Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 19

National Junior College English Department

2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

General Problems Lack of conciseness A clear pattern emerged: intro was too long, paragraphs too long, whole essay way over word limit Often a result of just writing as fast as possible with little thought put into selection How to control volume SELECT the best arguments and examples for the specific topic do not shove in everything you can think of FOCUS on actual topic do not get sidetracked into irrelevance CHECK topic frequently before you start each paragraph, re-read topic to make sure what you are about to write fits DO NOT REPEAT points, examples, words

Some examples of unnecessary words: The issue of housing for immigrants in Singapore is a widely debated issue in Singapore. With the increasingly stressful environment of Singapore society, it is difficult for Singaporeans to have a gracious society. Economic cooperation between countries saves time and resources because the countries which cooperate will develop economically and the economic ties between the countries are strengthened.

Vocabulary choices 1)Verb bring was used for just about anything it is NOT an all purpose verb Examples of other more appropriate choices Scientific research has ethical implications (instead of brings about) Research can benefit / benefits a country (instead of brings about benefits) 1

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

Weapons cause damage to society / damage society (instead of bring damage) The push for equality can have / has consequences (instead of brings about consequences)

2)critics is used frequently without any indication of what these people are criticising If you use this word to indicate different views, then say what they are critics of / what is their position / view / belief

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

1. Is the total elimination of inequality a realistic aim?


Clarification of terms: Total elimination to fully eradicate Inequality what are the different forms of inequality? (a) Gender inequality (b) Racial inequality/ discrimination (c) Social Inequality - income disparity/ rich-poor divide/ poverty (d) unfair treatment of senior citizens (e) unfair treatment of the disabled (f) unfair treatment of children Realistic practical; achievable aim the word aim indicates that the total elimination of inequality is a goal we are working towards. (element of speculation : based on the current efforts made to alleviate inequality, is it possible that there will be a day in the future where inequality will not exist?) Possible Approaches Candidate may take the stand that the total elimination of inequality is actually unrealistic but it is a valid and important goal to work towards. Candidate may also claim that it is more realistic to work towards alleviating inequality instead of seeking to totally eradicate it. In terms of paragraphing, candidates may approach the question through discussing the various forms of inequality. Examine if there is progress made for the different forms of inequality, and based on the progress made, is it possible to totally eliminate inequality in the future? For gender inequality, it is not valid to claim that in modern society today, both genders are treated equally. Although progress has been made in an attempt to achieve gender equality, we must recognize that may positions of power and authority are held by men. Meritocracy is not synonymous with equality. With regard to the rich-poor divide, we are not just concerned with the very rich or the very poor but we also need to consider those caught inbetween. Bear in mind that poverty is relative and that it has many levels. Consider also that social inequality may be a result of a combination of factors like gender & race. 3

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

3. To what extent should people be concerned with the ethical implications of scientific research?
Understanding the meaning of key words in topic should ought to implies obligation, determination concern of importance, affects peoples interests / well being implications possible consequences / effects / results / connections ethical ethics: what is considered right or wrong, morals, duties (in moral sense) Morality is a religious concept Are also secular values that express what a society deems is right or wrong, established norms, expectations Some forms in which secular morality is expressed Declaration of Human Rights, laws of a country Examples of secular ethics: an individuals life has value; individuals have the right to happiness; theft is wrong; torture is wrong A lot of overlap between religious and secular values as secular ones are based on religious ones they provide the foundation

scientific research has to be an area that is actually being researched now Selection all choices must cover/involve ethics topic is not broad NOT concerns about research in general, but ethical concerns all choices must be in areas where research is currently being done

Evaluation / Question Requirements Do not over-simplify it is not benefits versus problems/concerns more focused, more sophisticated 4

