For any student taking up General Paper 2 for their A-levels, the AQ section or the Application Question section is the scariest part of their tests. It tests the student’s critical thinking skills and how they could analyze the arguments in the materials given. It also determines if you can create your main claim that responds to the specific question asked in the test.
Unfortunately, the AQ part of the GP can be very confusing since it will require you to check one or more readings. Fortunately, for students who need help in their General Paper 2 writing, there are a lot of A-level tuition schools in Singapore that offer General Paper tuition. Tutors are also available throughout Singapore, providing General Paper tuition to anyone who needs it.
While taking on the aid of tutors or an A-level tuition school for your General Paper needs, here are some of the things you need to understand about the AQ section and how you can master it:
Elements in AQ GP
When tackling AQ GP, you need to remember four major elements that you have to ask to assess if you have done it right:
• Requirements: Did you check every part of the question carefully? What does the question require?
• Explanation: Did you explain your claim with the help of sources and illustrations? Are your sources credible
• Evaluation: Did you analyze all the scenarios in the passage given and understand the context you need to tackle?
• Coherence: Did you organize your claims properly and can it be understood easily? Is it straight to the point and not filled with confusing linkages?
Tips for Doing the AQ GP
Now that you are aware of the elements that must be remembered when doing the AQ GP, here are some of the tips you can now use to do your test efficiently.
Determine the type of question
When dealing with General Paper 2, it is important for you to answer in such a way that is relevant to the question being asked and it is proficient. It is just like answering your old General Paper 1 tests, but you need to be more specific for it.
There are at least five types of AQ questions used for A-Levels GP2 tests and here are some examples of how they may sound like during the test:
• The ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’ type
Do you agree with the author’s arguments? Why or why not? Do your views align with the author’s arguments?
• The ‘which is more persuasive’ type
Which writer’s arguments do you support? A or B? Why? Does writer A give a different insight?
• The ‘select the argument and apply it to society’ type
Using all the paragraphs, which views from this author can be applied to today’s society? Which arguments presented applies to your society? Are the arguments cited by the author applicable to today’s society? Which arguments are they?
• The General type
The essay talks about how democracy can help bring a nation up from a dictatorship. In your view, has democracy brought a change in former dictator-led states?
• The ‘recommendations’ type
The author talks about the advantages of increasing infrastructure to help lessen traffic. If you were a government official from the transport department, what recommendations would you make to the president regarding the issue?
What recommendations can you provide that would help others understand the arguments presented in the article?
Select relevant passage ideas
After determining the type of question being asked, it is time you sort out your sources that would support your argument.
• Pick the ideas you know or understand since it will be easier to explain and expound on your answer.
• Avoid using examples since it may reduce your scope.
• Select passage ideas that would help you get closer to the author’s arguments or the motivation of the characters being discussed.
• When discussing a point, select the contrasting idea to support your stance.
• Use only small phrases from the passage so you can add your own words to it. It is also good practice to do to prevent plagiarism from occurring in your future papers.
• Before selecting a passage, try checking if they could be applied to your life and society.
• When referring to the passage ideas you took up, don’t forget to use linkers like “According to …” or “Author A asserts that…”
Apply critical thinking skills
Showing one’s critical thinking skills can be a bit tricky if you do not know where to start, but there are ways to show it in your paper.
Add scope with the following:
• Aspects – historical, political, religious, social and economic aspects of the topic
• Levels – Beginning, climax, ending
• Involved Parties – Victims and suspects, stakeholders/donors and beneficiaries, etc.
Add depth to the essay
• Determine the possible effects or consequences of a certain stance. For example, would infrastructure do good to a nation or not?
• Examine the tangible and intangible effects of the topic. For example, would more money deliver you happiness?
• Determine what are the direct and indirect effects to the involved parties. For example, visa-free status in Russia.
• Compare various factors in the topic. Look into the different situations between countries, cultures, and age groups.
• Determine the root cause of a certain issue. Example, what caused the global recession?
• Try to correlate various factors and determine how they affect the issue.
• Analyze the macro or micro level aspect of the issue.
• Add extra insights, fun facts or perspectives regarding the topic that no one knows about the topic.
The AQ part of the GP exam is a part that us students should not fear because it is an integral part of our GP grade. By using the tips above, you will be able to determine where you need to practice and train yourself to get used to the tricky aspect of the AQ section.
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