Application Question: Former RGS/RI GP Teacher shares insiders’ tips on A’levels AQ questions and common mistakes mentioned in examiner reports.
The Application Question, more commonly known as the AQ is a 10 marks question in Paper 2. Entire paper is 1 hr and 30mins.
How do you tackle the AQ?
A rule of thumb. Always remember to think of AQ 2 separate parts. The first part always requires students to identify and evaluate the author’s claims. The next part is to apply and explain if the points are relevant to Singapore. This is where your current affairs knowledge of your country (typically Singapore, foreign students can use their own home country as a basis for comparison, but I always encourage students to use Singapore, simply because
1)Your GP tutors will most definitely be using Singapore in their course of teaching, so it will be easier for you to catch on.
2) You have two years or more to familiarise yourself with this country, reading the local papers is the very least you could do. You will provide Singapore examples to show whether the points hold true. When evaluating always try and provide reasons for your view, do not just simply state the examples.
What are the three most common mistakes that most students make in AQ?1) Unable to identify the ‘correct’ claim
1) Wrong Claim or No Claim
Some students have difficulty establishing what the writer’s opinions/claims are exactly. Seemingly basic, and almost a fundamental requirement (this was taught to my girls in RGS for in year one!).
In my years of teaching GP, I have seen many students who have yet to acquire this basic but key skill. This may be largely attributed to the lack of practice or frankly, they have not been taught (properly?)
2) Bad Time Management
Due to a lack of confidence, some students tend to focus on the Short Answer Questions (SAQ) because they feel that they are more confident in gaining marks for those. Many leave too little time to do the AQ and tend to rush through. This is certainly a recipe for disaster. Always annotate ahead and leave at least 20 minutes for this 10 points question.
3) Lack of evaluation
Many students lack the ability to analyse in AQ. They merely plaster in examples and *fingers crossed* hope that by writing excessively, giving so much details of the examples, they will be safe. (I ‘ve seen three to four pages AQ which failed tragically, usually scoring three or four marks)
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