Monday, November 14, 2011

When and how to prepare for General Paper?

I recommend you to start preparing for General Paper right from the beginning of your course. Since GP is AS Level discipline, you are expected to attend classes only for 1 year. However, you get to study for whole two years if you are from Nepal. What you should understand is that, still after the two year course the GP result in average is not good in Nepal. Why? Because of problems with English as it is a second language for us. Not only us but all the international students whose native language isn’t English face similar problem. And language is not the only concern of GP; you should be good at content as well. Therefore, you should begin preparing for your General Paper right from the beginning of your Advanced Level (A Level) course if not sooner.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Probable Questions for Oct/Nov 2011 Exams of General Paper

In this post I will be discussing about the issues likely to be discussed in the exams in Oct/Nov 2011. However, don't get too influenced by them since they are only my predictions solely based upon my own perspectives. This doesn't reflect the Cambridge way of setting questions.

1) Social networking sites

The tide of social networks should have slowed down by now but they haven't and instead the waves of such tides have just been triggered. I can say that because from the stepping in of an Internet Giant (company) Google in this area with its launch of Google+ which is compared with Facebook for its potential. Apart from Google+ and Facebook, there are many such networking sites and other smaller community sites in very large numbers which are still relevant for their usefulness.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Last minute tips for General Paper students

This last minute tip is for those who are sitting for General Paper exams this October. These are the most basic and most common things which students should know. Most of the students can significantly improve their grade by taking care of some simple matters. You don't need to be complex in your answers. Writing simple error free sentences is better than writing complex sentences with errors. And writing simple words carefully is much better than writing complex words haphazardly and without knowing what it means.

Most students have the concept that writing complex words will give the impression of having a good vocabulary. This is not true. Is the word "axerophthol" better than "pen" for example? We can't compare things this way. Here, both words are nouns and they have their own importance. When you have to mean "pen" you can't say "axerophthol"; you can only say "pen" and nothing else. So, good vocabulary means appropriate use of words to communicate your ideas effectively.

Friday, October 14, 2011

How long should be your General Paper Essay?

As a direct answer, you are expected to write your essays in the range given below. But first, be careful to notice your syllabus code. 8004 is the one with both essays and 8001 is the one with an essay and a comprehension passage.

Syllabus CodeNo. of WordsNo of ParagraphsNo. of Pages

Monday, October 10, 2011

Examiner Report: How can you benefit from it?

Like mark scheme, examiner report is a great resource for General Paper students. In this post, I will try to explain you what kind of benefits you can get from it.

What is Examiner Report?

After checking all the copies, the examiners hold a meeting and discuss about the performance of students in overall in a given exams. Summarising the discussions they prepare a report which is called as Examiner Report. Therefore, this report contains the problems faced by students in the use of English, content and passage of General Paper 8001. And provides solutions too. However, you have to be careful to choose the appropriate report based on your syllabus code, either 8001 or 8004 beforehand to ensure that you'll get what you expected. For example, you can't find the discussion on the questions of comprehension passage on the examiner report of GP 8004. You'll have to download the correct report including the correct syllabus code and correct year of the examination for that.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mark Schemes: Source of Content for GP Essays!

In my last post I wrote about how your answer-sheets are evaluated by CIE. Now, in this post I will be writing about how mark schemes can be useful for your contents.

In fact your mark schemes are hidden treasures, gold mines, or whatever you prefer to call them. I guess most of you have seen past papers, if you haven’t then see them or directly see the mark schemes. The difference is that mark scheme additionally contains some ideas for the answers of the past paper questions. So, this can be very useful resource for you especially, to get ideas to write essays on the complex or difficult questions. I have taken an extract from Oct/Nov 2009 Mark Scheme to demonstrate you how much valuable it is:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mark Scheme: How your answers are evaluated by CIE!

When it comes to educational materials people often mention syllabus and past papers. However, often missed but much more useful resources are the mark schemes and the examiner's report.

A mark scheme is a very useful resource for students. It contains how your answers are evaluated and checked, how is marks allocated for your contents and your usage of English and also the potential answers to the questions asked in a given exam. In this article, however, I will focus only on "How your answers are evaluated by CIE".

Monday, October 3, 2011

GP Essays Topic-Wise!

"I need all GP essays topic wise. Where can I get them? Please help!"
I have heard this type of questions quite often and I imagine that there are many others who would be grateful if they got an answer to this. Unfortunately, you can't get "ALL" the GP essays "TOPIC WISE" or "CHAPTER WISE" (although I have included links to more than enough essays below), but fortunately, you don't need to read too many essays.

Over-generalization Problem in GP essays

Let me begin with an example:
"Everyone uses Facebook nowadays."

Is this sentence correct? Perhaps not! And as a GP student you must know what's wrong with this sentence.

What's wrong with this sentence?

You may agree with this sentence (because you might have seen an overwhelming number of people spending their days and nights on Facebook) but there are some folks who don't agree. Who are they? You got it right, the General Paper Examiners! (yes the copy checkers.) So, why don't they agree then?

Best Resources for GP Students

A Graded Sample/Model Essays

The A Graded Essays from Cambridge University are the best resources an A level student can have. Fortunately, I have collected and published 5 of them. Although few in number, these essays are exemplary essays provided directly by CIE and hence there is no compromise in quality.  Therefore, I recommend all the General Paper students to read all these essays at least once. Revising them just before the exam can set a good mood for you to write good essays.