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

Two step process: 1)What is acceptable ethically (little/no concern) needs to be weighed against what is not, or is questionable to you & to others (both) 2)If the research is questionable, if it raises problems, presents ethical dilemmas (negative implications), then you have to decide how concerned we should be (to what extent degree of concern) For degree of concern, can also consider seriousness of implications are concerns rather minor, or are they likely to have a significant impact (on society, our core values, individuals) Examples of good selections / approaches Areas of scientific research must include values that this research may clash with (a clash is something to be concerned about because it can weaken, even negate core values, make us less civilized, less caring) Stem cell research mainly religious links (questions about when life begins & value of human life) Cloning links to secular values (has implications for ethical treatment of both cloned animals & humans) & religious ones (people should not play God) Research into new weapons both societies and religions believe in the value of human life Research into treatments that are so costly few can afford them links to secular values (clashes with belief that we are all equal /deserve chance to be healthy, happy) & religious beliefs (we are all Gods children, brotherhood of man) Genetic profiling links to secular values (such as right to employment & giving everyone an equal chance, choices) Genetic engineering links to secular values (all deserve an equal chance, not just rich) & religious ones (people should not be playing God)

Possible Viewpoints explain their concerns & evaluate how valid you think those concerns are Religious people Scientists 5

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

Those who benefit from research (can be both countries & individuals so a country like the US which can greatly benefit from stem cell research, under Bush banned it because of religious concerns; offers individuals with spinal cord injuries one of their best hopes so many are unconcerned with ethics just want chance to walk again) Big companies who profit from research (very rarely concerned about anything other than profits)

Objectives of research include consideration of what limits might/should be placed on it if you can answer the concerns, or mitigate possible negative consequences, then you can be a lot less concerned (to what extent) Profit ( a lot of you felt that if this is the case, we / governments should keep a close eye on it, be concerned if research crosses moral boundaries) Pure research for its own sake (can lead unintentionally to discoveries that get misused) Wish to improve peoples lives Desire to cure a particular disease (usually you, a family member, or a group you support has it cancer, HIV - not likely to be concerned about anything but a cure) Desire for power (countries) research into biological or new weapons

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

4. Young people today pay far too much attention to fashion. How far do you agree?
Key words today what factors in todays world might work towards making an interest in fashion excessive - which particularly affect young people media young people are biggest users of multi-media (which surrounds us with fashion, from TV shows like Project Runway, to internet sites devoted to fashion & buying it) celebrity culture (coverage of what stars are wearing, lists of best & worst dressed push idea that others are judging you based on your fashion sense) advertising young people have more disposable income today & are definitely targeted (advertisers try to convince you that you must dress in a certain way or have certain accessories to be popular / have status) globalisation (outlets of key fashion stores are in virtually every country saturation / accessibility a large percentage target young consumers)

Fashion Although Cambridge will accept fashion in other areas, such as music, the intention of the question is to ask you to consider fashion in the usual sense clothing, accessories, hair styles, physical features, etc. Evaluation / Question Requirements Note: not asked if you agree or not, but how far do you agree ie. should not totally disagree Evaluation is of DEGREE / measurement how much attention is harmless or even positive at what point does it become excessive Far too much attention are 2 degrees -excessive, negative impact (too much), harmful, destructive (far too much)

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

Possible Approaches Possible negative consequences (far too much) Self-centeredness, so that we become engrossed in superficial, even trivial concerns about our fashion choices, our appearance & pay less attention to more meaningful aspects of life, or really important problems Financial costs especially harmful (far) for those who feel compelled to follow all latest trends, which are constantly changing, so that they must always buy new things, update, discard last months /years styles Lowering of self-esteem plastic surgery (far) to suit what media portrays as fashionable Losing individuality slavishly copying trends instead of choosing fashion that suits your personality, lifestyle young people who are still trying to establish identity, personal style may be more susceptible Being oblivious to harmful consequences (far) of some fashions (stiletto heels, starving to fit so-called ideal body image)

Normal part of life / not excessive / harmful Expression of personal & cultural identity (positive, normal & therefore not harmful or even excessive) Natural part of others perceptions & expectations of you Good fashion sense is sometimes helpful, even necessary (interviews, appropriate dressing on job)

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

6. Our fascination with fame and celebrities is having a negative impact on our fundamental values. Do you agree?
Suggested Approach 1. Key Words? As highlighted above 2. Requirements? Clarification of fascination with fame and celebrities Clarification of what makes one a celebrity Evaluation of the our fascination with fame and celebrities on our fundamental values Causation Role of the media/New Media? 3. Knowledge required? What are the relevant fundamental values here? A good range of examples of fame and celebrities What are the manifestations of negative impact? 4. Other considerations? What is implied by the given assertion? Is there any assumption in the given assertion? Linguistic requirements? BALANCE??

