The British and American Political Systems (Angolszász politikai kultúra) in spring 2015
Lojkó Miklós, host: DES (R338)
3-credit lecture, 30 h/term
description & set texts

This is a "dummy course" without lectures for those who have already attended lectures in previous terms and were unable to pass the subsequent examination or did not sit the exam and now wish to do so. No other students (those who have never attended lectures) should register for this exam as no assistance or explanations will be provided and without those, purely based on the textbooks listed hereunder, it is not possible to pass the exam.

Bagehot, Walter. The English Constitution, 1867.

Bogdanor, Vernon, ed. The British Constitution in the Twentieth Century, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Finer, S.E., Vernon Bogdanor and Bernard Rudden. Comparing Constitutions, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995.

Janda, Kenneth, Jeffrey M. Berry and Jerry Goldman, The Challenge of Democracy: American Government in Global Politics, 11th edition, Boston: Cengage Learning, 2011.

The United States section is quite well covered by these four lectures given by Richard Church which are available on youtube. Please watch them several times as—on a trial basis—there will be one or two questions in the exam that derive from the Richard Church mini-series:





requirements & assessment

To ensure that students benefit from this essential course, which means that, instead of reading dumbed down and largely false material from unsafe sources, they actually consult the textbooks that have been carefully selected for this course, the nature of the examination has been changed.

There will be 30 questions with multiple choice answers. Instead of the usual four, there will be six alternative answers (A,B,C,D,E,F) to choose from. The answer options will mostly be various lengths of text—sometimes as long as a paragraph, sometimes just one sentence—5 of which will contain errors, inadequacies, falsehoods, incomplete elements, while one will be completely correct. The texts will be based on the eight Bogdanor, ed. (2003) chapters, the full length of Janda, Berry et al, The Challenge of Democracy and the Richard Church lectures.

Sometimes a paragraph will be reproduced from one of the books, 5 versions of which will contain inadequacies, but one will be word for word identical with the original. Tertiary side issues, footnotes, marginalia will not be targeted in the test, only core topics, components.

In other instances, an interpretation will be given to a particular chapter part or issue explained in a chapter and only one version of this interpretation will be correct.

Attendance at lectures cannot be made compulsory, but it may be pointed out that it is highly questionable whether the written exam can be passed without attending any of the lectures. The balance of the two halves of the previous sentence produces the two exam questions (from the 30) which will test material that was only accessible through attending the lectures.

About half of the questions will hinge on terminology—the peculiar legal-constitutional-political-historical vocabulary that makes up this topic. These questions will test whether you understand the terminology that is being used in the textbooks. Therefore, to pass the exam, students have to look up and properly research—if they are not reliably familiar with them—the meanings of words and expressions that are used by the authors of the textbooks.

Significantly, the questions and answer options will not be handed out on paper. They will appear on the projector screen only. Each question and the six corresponding answer options will be shown for a period of time that is deemed sufficient for an average BA student to read, understand and answer the particular question. A pilot control group of BA students will be asked to sit a mock exam where this time period will be tested and established. Members of the volunteer control group will be asked to testify with their names that they found the circumstances of the examination suitable for a real life situation.

Examinees will only have answer sheets in front of them. These will have 30 lines vertically and six horizontally where an X will have to be inserted in each appropriate box. These answer sheets will bear the stamp impression of the School of English and American Studies at a random part of the sheet. Only sheets bearing the stamp can be submitted.

In addition to the time factor, the readability, clarity of the text on the screen will also be made suitable for the exam and tested by the pilot group mentioned above. I or another colleague will read out loud the question and answer options twice while they are being projected.

Each question and the corresponding answers will only be shown once. There will be no opportunity to return to that particular question at length later on. There will be only one quick overview of all the questions in relatively fast succession at the end of the exam.

This means that late arrival at the exam is not possible. There will be a grace period, i.e. the exam will not start bang on the dot of the hour advertised, but once it has started, there is no way to join as a latecomer. A person who arrived late for reasons beyond her/his control will have to sit the exam at the next slot. Treat the time of the exam as you would treat the departure of a scheduled airline flight. Few people are ever late for that.

Please make sure that you are able to stay in the room for the whole duration of the exam (about 2 hours). There will be no permission to leave the room during the exam unless you decide to hand in the paper beforehand. In case of a medical emergency, the exam can be suspended while the emergency is being dealt with.

Instead of two, there will be four exam dates (before the retake). This will allow sparse seating arrangements.

All mobile phones, tablets etc. will have to be deposited at the front desk before the exam starts. No-one will touch your property, they will remain visible to you the whole time.

Anyone touching a bag, talking, making a hand or facial signal will immediately fail the exam.

Therefore, make sure that you have paper tissues, perhaps a bottle of water or a small amount of snacks with you—taken out of your bag before the exam starts—if you think you need these.

If your pen fails during the exam, make that clear by raising your hand, and a working pen will provided for you. You cannot ask for a pen from another student.

There will be two invigilators present enforcing these rules on all four occasions. Inquiries are being made at this time whether making a video recording of the exam is feasible, necessary and legally appropriate. If such a recording will eventually be found necessary and appropriate, its contents will be erased or otherwise destroyed at the end of the examination and marking period in the presence of a student representative. The recording cannot and will not be used for any other purpose than to ascertain whether a breach of the rules has taken place during the exam.