Friday, October 12, 2012

Probable Question for Oct/Nov 2012

Disclaimer Notice First

First of all, I would like to share something with you:
I have tried to guess probable questions like this for four sessions with this one being the latest and in my past guess-works, what I have experienced is that most of the students blindly rely on them and prepare only on the topic areas listed here. And when the questions do not fall from the areas I have listed there they simply show aggression. One person wrote in my Facebook Group in a satirical manner that, “100% questions were asked from my predicted topics.”

Now, read an article on another blog. Ms Adrienne de Souza writes how students get tricked by reading probable questions. She frankly says that her predictions have been wrong before, like mine! And I've always included "a note of warning/disclaimer" in each of the earlier predictions.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Opinions vs Facts in GP Essays

Students generally think that GP questions need a lot of factual data, statistical information, and so on. This is one major blunder they commit to unknowingly. While knowledge of various things obviously helps you, it’s not in the way you think. You think that you got good marks for writing data and facts. But in fact, if you have scored well, then you did so because you successfully proved your point or opinion! Confused? Read till the end and you’ll be clear about what I’m trying to say.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Writing a Thesis Statement

What is Thesis Statement?

Thesis statement is a statement that conveys the ultimate message, intention or the main argument of your essay. In other words, thesis statement can summarize your whole essay within a single sentence. Your thesis statement will be enough for the examiners about which side or position you are taking in the discussion or debate. For example, in the question of “do you agree?” type, this statement will tell the reader whether you agree and to what extent.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oct/Nov 2010 - Solution of Quesiton #2

2 Study the information and then answer all the questions (a) (d) which follow.

You are the Managing Director of a small but long-established firm that specialises in the manufacture of high-quality furniture for export.

As a result of the global recession and a sharp fall in orders, you have had to cut back on overheads such as training, sponsorship and advertising. As a further economy measure, you now have to decide on which member of your Senior Management Team should leave the firm. (Apart from their own particular responsibilities, this Senior Management Team advises the Managing Director on the overall running of the business.)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oct/Nov 2011 – Solution of Question #3

Paper 8001/22, Maximum Marks: 50 & Time: 1 hour

3 Study Passage 3 in the Insert [posted below in this article] to answer the following Questions (a) – (e).

A brush with the law: Delhi jail uses paint to rehabilitate prisoners

Some show bars and locked gates, others portray magical birds and beasts; many picture an idyllic colourful world away from the harsh, stark realities of their creators’ lives. For the one thing all these paintings have in common is that they provide the young men producing them with a way of communicating their experiences inside South Asia’s largest prison.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Oct/Nov 2009 - Solution of Question #14

14. Study the information and then answer all the questions (a – d) which follow.

You are entertaining a female relative and have decided it would be a good idea to spend an evening watching a film together. You subscribe to a film club from which you rent DVDs. Their recommendations on this occasion are as follows. (All the names that are mentioned are those of fictional actors and not the characters that they portray.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Five Ways of Writing GP Essay Introduction

Writing an introduction in the absence of proper knowledge can be a challenging task. Similarly, getting different ideas from different people on this matter might complicate the situation even more. And there are times when you cannot manage to write a single word. You think of different ideas and yet none of the ideas help you get on the board. Or you get stuck in the middle of the sentence and no matter how hard you try your can’t move on. Now, in this article I will try my best to wipe away all the confusions surrounding you and make you able to write an introduction for different types of essays. I hope you won’t have these problems after reading this article.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Should advertising be restricted in any way?

Advertising is a medium to reach its potential customers for any business organization. Advertising is important for both newly launched product as well as the reputed brand. The former needs to expand its reach and grow its market share and the latter needs to preserve its brand image. Because of its huge importance, advertising can be rightly called a backbone of a business. However, in this toughly competitive world, will all the business advertise their products and services ethically?

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Writing is easier way to express ourselves than speaking." Do you agree?