Learning point: LINK IDEAS/EXAMPLES/ARGUMENTS TO THE KEY ISSUE IN THE QUESTION TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD AND STAND UNDERSTOOD
Comments on Performance: 1. Most students who attempted this question did not fare well primarily because many chose to ignore the fact that this question has several different parts, all of which have to be dealt with to give a cohesive, coherent answer: fascination with fame and celebrities clarification of concepts a negative impact comparison and evaluation our fundamental values the linguistic requirement of is having' 2. Some treated this as a question about the wonderful things that celebrities had done, and only to conclude that celebrities do not have a negative impact on our values, rather than proceeding with a balanced discussion on the extent
Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

of the negative impact on our fundamental values. 3. Very few gave enough time and thought to what exactly our fascination with fame and celebrities means and what our fundamental values are. The early clarification of these key concepts would have helped keep the focus. 4. Several answers did not have effective examples or even no examples at all. 5. When students did cite examples, few saw the requirement or failed to make the link between the two key concepts and the issue in their cited examples. Or it was simply a whole paragraph with listing of a few celebrities with no evidence to show our fascination with fame and celebrities and their negative impact on our fundamental values. 6. Common weakness of paragraph development - agreeing or disagreeing with the statement, based on a conclusion drawn from the explanation/description of ONE example/celebrity. 7. Giving two/three paragraphs of the positive things that celebrities had done and then moving on to another two/three paragraphs of the scandalous/ negative reports of a few celebrities is NOT balance. This is simplistic. The result an essay that did not address the question. Essays of this variety cannot hope to do well. 8. There should never be a listing of information. Students need to EVALUATE the extent of the negative impact of our fascination with fame and celebrities on our fundamental values, NOT oversimplifying the issue to the negative impact of fame on our values or the negative impact of celebrities on our values.

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

10

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

What are our fundamental values? The focus of fundamental values in your essay is directly linked to your choice of examples of celebrities. You need to cover a range of fundamental values and celebrities to give scope to your essay.

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

11

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

Who are celebrities? A celebrity is a person who has a prominent profile in the media and is easily recognized. Some careers are associated with celebrity status, such as the top tier of the modelling, acting and sports industries. While people may gain celebrity status as a result of a successful career (Tiger Woods, Angelina Jolie) , in other cases, people become celebrities due to media attention for their extravagant lifestyle (Britney Spears .) or wealth (Oprah Winfrey,Tiger Woods, Lady Gaga, ); for their connection to a famous person (Bill Clinton - Monica Lewinsky ); or even for their misdeeds/scandals (as in the case of Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Edison Chen ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn). Celebrities may be known around the world (e.g., pop star Michael Jackson, Britney Spears credited with influencing the revival of teen pop culture during the late 1990s; In June 2010, Spears was ranked sixth on the Forbes list of the 100 Most Powerful and Influential celebrities in the world; pop culture icon), within a specific country (e.g., a top national soccer player Fandi Ahmad ); or within a region (e.g., a local TV news anchor), philanthropy (Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Jacky Chan ); humanitarian causes ( fight against HIV and AIDs -Lady Gaga; Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR Angelina Jolie) With the rise of reality TV shows (Survivor, Big Brother) , one can become a celebrity and become famous not for doing, but merely for being. "Celebrities" in the 21st century can now be famous simply by being in the right place at the right time. These "celebs" are regular people who originally are not celebrities, becoming celebrities, and are often turned into celebrities based on the ridiculous things they do. An example of this is reality TV contestant Tiffany Pollard - "New York" Flavor of Love. What about fame and celebrities? We may have a love/hate relationship with celebrities. Due to the high visibility of celebrities' private lives, their successes and shortcomings are often made very public. Celebrities are alternately portrayed as glowing examples of perfection (when they garner awards they are frequently portrayed as possessing skills and abilities beyond average people, as well as the celebration of our fundamental values); or as decadent or immoral if they become associated with a scandal. Social networking - Celebrities have been flocking social networking and video hosting sites such as Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and Myspace. Social networking sites allow celebrities to communicate directly with their fans, removing the middle-man known as traditional media. Social media humanizes celebrities in a way that arouses our fascination as evident by the success of magazines such as People Weekly, Zoukan. Social media sites have even catapulted some to fame. Tila Tequila, for example, shot to stardom on Myspace.

