Completing the AQ section of your A Level General Paper is something every Singapore student would have to conquer. As the final portion of your paper, it might be daunting having to grapple with not only coming up with the necessary content (and phrasing them in your own words) but also completing it within the tight time limit. Rest assured, these problems can be easily resolved once you follow these 3 cardinal rules of answering the GP AQ section prepared to you by the top JC GP tuition centre, Zenith.
Rule 1: Answer the question directly and plan your answer
One of the biggest mistakes made by A Level students is the failure to engage with the question. Remember, the question is there to act as your guide. It sets the parameters of what should be addressed and present in your answers, so don’t make the common mistake of just glossing through the question. In the question lies keywords that would either make or break your entire AQ session so be sure to keep an eye for those! An example of how you can do so would be by adopting the question analysis technique taught to you by your GP tutor at Zenith, or simply using a highlighter to mark out keywords in the question. The main point is to make sure you are conscious and aware of what is important.
After spending a few minutes doing this, the next thing to do is to plan. Plan out the basic content of each paragraph and conduct regular checks while you’re completing your AQ to ensure that your content directly addresses the question without being repetitive or contradictory. Make sure you don’t shoot yourself in the foot by having an essay that continuously contradicts the points you’ve made! This will ruin the flow and coherency of your essay so make sure you note on these!
Planning your GP AQ can be as simple as just scribbling down one or two keywords for each body paragraph you’re addressing. Don’t be misguided in thinking that planning is an unnecessary waste of time. This could very well prevent you from writing out of point which would eat up even more of your time. Remember to not be penny wise and pound foolish!
Rule 2: Include relevant examples (and keep them local as much as possible!)
Something many students struggle with in the AQ portion of their GP exam is the phrase ‘in your society”. These 3 words instantly limit the scope of your examples because their existence points to the necessity of including Singapore-based news or examples in your answer. To avoid being thrown off guard, remember to continuously read up on local news and try to commit some to memory leading up to your H1 GP exam. This can be done by following the news released by the Straits Times or other reputable news sources on your commute to and back from school. In addition, it could also be taken from the content lessons carried out by your GP tutor at Zenith or your teacher in school. Just make sure to load yourself with plenty of local-based examples so you won’t catch yourself spending unnecessary time thinking of relevant examples. It’s always better to be spoilt for choice than to have no choice at all, so take a few minutes out of every day to commit an example or two to memory. You will be surprised at how much of a difference this would make in aiding with the flow and time constraint faced while you complete your AQ.
Another very important tip is to ensure that each body paragraph contains at least one relevant example. These examples serve to be the evidence and proof that the point you’re making is concrete so be sure to throw in at least one example before moving on to your next body paragraph. For example, if the AQ question centres around the idea of health and safety, you might want to bring in a localized example of the safe distancing measures implemented by the Singapore government in 2020-2021. Include facts such as the exact number of 5 unique household visitors per day or about the dining restrictions and try to include as many figures and statistics as possible!
Rule 3: Try to give an alternative view
This might seem highly counterintuitive to many students but it is what exactly makes the distinction between an average AQ essay and a great AQ essay. The difficulty of doing this lies in your ability to refrain from contradicting yourself. If you try to bring up a point that contradicts the entire point of your body paragraph, it might do you more harm than good as this might make your essay appear to be confused and lacking a clear direction.
A good tip to adopt to prevent this from occurring would be to bring up alternative views in specific instances. For example, if you’re addressing the point of the detrimental effects of social media platforms, an alternative point of view you may choose to bring in would be that it might not be all that detrimental for individuals who are studying abroad because it allows them to connect with their loved ones at home. Adding in a few liners at the end of your paragraph which acknowledges that there are specific instances where these might not hold true allows the A Level marker to recognize that you have breadth in your point. It also allows you to showcase a more nuanced argument as opposed to sticking to a superficial or vague view. Allow yourself to be flexible in your thinking but remember to communicate this flexibility in ways where you won’t contradict your entire argument. For something as complex as this, practice truly does wonders and so a piece of advice would be to draft out some paragraphs and submit them to your GP tutor at Zenith or your teacher in school for vetting and feedback to make sure you’re on the right track.
The AQ portion of the General Paper truly is the final stretch before completing your paper. As much as this is a test of your knowledge, it is also a test of your stamina so make sure that you don’t falter towards the end. This section could likely be the section that determines whether you secure your A grade at the A Level examinations or not so don’t take it lightly! Remember to continuously approach your JC tutors at Zenith for advice on how to improve and utilize the tips and tricks provided to you by the top GP tuition in Singapore!