When it comes to communicating about oneself, speaking is an easier way to express ourselves in most of the circumstances. Speaking is a spontaneous action which doesn't require as much effort as the writing does. People can brainstorm in their mind and easily communicate their thoughts about themselves by speaking. If they had to express it through writing, they would have to pen down the same idea with grammatical accuracy. Perhaps due to the lack of practice, many people find it difficult to write; however, since we have been used to speaking right from our childhood, we have almost excelled in this medium of communication and it is no surprise that we find speaking easier to writing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Is there any point in predicting the weather when we have no control over it?

With the advancement of science and technology many things have been made possible these days and weather forecasting is one of those things. However, we are yet to take control over the weather to make it desirable for us. As a result, some people argue that weather forecast is pointless because we have no control over it. But that is just a short-sighted vision.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Consider the view that the key to good health is not medicine, but lifestyle

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely an absence of disease or infirmity." - World Health Organization.

This definition of health in its broadest sense implies that curing of physical diseases and abnormalities alone cannot earn us a good health. Can medicines go beyond curing diseases, to improve our health on the mental and social grounds? The medicines for the mental diseases, like depression, might improve our mental and social health to some extent; however, good health in its broadest sense can only be achieved through improved lifestyle.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Account for the ever increasing popularity of digital photography.

While photography used to be considered something which was less useful and more expensive in the past, it no longer remains so, thanks to the evolution of digital photography. With the invention of the digital computers and digital cameras, digital photography is continuously growing popular among both professional and amateur photographers. Moreover, people these days own a personal digital camera to capture the important moments of their lives such as get-togethers and festival celebrations. Along with the significant reduction in cost, digital photography has increased the application areas of photography and perhaps, this is the reason why digital photography is ever-increasingly growing popular among the people nowadays.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What does "Grade Threshold" mean?

The minimum marks required to obtain a grade is known as grade threshold. For example, if at least 35 marks are required to obtain grade A then the grade threshold for A is 35.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Probable Questions for May/June 2012

Well, a note of disclaimer first. This article in no way reflects the actual questions that will be asked in your exams on May 7. The topics discussed here are only the outcome of guesswork and hence I request you to take them as guesswork rather than a benchmark.

The following are the areas from which you might get questions this session. I will try to give some orientation about the topic first, and then provide you the examples of the questions that can be asked from each topic.

Friday, March 16, 2012

‘History is no more than a study of human folly.’ Is this a fair comment?

There is a famous proverb, ‘Let bygones be bygones’ which essentially means: forget the past; do not worry about it anymore.  Moreover, since the outcome of our past actions cannot be changed however hard we try at present, forgetting them has no alternative. On the other hand, focusing on future events can enable us to influence their outcomes. Therefore, remembering the past events and musing over them at present might not only seem to be unimportant but also ridiculous. Since, history too does the same, that is, rejuvenating the bygones, its study too seems to be futile. However, this is only one side of the story. What if a person forgets his mistakes of the past and repeats them? Again, what about the pleasant memories of the past which can be constructive rather than destructive?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Do small firms have a role in modern business?

We often hear the name of multinational firms even in our casual conversations like, “I love the shoes from Nike!”; “he is a diehard fan of Apple products (like iPhone)”; etcetera. In other words, the highly influential and reputed brands have become the synonym to business to most of the people. The retailers seem to hold the role of a mediator only - between such firms and customers. In this context, it is even obvious to ask whether the small firms have any role in modern business. However, a careful inspection of the business and the economy as a whole reveals us that the small firms are vital to the modern economies and businesses.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Traditional arts and crafts not only provide work but also promote tourism." Justify

Traditional arts and crafts, which are a part of our culture, reflect our lifestyle. So, we should create, promote and maintain them for our future. However, manpower is essential to perform such tasks and thus some people get employment. This in turn, attracts more tourists from all over the world which again creates new set of employment opportunities because now the services and facilities needed for tourists are to be created and maintained. Once again, the availability of better services and facilities in a touristic place attracts even more number of tourists. Therefore, traditional arts and crafts provide work as well as promote tourism at the same time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

External Resources For General Paper

This post is meant to provide you with the resources from other places in the web to help you get exposure on diverse topics and areas of knowledge including the writing styles and ideas for content which is necessary to meet the expectations of the GP syllabus. You are expected to broaden your mind as much as you can and for that reading contents from a single source and relying on the instructions of a teacher only is not enough. You must see the world beyond that too.

