Firstly, it’s a tad bit odd to write this sort of thing on this blog but I reckon it wouldn’t hurt to help some AS-Level students tackle the difficulties encountered when attempting GP. Secondly, I wrote this for my tutor because he thought it’d be beneficial for his future students to see how I achieved a rather satisfying grade in GP from my perspective. I hope you’ll find this helpful.
HELPFUL TIPS TO ACHIEVING AN A-GRADE IN GENERAL PAPER
*This applies to all sections in GP exam papers*
PRACTISE PROPER GRAMMAR AND SPELLING
- Learning transition words is beneficial as well. E.g. furthermore, for instance, however, etc.
EXTEND YOUR VOCABULARY AND LEARN TO UTILISE IT
- Learn at least 5 words per week.
TIP: Use flash cards.
- Don’t use big words JUST for the sake of impressing the reader. You should learn how to use it appropriately.
FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH THE THEREFORE/SO TEST
- It makes your reasons sound with your topic.
READ MORE BOOKS
- Reading books (and fan-fictions, apparently) also helps you to extend your vocabulary and be familiarised with the proper grammar and sentence structure.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS
- You can apply your knowledge on everyday life into GP.
- For example, you (a student taking Biology) are told to write about Charles II of Spain. You can talk about his deformity caused by inbreeding between the Habsburgs in details; inheriting a faulty allele, gene mutation, etc.
ATTEMPT PAST YEAR PAPERS
- You can identify your mistakes and perfect them.
- Practice makes progress to perfection.
ALWAYS READ INSTRUCTIONS AND QUESTIONS THOROUGHLY
- You do not want to give an entirely different answer to the question.
GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT
- Have the habit of reading articles from magazines (e.g TIME), newspapers (e.g The Economist) or reliable sources on the Internet.
- Watch documentaries relating to:
- Historical, social, economical and political topics.
- Science; environmental issues, health, technology.
- Art; Literature, music and arts.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO QUESTION AND ARGUE
- It helps to broaden your mind.
- THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A STUPID QUESTION.
SEEK FOR TEACHER’S HELP
- When in doubt, don’t be afraid to seek advice from your teacher. They’re a lot helpful than you think.
- Help your teachers to help you. They cannot read your mind.
My opinion: It really depends on the student. It’s a matter of changing attitude and having perseverance. You’re not doing it for your teacher, friends, family but for YOURSELF.
What do successful students do?
- Stay active and engaged
- Hard work
- Limit social interaction and technology
- Stay progressive