will analyze a media message, such as a video clip, advertisement, news story, or magazine cover. The media message will be made available at the exam. Essays will be evaluated on organization, language usage, and strength of argument. You will discuss your analysis with faculty.
 
Individual Interview
 
You will have an individual interview with Mass Communication faculty to discuss your background, goals, and interests.

Mathematics

The mathematics competition is designed to measure the participant's knowledge, background, interest, and ability in mathematics and general problem solving. Participants will be asked to solve four to six problems of a general nature. The problems do not come from a particular subject and may be solved with a variety of approaches. Participants' work will be evaluated on approach, organization, and ability to communicate, as well as completeness and accuracy. Please bring pencils to the exam, but it is not necessary to bring a calculator due to the nature of the questions.

Time allowed: 2 hours

Modern Languages-French

The French scholarship is awarded to students who can communicate in French well using a varied vocabulary and different syntactic constructions.  

The scholarships will be awarded on the basis of a written examination and an oral interview.  

The written part will test reading, writing and aural comprehension. The speaking portion consists of a 20-minute interview in which a student’s overall abilities with the language are assessed.   Depending on proficiency level, the topics addressed in the interview range from self-description, likes and dislikes, to the student's family and familial activities, as well as the student's plans and opinions.  The interview is conducted in such a way as to allow each candidate to use as much of  what s/he has learned as possible.  

The French section selects from among those students who already speak well those whose proficiency to time spent studying ratio is the greatest.  We also seek students who demonstrate motivation in learning the language and furthering their exposure to French speaking cultures.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Modern Languages-German

The scholarships in modern languages will be awarded on the basis of a written examination and an oral interview.

The written exam will test reading, writing and aural comprehension. The oral interview consists of a 20-minute interview in which a student’s overall abilities with the language are assessed. The department selects those students who have developed their language proficiency to the highest levels in relation to the time they have been exposed to the foreign language.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Modern Languages-Japanese

The scholarships in modern languages will be awarded on the basis of a written examination and an oral interview.

The written exam will test reading, writing and aural comprehension. The oral interview consists of a 20-minute interview in which a student’s overall abilities with the language are assessed. The department selects those students who have developed their language proficiency to the highest levels in relation to the time they have been exposed to the foreign language. Please note that insofar as Japanese is a less commonly taught language, the examination is necessarily demanding. Several years of solid high school level Japanese education, at a minimum, are strongly recommended. Please note that native or near-native speakers of Japanese (those who received secondary education in Japan, lived in Japan for more than 5 years, and/or studied at least six years in a Japanese immersion program) may not take the test.

The written portion of the Japanese examination tests students’ abilities to read and write Japanese using Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. In order to attempt this exam, the candidate should have a working knowledge of at least 200 kanji characters.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Modern Languages-Spanish

The Spanish scholarship is awarded to students who can use Spanish in meaningful, communicative ways, with a high degree of accuracy, rich vocabulary, and variety in sentence structure. Best candidates are then those who have had productive oral and written practice and can create strings of sentences that show structural and communicative cohesion, in conversation and in writing. 

The Spanish section selects those students who have developed their language proficiency to the highest levels in relation to the time they have been exposed to the foreign language. We also seek students who demonstrate motivation in learning the language and furthering their exposure to Spanish speaking cultures.

Bilingual students’ language production is assessed with different criteria, rather than against non-bilingual students.

Two Types of Assessment

A 20-minute individual conversation with one of the Spanish professors will test the ability of each candidate to use Spanish in spontaneous conversation. The interview includes personal experiences, involvement in the community or with Hispanics, and other experiences that have enriched the candidate’s education and personal life. All candidates must show the ability to speak Spanish in formal contexts.

The two written essays ask students to speak about their personal experience in diverse communities and to address the importance of Spanish in the 21st century. 

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Music - Composition, Instrumental and Vocal

All participants auditioning in music for the Competitive Scholarship Awards will automatically be considered for all other music scholarship and grant awards, such as Music Achievement Awards and Participation Grants. Students may audition in voice, piano/instrumental music, or composition. Up to three awards may be offered in each category (vocal, piano/instrumental and composition).

Composition:

Participants will interview in person and submit up to three samples of original music and a one-page narrative of your musical experience and interest in music composition. When possible, please include a recording (CD, DVD, YouTube, MP3, or MIDI) and a score for each composition. Total audition time is 10 minutes.

Performance: Piano/Instrumental and Vocal:

Participants will be expected to perform prepared solos by two different composers, or one longer composition that demonstrates contrasting styles. Performers are to show versatility in style and may perform portions of one or more compositions. Music participants will also be tested on their ability to sight-read material selected by the Department of Music. Each performer is allotted 10 minutes for the audition time (six minutes of prepared music and four minutes for sight reading and conversation with the faculty). Prior to the audition, performers who need an accompanist will have time to rehearse with one of our staff accompanists.

Students participating in the music exam must submit the Music Scholarship Application Form to the Department of Music (if you have already submitted the application to be considered for music scholarships, you do not need to resubmit). Participants will receive a written confirmation from the Department of Music of their audition date and time before arriving on campus. Please note rehearsal and audition times may begin prior to the 11:00 a.m. check-in time, or conflict with other event programming throughout the day.