What can be done to reduce the stress-related problems of the stressful modern life?

Original Question:

In recent years, life has become more stressful than it has ever been. As a consequence, more and more people are suffering from stress related problems. What factors are contributing to this increase and what do you think can be done to overcome the current problems?
Source: Handout from GP instructor Mr. Kamal Pandey

Stress and stress-related illness seem to be unavoidable in the life most people lead nowadays. For many years now, it has been recognized that increasing levels of stress in the workplace not only increases the risk of disease but also reduces people's ability to respond flexibly to the demands of their job. This stress results from a variety of aspects of our modern life; there are, however, several things that can be done to reduce the problems caused by stress.

What is so special about A Graded Sample Essays?

The A Graded Essays from Cambridge University are the best resources an A level student can have. I recommend all the General Paper students to read these essays at least once prior to attending the CIE board exams. These essays are the most appropriate sample essays for GCE A Level students as these essays have scored "Grade A" in the CIE exam itself.

Why should you read CIE Comments?

First something about Sample (or Model) Essays and CIE comments

The essays listed under the Sample Essays section are the essays checked or examined by Cambridge International Examination board (CIE) and these essays have been credited ‘A’ grade. These essays along with the comments on each of them are made available to the teachers and students by Cambridge as educational materials. Since, these model or sample essays are the examples of ‘A’ scoring essays, these resources (Essays and comments provided by the Cambridge) are very important in understanding ‘What is expected from the students in GP examinations?’

Discuss the arguments for and against vegetarianism.

Read this essay side by side with CIE comments
Learn why you should read CIE comments

Vegetarianism may be defined as a dietary style which completely excludes meat.

Eating vegetable sans meat may be the result of personal preference or religious injunction. Jainism and Buddhism, religions which contain the belief in reincarnation, argue that since each human is reborn (often as a lower animal) eating any animal or insect would be tantamount to cannibalism. However, most vegetarians have no such profound theory besides their individual liking of vegetables.

What are the consequences of the break-up of family life in many countries today?

Read this essay side by side with CIE comments
Learn why you should read CIE comments

In recent years, almost all countries have witnessed a gradual disintegration of the family unit. The concept of the ‘nuclear’ family, often living together and sharing resources, has been given up in favour of a single-unit household. Since large, extended families often served only to contribute to agrarian earnings, they dissolved to cater to the needs of the urban-industrial era.

Would it be advantageous if all the people throughout the world could speak one common language?

Read this essay side by side with CIE comments
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‘Words are all we have’ – Samuel Beckett.

According to an eleventh century Arab writer, Ibn-e-Hazm, in the beginning there existed a single language given by God, thanks to which Adam was able to understand the quiddity of things. Over the chequered history of mankind, the fragmentation of this unique tongue that existed abinitio gave rise to a multitude of diverse languages. An integration of all these, or a reversion to a single language would have several repercussions.

Should society punish criminals more harshly?

Read this essay side by side with CIE comments
Learn why you should read CIE comments

The world today has taken on a form in which guillotines and public hangings are a thing of the past. The modern man has sought to sugarcoat handing out of punishment to criminals. However, as the barbarian of yesterday is replaced by the civilised man of today, delivering of punishment becomes subtler than ever but does not lose its essential sadistic touch.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of banning smoking in public places?

Read this essay side by side with CIE comments
Learn why you should read CIE comments

Medical studies suggest that smoking can lead to serious health problems for both the person smoking and the person sitting next to him. Keeping these statistics in mind, governments all over the world have implemented bans on smoking tobacco in public places, to the joy of non-smokers and the dismay of those for whom a cigarette is a permanent extension of the lips.

