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Old 26th October 2012, 02:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Social Studies Answering Techniques

Hi, this is my first post on this forum!

I have made a short guide on how to answer source-based and structured essay questions. It's not perfect, but I hope it helps in studying. Please point out any mistakes if you spot any! Cheers!

SOURCE-BASED QUESTIONS
Inference
Determine if question asks for inference with purpose
(Eg. "Why did the cartoonist draw this cartoon?").
Usually the questions asks for content.
• At least 2 VALID inferences, with support (evidence)
• If question asks for purpose , use VAMI

V: Verb
A: Audience
M: Message
I: Impact

Eg. The purpose of the source is that the cartoonist is trying to (V) convince (A) Singaporeans (M) that healthcare is affordable due to the heavy subsidies provided (I) to assure them that they are well looked after by the government

Comparison
How different/similar are the two sources?” ->Give 2D1S or 1D2S
In what way are the sources different/similar?” ->Give 3 differences or 3 similarities
• L4: At least 2 content comparisons, including evidence from the sources (quote)
• L5: To score maximum marks, include PURPOSE or TONE as a comparison criteria.

Your answer should include evidence from the sources. You can use VAMI (purpose) for this paragraph.
Note: Using source type/provenance as a criteria for comparison will score the LEAST marks

Reliability/Usefulness
• State your stand: Reliable/Useful to a large or small extent
• Reliable/Useful: State why and give evidence from sources
• Unreliable/Not useful: State why and give evidence from sources
• L4: Cross-reference your “for” and “against” statements, i.e. BOTH reliable+unreliable/ useful+not useful by quoting evidence from other sources
• L5: Check for bias (Critical analysis) using VAMI (purpose)

STRUCTURED ESSAY QUESTIONS

Tips:
-Different schools may have different formats for writing essay questions (as well as SBQ questions)
-Band descriptors (and the levels L1-L5 based on the LORMS marking scheme) determine the number of marks you score for a question
-Depending on the marking scheme, band descriptors may be more demanding in terms of the criteria for allocation of marks. For example:
The Graduate Mothers Scheme was the most successful taken by the Singapore government to encourage population growth. Do you agree? Explain your answer.

Since the Scheme was clearly a failure (there were huge reactions to the scheme and it was withdrawn after a year), a candidate may not score more than 6 marks if he/she agrees with the given factor.

-Marks may be penalised for poor organization of answers, hence it is recommended to use a set format when writing your answers. Do ensure your handwriting is legible!
-Read questions carefully. Some questions may require you to explain 2 factors (instead of usual 3), or to explain certain factors. For example, if a question asks you about the benefits and negatives of globalisation, do not give just the environmental factors! Full credit will not be given!
-If you are tight for time, skip the conclusion for the essay. It is worth only 1 or 2 marks and is usually awarded ONLY if you have reached L4, after you have written and explained all the given factors. Your conclusion should answer the given question

-One of the formats used is the PEEL format
-One paragraph= 1 factor. Using PEEL
-So 3 factors= use PEEL 3 times

P: Point
E: Example (Evidence)
E: Explain (Elaborate)
L: Link (Reiterate your point)

Standard LORMS marking scheme
• L3: Explain 1 given factor
• L4: Explain at least 1 given factor (2 or more)
• L5: Conclusion paragraph. Reiterate your points and compare which factor is more important, significant or successful based on long term/short term effects, affect numerous people/affect few people etc. (Use your logic and common sense!)

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Old 26th October 2012, 03:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Social Studies Answering Techniques

This is helpful, thanks

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Old 26th October 2012, 03:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Social Studies Answering Techniques

Nice work. Hope to see more posts

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Old 26th October 2012, 06:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Social Studies Answering Techniques

Just a question, for questions that are tested on reliability, i have to argue both sides and i'll have to state 2 reasons for the one that i feel that it is useful or not useful right? ie for eg, if i feel that is not useful, then i'll express my answers in this way.

1st para
Source B is useful because..... with x-ref

2nd para
On the other hand, Source B is not useful because..... tone -> biased, purpose -> propaganda.

and for para 2, would it suffice if i just talk about the tone and purpose?

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Old 26th October 2012, 06:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Social Studies Answering Techniques

For comparison questions in SBQ, how do I know when should I talk about tone or purpose?

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Old 26th October 2012, 11:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Social Studies Answering Techniques

Originally Posted by GabrielFanta View Post
For comparison questions in SBQ, how do I know when should I talk about tone or purpose?
Well if u see a stark difference/similarity in tone/purpose then you use it. But because comparing tone is usually harder cas the examiners credit only very accurate and specific descriptions on the tone so usually purpose is easier.

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Old 28th October 2012, 11:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Social Studies Answering Techniques

Originally Posted by chunkwannn View Post
Just a question, for questions that are tested on reliability, i have to argue both sides and i'll have to state 2 reasons for the one that i feel that it is useful or not useful right? ie for eg, if i feel that is not useful, then i'll express my answers in this way.

1st para
Source B is useful because..... with x-ref

2nd para
On the other hand, Source B is not useful because..... tone -> biased, purpose -> propaganda.

and for para 2, would it suffice if i just talk about the tone and purpose?
Usually only 1 reason is needed to explain useful as well as not useful (so total 2 reasons). So your format is correct. Of course there may be more than one valid reason, so if you feel unsafe or have extra time go ahead and write a second one. There's no penalizing of marks for extra content anyway

In reliability questions, tone and purpose is usually used for critical analysis/check bias. I'm not so sure about using tone/purpose as a reason for not useful though. I don't think I have done that before

EDIT: For not useful, take note, you need to cross reference as well!. I usually do it this way:
Para 1: Useful+ why
Para 2: Not useful +why
Para 3: Cross ref useful
Para 4: cross ref not useful
Para 5: Check bias


Last edited by popcorn96; 28th October 2012 at 11:26 PM.
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