Why have a map quiz?
Memorization and rote learning are not a central part of this course. You can always look up factual information, so committing it to memory is often a pointless exercise. It’s far more important to understand geographic principles and concepts, so that you can apply your understanding to unfamiliar situations and ideas you might encounter in the future.
BUT… before you can get to the interesting stuff of geography, you need to know some of the basic vocabulary of the discipline. You need to have a scaffolding in your mind to which you can attach ideas and information.
In the case of a regional geography course like Geog 305, this means in part that you need be familiar with the map of Africa. The purpose of the map quiz is to help persuade you to get to better acquainted with this map.
What will the map quiz cover?
For the purposes of this quiz, you should be able to identify all of the countries and territories in Africa, their capital cities, and all of the physical features on the list below. The quiz covers all of Africa, including North Africa, island countries such as Mauritius and Cape Verde, and dependent territories and French departments such as Reunion and Mayotte. This means all territories labeled as A, B, and C in the ‘Form of Government’ column in the Political Information Table in Goode’s World Atlas. Capital cities are also listed in this table. (Veterans of World Regional Geography please note that this quiz includes more than did the quiz in Geog 101, which did not cover dependent territories.)
What form will the quiz take?
For the purpose of the quiz, you will receive a map of Africa showing countries, capital cities, and selected physical features, and I will ask you to identify them. Bear in mind that some African countries have more than one capital; in such a case you will obviously need to know where in the country each capital is located.
What is the best way to study for the map quiz?
One of the best ways to study for the quiz is to get yourself a blank outline map of the region you are learning about, and, using your atlas as a guide, fill in the names of the countries, capital cities, and physical features you need to know. To help you study for the quizzes, you may download blank outline maps from National Geographic and the Geography Department web sites. (Be sure that the map you use includes Africa’s island countries and territories.)
Memorizing maps is something that seems to come easily to some people, but not to others. This isn’t necessarily an indication of your intelligence or your aptitude for geography; it may simply be a result of the way you process information. In the past, students who have struggled with the map quizzes have come up with some suggestions that may help you. Here are a few:
1. Start studying early. Preparing for the map quizzes takes a lot of work. There are over 50 countries in Africa, as well as numerous physical features which you will need to be able to identify. In some cases, you will not only be trying to remember locations, but also names you may never have heard of before. If you wait until the day before the map quiz to start studying, you will have a hard time learning the material. But if you study, say, three countries a day for the two weeks preceding the quiz, your task will be a lot easier.
2. Draw the map. This may sound crazy, but it works. Instead of studying by downloading the blank outline map and filling in the names of the countries, capitals, and physical features, try tracing the outlines of the countries onto a sheet of blank paper, then filling in the information. For some people, this little trick has produced miraculous results!
3. Map games. Several web sites (such as this one) contain map games designed to help you learn country names, capitals, and physical features. You may find that they help you learn. A word of warning about these sites, though. Don’t assume that the information they provide is reliable. Goode’s World Atlas is the definitive source of information for this course, so if you use another source, verify information with the atlas.
What physical features are included on the quiz?
Seas, Oceans, Gulfs, and Capes
Strait of Gibraltar
Gulf of Suez
Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Aden
Cape of Good Hope
Lake Malawi (Nyasa)