What role will Artificial Intelligence actually play in human affairs in the next few decades?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the combination of computer science, physiology and philosophy. It includes capacity to learn, store and maintain the knowledge, utilize commonsense reasoning, apply analytical abilities, discern relationships between facts, communicate ideas to others, perceive and make sense of the world and imagine new situations and events. The machines aided with the technology of Artificial Intelligence, therefore, will have their own thinking and deciding capabilities. As a result, they will be operating automatically and responding to any situation intelligibly. Thus, they will be mobilized in every possible field of human endeavour.

"The way to prevent drug abuse is through education not legislation." Discuss.

Has law ever been successful in stopping people from abusing drugs? Drug abuse, seen among the youths, is a serious problem even in developed countries just because it cannot be prevented by means of legal procedure. Education, on the other hand, gives us light, sight and insight and hence makes us aware of the health hazards caused by the abuse of drugs. Since education is the path shower to healthy life, it directs people for a drug free life. It makes us understand that drug costs health, wealth and time. Education, therefore, is the only measure to prevent drug abuse.

Assess the advantages and problems of hosting major international sporting events.

As the sporting events are becoming popular worldwide, a high competition among the countries to host such events has been noted. This clearly hints us of the benefits a country can get by hosting international sporting events. A country can boost its economy through the rise of trade and advertisement during such sporting events. In the meantime, the country gets an opportunity to display its culture and hospitality to the world which, in turn, will boost its tourism industry. However, the host countries face different hurdles to successfully accomplish such events. The chances of spread of disease like HIV and other pandemics; difficulty in the management of crowds and various other problems are noticeable at such occasions.

'The benefits of technology are mostly enjoyed by the rich.' Do you agree?

When we hear the term technology, devices in sophisticated looks and designs, which are highly expensive to buy comes in our mind. This definition of technology in our imagination is incomplete. The technology not only aims at improving the performance and design but also at reducing its cost. In general the sleek designs and beautification are the factors which multiply the cost of such devices. Therefore, technology is viable and within the reach of poor and middle class people.

How important is it to preserve the balance of nature?

Both human beings and animals are the creation of nature. They depend on nature to get whatever they require for their survival. Nature may exist without us but we cannot survive in the absence of nature. Then, why do we deplete the nature to quench our never satisfying thirst of pursuit of development? Why are we not aware of the fact that all these developmental works would deteriorate our environment and bring imbalance in nature which will eventually secure our extinction? Nature is our need; wealth and luxury are our wants. Why cannot we sacrifice our desires for the welfare of all of us?

"Democracy possesses supreme governance." What's your view?

A nation does not belong to a person alone; but to all its citizens who want to lead their life in the way they want, that is, freely and independently. A need therefore arises to make a governing body which makes and amends laws as well as implements them for the benefit of the people. Democracy is one such form of governance which tries its best to address the needs, wants and preferences of the people.

What is WordWeb and how to use it for best results?

What is WordWeb?

WordWeb is a digital dictionary available in both free and pro versions. It is handy and quite fulfilling for our current needs. It occupies less space in memory as it is small in size, it has easy interface and it can be easily downloaded from the internet. So, I recommend you to use it.

How to read for better vocabulary and better learning?

Here are the guidelines to enhance your vocabulary and to learn whatever you read more effectively and efficiently. Use these methods to gain more knowledge and a robust vocabulary.

Select the materials

First you need to select or get the reading materials. Whether it may be a paperback book or a digital eBook it must be a matter of your interest. I recommend you to read digital materials because you can look up the meanings easily in a dictionary like WordWeb.

Reading and Writing: Two Simple Ways to improve your Vocabulary

"Reading makes a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man."
Sir Francis Bacon

Reading and writing are the best ways to improve your vocabulary. Reading unveils new words and using that word in some kind of writing makes that word unforgettable. Therefore, if you want to improve your vocabulary then you should start to read and write from today onwards. I have listed some sources which you can read and some topics on which you can write something using your newly learnt vocabularies. Read them carefully and follow them promptly.

How to acquire a robust vocabulary?

