Your first lab exam will contain multiple choice questions covering laboratory techniques and definitions that were covered in class. You will expected to be able to identify, using the lab testing tools, but without any notes, about 25 unlabelled minerals specimens, one specimen at a time, within a time limit of about 3 minutes each. The only way you will be able to do this well is to practice identifying them after class. For your benefit, samples of the minerals are available for additional study and practice at the Oakton Testing Center (Skokie Campus), Room A135. You are allowed to check out a tray for about 30 minutes at a time (possibly longer if there is no crowd.) The Testing Center is open from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM Monday through Thursday, and 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM on Friday.

NOTE:  The study samples at the Testing Center are used repeatedly by many classes.  Over time, some of the samples may become lost, or damaged such that the number label falls off.  If this happens, e-mail me at, and decribe exactlyh what mineral specimen number(s) you think are missing.  I will try to replace what is missing before class. I am only on campus on the 2 nights per week that I teach.   Be sure to refer to them as "minerals" and not casually call them "rocks" (there is a difference - those are separate specimens!)

Lab Test 1 content

25% -Multiple-choice questions on material covered during lab lectures 1, 2, & 3.

75% -Mineral specimen identification (give the specific mineral name for each individual specimen); you will NOT be filling out a table of physical properties.

Here is an effective way to make the most of your study time:

1. Start out first by studying the minerals that you recognize most easily. This way, you will get "easy" minerals out of the way. Having gained a triumphant sense of accomplishment, proceed to work extra hard on the unfamiliar minerals.

2. Work with a study partner. Ask each other questions. You may find that your companion will be able to identify certain minerals better than others, while other minerals will seem easy for you to identify.

3. Remember to compare similar-looking minerals. You will really be able to test your skills by being able to distinguish between, for example, CHALCOPYRITE and PYRITE (which one is hard enough to scratch glass?), or between a series of clear, transparent minerals such as ROCK CRYSTAL QUARTZ, SELENITE, HALITE, CLEAR FLUORITE, and CALCITE. Remember that on the lab test, you will not have the luxury of side-by-side comparison of different minerals, so you will need to know the minerals "by sight," or at least be able to use your testing tools to eliminate certain choices.

4. It is not necessary to know the entire "shopping list" of physical properties for every mineral covered. Remember only those that are useful(diagnostic) for identifying that particular mineral. Also, when practicing, make a habit of using the testing tools to confirm your identifications - remember, the tools will be available to you on the day of your lab test.

5. The mineral trays contain more specimens than were assigned in your lab.  You will NOT be tested on minerals that weren't assigned in lab.  Therefore, DON"T WASTE YOUR TIME studying those minerals that were never assigned in class.

6. If you are having trouble with identifying any of the minerals, please don't hesitate to ask your instructor for help.