Performers who need an accompanist must also send a copy of the music no later than February 7.

Please send the Music Scholarship Application form and accompanist music as follows:

Via email to:
Shelly Sanderlin, Music Administrative Coordinator
Phone: 503-883-2275

Or mailed to:
Department of Music
Attn: Competitive Scholarship Day Audition
Linfield College
900 SE Baker Street
McMinnville, OR 97128

Nursing

Currently the nursing workforce does not represent the diversity of the populations of our country. There are few minorities in nursing, especially minorities with baccalaureate and higher degrees. What strategies would you implement to recruit minorities into a nursing school? How would you retain minority students once they enroll in nursing school?

Your essay will be judged in terms of the research on the subject, writing abilities and how you present your ideas.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Philosophy

This exam is for students interested in philosophy. Because philosophy is rarely, if ever, taught in secondary schools, students who major in philosophy typically develop an interest in the field after their arrival at college. The Linfield Department of Philosophy welcomes students who are generally interested in exploring fundamental issues about the world and cultures in which we live, especially as relevant to human nature, knowledge, value, and reasoning.

Students who sign up for this exam will be expected to write essay responses for two or three essay prompts similar to the five examples provided below. Though no specific background in philosophy is required, scholarships will only be awarded for work that demonstrates clear philosophical ability or the strong potential for its development. Essays will be evaluated in terms of their informed insight, thoughtful analysis, logical clarity and coherence, and overall creativity.

Essay prompt examples:

1. How would you define “critical thinking?” Explain and defend your answer. Then illustrate your answer by applying good critical thinking to a current moral, social, and/or political issue of your choice.

2. What do you see as the role of the Internet in U.S. society? Is the use of the Internet a help or a hindrance to American democratic ideals? Explain and defend your answer.

3. Is grading in school fair? What do grades tell us about a student? Should so much of one’s success in school and career be based on grades? Relate, explain, and defend your answers.

4. What is the role and nature of sports in contemporary U.S. culture? Given your answer, what ideal future course would you plot for the role of sports (assuming you had the power to control such things)? Explain and defend your answer, describing why and how we ought to aim for your ideal.

5. Describe the nature of and relationship between science and art in U.S. culture. How should these fields be defined and what role do you think each ought to play in current and future U.S. life? Explain and defend your answer.

Time allowed: 90 minutes

Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Physics

The physics competition consists of fifteen possible problems from which ten may be chosen. The exam is designed to test knowledge about fundamental concepts in mathematics, physics, and general problem solving. Students who are currently enrolled in a high school physics course, or who have recently taken one, will be prepared for this exam. A calculator is permitted but not necessary.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Psychology

The Psychology Competitive Scholarship Exam will consist of an essay question. To prepare for the questions students should focus on the chapters on research in psychology (chapter two in most introductory psychology texts), biopsychology, and abnormal, personality, social, cognitive, and developmental psychology.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Religious Studies

Formal coursework in religious studies is not required for this competition, though students should give evidence of an interest in and openness to the study of religion in all of its forms, ancient and modern.

The exam will be an essay. The student will be given a text (two or three paragraphs) selected from the corpus of world religious literature. The student will be given a topic suggested by the text, asked to formulate a thesis position with respect to that topic and offer evidence - drawn from the supplied text - in support of the position taken. The evaluation of the exam will focus on how well and how directly the student has engaged the text provided.

Time allowed: 2 hours
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Download an example of the exam and supplied text supplied by the Religious Studies department.

Sociology & Anthropology

Students participating in the Sociology & Anthropology examination will be asked to answer one of the following questions. Students should be prepared to answer either exam topic, which will be selected by the department on exam day.

1. Globalization is a topic about which there has been significant discussion in recent years. How may anthropology, with its emphasis on cultural issues, and sociology, with its emphasis on society and social relations, contribute to discussions on globalization.

2. The topic of immigration in the United States has implications for how resources are distributed, and it also highlights cultural and diversity issues in our country. Discuss how sociology OR anthropology provide insight into immigration issues in the United States.

Time allowed: 90 minutes
Notes will not be permitted in the exam.

Theatre

The faculty and students of the Theatre Arts Program will interview students interested in many areas of theatre.

Students focusing primarily on acting/directing should prepare two contrasting audition pieces that illustrate the range of their acting talent. The combined pieces should not exceed 5 minutes.

Design students (scenic, lighting, costume, sound) should bring a portfolio of their work and be prepared to discuss their design experience and/or during the interview.

Technical theatre, business or promotions students should prepare a narrative explaining their experience and interest in their particular fields of theatre. If materials are available, these students are encouraged to bring portfolios as well.

As part of the process, students will have an opportunity to discuss the Linfield Theatre Program with current students.

All students must send a resume and a letter of recommendation from their drama teacher or director to the Office of Admission by February 7. The audition/interview process should discover the generally talented student as well as the exceptionally talented student. Both will be given equal consideration.

Time allowed for audition: 5 minutes
Time allowed for interview: as necessary