You may say if there are books which can help us improve our vocabulary in just 30 days then why read other things? Yes, I don't say that they won't help but in just 30 days or so? I doubt. And moreover, creativity and usefulness may not be the concern of those types of books. Therefore, even if you learn some new words you won't be able to remember them forever or use them on your own.

Why is Vocabulary so Important?

Why I emphasized on vocabulary and worked hard to improve it?
  • I wanted to become able to read fluently and quickly, understanding the text fully.
  • I had love towards knowledge and I realised that its key lies there on vocabulary.
  • I love reading novels and stories. To be able to read smoothly good vocabulary is extremely necessary.
  • I had strong desire to be able to pen down my feelings and opinions in the proper and correct way, so that I can share them with others. For example, I want to write down my hilarious experiences and memorable events. Moreover, I have been successful in making this website live because of my vocabulary and language skills.
  • I know that language is important because communication, which is important in every aspect of our life, depends upon the language.

How to avoid irrelevant and unnecessary information?

Why is omitting information necessary?

  • Some sources of information are not reliable, and provide you with outdated or fake data.

  • Some lack quality, thus making reading a waste of time.

  • Reading all the information causes information overload because there are a lot of texts even on a single sub-topic of a broad topic and reading all of them is neither possible nor necessary.

Therefore, determining the quality, relevance and validity of the information source is extremely important to get just the necessary information.

How to research for General Paper essays?

The problem with general paper and a need for a research

General Paper doesn’t have a textbook; neither does it have an elaborate syllabus. The topics given in the syllabus are suggestion only and these are not exactly the content of the syllabus. Perhaps, this is why it is called general paper, and not specific paper! Thus, without specific guidelines and syllabus it’s obvious for you to get frustrated about what to read, how to get the educational materials, how to get better grades in exams, etc. In this article I will try to soothe your frustration by explaining you what and how to research for GP essays to get relevant content, facts and examples.

Which type of questions should I attempt?

Selecting a question to attempt can be a tough task for you because of many alternatives given in the GP exam papers. In General Paper 8004, you'll get 15 questions categorised into 3 sections and you have to choose only two of them, each from a different section. (It is quite similar in General Paper 8001; you get 12 questions to choose only one from the list.) Whichever, the paper you are going for, you should evaluate the given questions on the basis of your knowledge of the subject matter. You need to know what you are good at, at first. Then, you need to evaluate which questions best match your capability and conscience. You should go for those essays which you can write better than any other ones. However, you need some practice to be good at selecting questions, at first point. You will excel more at this with some experience, knowledge and other skills like good interpretation and language skills. Good language skills will help you understand the question better and thus you can be able to figure out which questions to attempt more easily.

What are the probable questions (guesses) for the upcoming exams?

The questions of General Paper are asked in such a way to incorporate as many variations possible. For example, you get questions on all sorts of disciplines such as arts, humanities, anthropology, sociology, science and technology and so on, ranging from historical events to the most recent happenings. Therefore, it is not easy to figure out and provide you with some guessings about which question is probable. However there are some ways you can get helped on this.

Which syllabus is easier for me to enter for this subject?

As far as my concern goes, I myself had chosen 8004 and had felt that this syllabus is quite easy. Similarly, this paper is available in both examination sessions however, 8001 is only available in November session. Considering these benefits and my personal experience I would recommend you to go for it. However, making a good choice depends largely upon various factors including your ability and nature.

I recommend General Paper 8004 for the students who are:

Sources of Information for Research

While doing a research don’t take a very strict approach. Instead make a flexible plan and seek for various alternative sources of information. To draw knowledge from various sources you should know about the benefits of each of them first. For example, internet is a huge source of information but the information found there may not be reliable. On the other hand, books (not eBooks) have information only on a limited topic and all the necessary information may not be included in them; however, they are quite reliable.

How to write a good paragraph?