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

12

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

PARAGRAHING A good paragraph seeks to advance a point of view (which should be LINKED to the key issue in the question), building a case supported by logical reasoning and relevant examples/evidence. Now comment on the following two paragraphs. Do they fulfil the testing requirements? How can they be improved? if we choose to follow the ways of celebrities that champion admirable causes, the fame and fortune of these celebrities can stir a sense of purpose in our lives and act as a source of moral guidance. This is evidenced by the recent American Idol celebrity Chris Medina who rose to stardom after sharing his story about how he still wanted to marry his fiance even after she got into an accident and became paralyzed. Although a multitude of fans flock to his doorstep each day, we cannot say that such a craze over him has led to an erosion of their human values. In fact, if anything, our fascination with his celebrity status and his life story has taught us one or two things about our core moral values: the value of unconditional love and sanctity of human life despite physical impairment. Hence, in this vein, it can be argued that human values of love, trust, self-control, faithfulness, human respect and tolerance can be retained and admittedly strengthened through the admiration of worthy celebrities and idols. If people lose their moral sensitivity and personal values in the pursuit of fame, then the obsession with such power has impinged on our fundamental values. However, we cannot dissipate the fact that our visceral desires to be popular and to know the popular can in fact help to reinforce human values. If our motivations are based on good intent, such as to be famous to show our talents to the world, fame and fortune need not necessarily compromise our morals. Ultimately I feel that the erosion of our core beliefs and values due to fame and celebrities depends on the individuals maturity and discerning mind
Monica Gabriel, 10SH17

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

13

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

8. Global cooperation is unrealistic and a waste of time. Discuss.


Key Words: Global cooperation: Not bi-lateral relations but global eg the United Nations (UN), World food Programme (WFP), International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) Unrealistic: not practical, not based in reality Waste of time: Inconclusive meetings that take up time and money without resolution or agreements reached. Question Requirements Must discuss both aspects, unrealistic and a waste of time and take a clear stand as to what you believe. Possible Approaches: 1) Global cooperation is unrealistic and a waste of time or 2) Global cooperation is possible and will reap results. Some examples of realistic/unrealistic The United Nations goal of achievement of world peace is unrealistic. The UN has also drawn criticism for perceived failures. In many cases, member states have shown reluctance to achieve or enforce Security Council resolutions, an issue that stems from the UN's intergovernmental natureseen by some as simply an association of 193 member states who must reach consensus, not an independent organization. Disagreements in the Security Council about military action and intervention are seen as having failed to prevent the 1994 Rwandan Genocide,] failed to provide humanitarian aid and intervene in the Second Congo War, failed to intervene in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and protect a refugee haven by authorizing peacekeepers to use force, failure to deliver food to starving people in Somalia, failure to implement provisions of Security Council resolutions related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and continuing failure to prevent genocide or provide assistance in Darfur. UN peacekeepers have also been accused of child rape, sexual abuse or soliciting prostitutes during various peacekeeping missions, starting in 2003, in the Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Sudan and what is now South Sudan, Burundi and Cte d'Ivoire
Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

