LINK: Interesting post by Mary Beard on what used to be called gobbets. The old practice on classics exams, apparently, was that they would give a number of passages and it would be your job to identify who wrote it and why it was important (and translate, of course).
I have encountered something like this exactly once in my academic career, but once was more than enough. When I took Survey of Russian Literature as an undergrad, we had ten passages, from which to choose five, and then explain what book it was from, who was speaking, and why it was important. This in a class where we read well over 3000 pages (probably closer to 4000; War and Peace was not even a majority of what we read). I remember it well because a number of us who did relatively well in the class stood together in the hallway after the exam was finished, trying to identify all the passages; the hive mind was only able to identify four with certainty.