First thing you need to know about paragraphs is that one paragraph contains one and only one idea. This is the most important concept that you should understand prior to writing any paragraphs. This concept explains us why some paragraphs, we encounter in books and magazines, are very short, with only 1 or 2 sentences, and why some paragraphs are very long consisting of many many sentences. As you will learn below, you can contract a longer paragraph into a shorter one, even confining the whole paragraph within a single statement, and expand a shorter paragraph into a longer one by adding various supporting details to the main idea.

What is General Paper?

In the words of Cambridge:

The AS General Paper is multi-disciplinary, its subject matter drawn from across the curriculum. The syllabus encourages in candidates the ability to make cross-curricular links; to develop a maturity of thought appropriate to students at this level; and to achieve an understanding and usage of the English language which enables them to express arguments, ideas and opinions in a reflective and academic manner.

Reasoning Ability

Reasoning is the skill to give your arguments or opinions in a logical way so as to convince your audience that your opinion is the most appropriate one in the given circumstances. It is also your ability to argue on a given topic and prove it by means of logical ideas and relevant examples.

Below is an interesting example of my reasoning. Read below and infer what reasoning skill is by yourself!

Rational Thinking

Thinking rationally means to think logically or justly, that is, your arguments must be based upon your reasons and logic. Use your intellect and give your arguments such that they are valid in most of the circumstances and that most of the people can agree with them that you are a rational thinker.

The main theme of rational thinking is that your arguments should be supported by sound reasoning or logic in a justifiable and convincing (persuading) manner. Therefore, you should be cautious with the use of language and put your opinions in the least debatable way. Your GP questions are mostly based on controversial subject matters and you have to give your assessment about which side is better along with sound reasoning and justification.

Maturity of Thoughts

Maturity of thought means the ability to take decisions wisely in difficult circumstances. General Paper poses the questions of philosophical nature, probably with two or more options, and asks you to choose the best among the alternatives. It tests your maturity level from your arguments and reasoning skills. Here, I will discuss how you can prove that you are mature in your opinions and views.

Interpretation Skills

Interpretation is the ability to read meaning along with the reading of the text. If you are able to exactly understand what the author conveys then you have good interpretation skills. If not then you need more knowledge about the various rules of punctuations and grammars to understand them better. This article covers these grammatical conventions and the meaning they imply in the text.

Four reasons why you should study GP sincerely

1. Applying to Colleges and Universities

Let's begin with university application.

Immediately after completing A Levels, you need to apply for the Universities and Colleges to pursue your higher studies. What do they demand?

  1. Application Letters

  2. Personal Essay

  3. TOEFL or SAT or Both

All these requirements have one thing in common and that is good and grammatically correct English and sound vocabulary. How? Let me explain:

Guidelines for General Paper Students

Here are some guidelines for you to perform better in General Paper:

1. Visit CIE Website Regularly

Visit the official website of Cambridge University regularly. Download the available resourse materials such as syllabus, past papers, mark schemes and examiner reports from the students section. In the same way, conduct research in the internet on the topics mentioned in the syllabus and read.

Evaluation Skills

As a GP student you are expected to evaluate the different aspects of the topic, such as its pros and cons, merits and demerits, advantages and disadvantages, benefits and losses, and so on in your general paper (GP) essays.

Evaluation means to juxtapose the arguments, weigh them and decide which one is stronger and more credible. For a good evaluation you should allocate weight or the rank the points on the basis of their importance and relevance. Discuss about the most important point in the beginning, a little less significant below it and so on.

Making Cross-curricular Links

General Paper is a multi-disciplinary subject and therefore, it gets its content from the other disciplines. You may be a management student but if you want to appear for General Paper exams then you will have to face questions from faculties like science, arts, humanities, politics, social sciences, history and geography and so on. (To believe me, just peek into the syllabus!) Thus, as a GP student you will have to keep knowledge on wide range of subject matters.

Analysis Ability

Analysis ability is the ability to look into the subject matter from different perspectives (point of view/angles) to achieve a better understanding of the text. It requires you to be imaginative and creative to observe a single object from multiple dimensions. This skill is required to GP students while analysing questions to understand the exact meaning of the question to decide how to approach writing an essay on that question.