14

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

Some examples of waste of time/ useful 1) The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace. The UN was founded in 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. It contains multiple subsidiary organizations to carry out its missions. There are currently 193 member states, including every internationally recognised sovereign state in the world but the Vatican City. 2) The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit where the Copenhagen Accord was drafted by the US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa on December 18, and judged a "meaningful agreement" by the United States government. It was "taken note of", but not "adopted", in a debate of all the participating countries the next day, and it was not passed unanimously. The document recognised that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the present day and that actions should be taken to keep any temperature increases to below 2C. The document is not legally binding and does not contain any legally binding commitments for reducing CO2 emissions.]Many countries and non-governmental organisations were opposed to this agreement, but, as of January 4, 2010, 138 countries have signed the agreement 3) The International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) is a high-level international forum which includes developed and developing countries. Its purpose is to enhance global cooperation in the field of energy efficiency (EE) and to facilitate policies that yield energy efficiency gains across all sectors globally. Its foundation in May 2009 represents a key milestone in the improvement of energy efficiency, generally referred to as the use of the least amount of energy per unit of production and/or population. The IPEEC promotes energy efficiency worldwide by exchanging information related to energy efficiency, developing partnerships between energy efficiency actors and supporting energy efficient initiatives IPEEC supported initiatives are open to both member and non-member nations as well as the private sector. In October 2010, IPEEC members included Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the USA.

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

15

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

10. Immigrants are a necessary evil. How true is this of your society? Clarification of terms: Migrant a person who leaves one place and settles in another, often regularly. (This is common today as people move from rural areas to urban areas in search of better job opportunities. Others move to another country for work.) Immigrant a person who goes to a foreign country with the intention of settling in it. Emigrant a person who leaves his/her native country and settles in another. a necessary evil what the statement in the question is suggesting is that immigrants are essential despite the challenges they bring. The word necessary in this case means that immigrants are a need / are essential / a society cannot do without them. Possible Approaches In your argument, you need to consider if we really need immigrants and if there are any challenges with regard to welcoming them to Spore. Immigrants are essential for Singapores economic development. Due to the low birth rates in Spore, they are required to help ensure that we do not end up in a situation where there is an ageing population. In fact, the above reason is why immigrants are essential to Spore. As Spore progresses, is there a real need for highly-skilled immigrants? Will we be able to train our own? Cultural diversity which immigrants bring to Spore however, how is this a need? Does Spore not already have cultural diversity? By bringing in more cultural practices, isnt that more challenging for the Spore society? Brain drain although Spore experiences brain drain, we are also benefiting from other countries brain drain. In the areas of Science & the Arts, having an immigrant culture is not necessarily bad. It prevents stagnation of ideas/views. Allows for innovative ideas and varied perspectives in terms of research. Challenges : (1) taking away jobs from Sporeans, (2) using resources of society, (3) drive up housing prices & (4) problems with integration & assimilation. Note that the Singapore government is very concerned with integrating the immigrants into the Singapore society. 16

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

** Most candidates did not understand the saying a necessary evil. ** Some candidates simplified this question into one which discusses the benefits and disadvantages of having immigrants in their society. **Some made token reference to the expression a necessary evil while others made no mention of this saying right from the introduction.

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

17

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

12. Only when people accept the authority of the state and the security it provides, do they gain freedom. Do you agree with this view?
Note: for full understanding, see the 2006 A level comprehension passage which is source of this idea only absolute is key because it means this is the sole way a society can achieve / gain freedom authority laws, legitimacy of a government, power to control the people, power to enforce will of government security military, police, safety, rule of law, job security, secure lifestyle / living standards provides does the state protect its citizens, ensure they live in a safe, ordered community in which laws are upheld fairly freedom basic freedoms & rights guaranteed in UN Declaration of Rights, freedom of choice Evaluation High level evaluation required Need to evaluate the link between (1) authority that provides (or does not) security AND (2) freedom Is it absolutely necessary (only way) to accept the authority of the government (state) in order to have freedom Question asks, do you have to have one in order to have the other Do you agree with this view means you can (& probably should) disagree

Possibilities to consider some governments enforce rigid authority but do not protect individual citizens (security) and grant no freedom, violate citizens rights (North Korea, Libya & Egypt before the revolts) 18

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

National Junior College English Department


2011 GP Preliminary Exam Paper 1 Question Analysis

some enforce authority, provide security, but citizens have little freedom, many basic rights are denied (Saudi Arabia, China) some exercise minimal control, provide security and give lots of freedom (US, Canada, Switzerland) some fit the statement in that they exercise tight control, provide security and allow a degree of freedom, ensure rights (Singapore)

Because the last case is very rare, it is not advisable to fully agree with the statement

Property of the English Department of National Junior College For Use In National Junior College Only

19