Commentary for 2016 A level paper

1. ‘Any adaptation of a novel for a film, television or the theatre is never as effective as the original.’ Discuss. (Media)

2. Assess the view that traditional buildings have no future in your society. (Arts and SG Society)

3. ‘Longer life expectancy creates more problems than benefits.’ Discuss. (S&T)

4. Considering the money involved, should developing countries be allowed to host major sporting events? (Sports)

5. ‘Human need, rather than profit, should always be the main concern of scientific research.’ Discuss.  (S&T)

6. ‘Countries experiencing conflict should be left to sort out their own problems.’ How far do you agree? (International politics) 

7. How far has modern technology made it unnecessary for individuals to possess mathematical skills? (S&T + Maths)

8. ‘People who do the most worthwhile jobs rarely receive the best financial rewards.’ To what extent is this true of your society? (General)

9. Evaluate the claim that equality of opportunity for females is a desirable, but unrealistic, goal. (Gender)

10. Assess the view that most natural disasters are the result of human activity. (Environment)

11. Is competition always desirable? (General)

12. ‘Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone’s opinion is of equal value.’ What is your view? (General)

Based on the above questions, it appears that this year’s paper is relatively easy to prepare for and address. Common topics that come out yearly include science and technology and arts and culture. This year’s paper has a high percentage of science and technology question (Q3, Q5 and Q7), 2 being comparison in nature and 1 being a general question. Topics of focus are narrow and specific. Hence, for students preparing for questions on science and technology, they should be well versed in the different sectors and to be prepared for a specific question type. General and opinionated questions form the other bulk of this year’s paper (Q8, Q11 and Q12). It would be harder to predict and prepare for these questions, but they tend to appeal to students who either have a flair for smoking or did not prepare for the other content-based topics.

Moving forward, students should know what type of questions they are strong in, whether they should do a specific question type or a more open-ended/general question. Second, students should also know the question requirements in order to tackle the essay effectively. Absolute terms, matrix questions and even criteria questions have been evident for this year’s paper.

Are you prepared enough at this stage if you are taking A levels in 2017?

Showing 2 comments
  • Harry Sim

    Hi, can help me take a look at my essay. Thanks.
    Intro: competition is desirable, but only practised in moderation. It is no longer desirable when people too obsessed over it.

    Paragraph 1: competition improves personal performance, such as Joseph Schooling, but too obsessed leads to increase in suicide rate.
    Paragraph 2: competition between corporations leads to better products and services such as that between samsung iphone, but companies that are too obsessed over it might also cheat the customers.
    Paragraph 3: competition between nations in healthy field such as green tech but not desirable if they compete militarily
    Paragraph 4: competition is desirable if politicians compete to serve the nation well, but some politicians might also too fixated on election victory such that they implement populist policies that are harmful.

    • Christine Chen

      Hi, it is great that you have set a criteria for your intro on the desirable level of competition. It is good that you have shown competition to be a double-edged sword in every of your paragraph. You would however need to make the links explicitly for the first paragraph. It seems a little extreme for you to say that obsession with competition will lead to suicide. More likely, it will cause depression and very high stress levels.

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