You are on page 1of 7

. What are Structured Essay Questions (SEQs)?

These questions are based on the History/Social Studies content that you have
learnt. Unlike Source-based Questions (SBQs), there are no sources o inor!ation
or reerence and every e"a!#le you $ive to su##ort your ans%er is #ulled ro! your
!e!ory bank&your brain'
By the %ay, History (lective/Social Studies is !ostly about the CAUSES AND
IMPACTS o decisions !ade "y #eaders or $o%ern!ents around the &or#d' "oth
(ast and (resent. ) you re!e!ber that, you %ill be able !ake sense o all the
inor!ation in your syllabus.
S(Qs are !arked based on *+,-s (*evels o ,es#onse -arkin$ Sche!e), %hich
a%ard hi$h !arks to students %ho sho% that they can e)(#ain and not .ust describe,
as %ell as students %ho can !ake reasoned *ud$e!ents.
+. What do !ost students do' and &i## ,-U do dierent#y?
-ost students ret over the SBQs as they are dee!ed harder. So they end u#
s#endin$ lots o ti!e tryin$ to #erect the! %hile ne$lectin$ the S(Qs. Their S(Qs
suer since they are /%orth e%er !arks than SBQ0.
1onsider this. 2hat i, or that #articular year0s + *evels e"a!, the sources $iven are
e"tre!ely diicult to analy3e4 The result is that they obtain very lo% !arks overall.
This %ould #ull do%n their *5,6 or *5,7B7 or 81/9oly entry.
-y students, you included, take a dierent a##roach. They allocate !ore #re-e"a!
ti!e to #racticin$ S(Qs as they are !ore #redictable. They $et al!ost ull !arks in
Section B. The result&!ost o the! score distinctions in History (lective.
.. Why ocus !ore on SEQs?
:s !entioned above, they are %ay !ore #redictable than SBQs.
*et !e tell you a secret. There are really only so !any %ays your teacher can ask an
S(Q on, say, ;a3i <er!any. ) bore !ysel silly %hen settin$ S(Qs, des#ite tryin$ to
be creative %ith !y S(Q #hrasin$ throu$h the years.
=or you, borin$ is <++>' ?ou can antici#ate the questions teachers !i$ht ask and
#ractice %ritin$ your ans%ers, reerrin$ to your te"tbook/notes or e"a!#les to use.
By the ti!e e"a!s roll around, it %ouldn0t be the irst ti!e you0re %ritin$ that essay
and you0d have corrected your !istakes durin$ your #ractices.
1ontrast %ith SBQs&no %ay or us to #redict the sources that %ill a##ear in the
e"a!. :lthou$h there are $uidelines or you to ollo% (%hich ) %ill share in later
lessons), every SBQ ans%er is dierent as each source is unique.
*et0s do so!e !ath to see ho% !uch easier your lie %ill be i you score or the
S(Qs, usin$ a hy#othetical History (lective e"a! scenario.
/. 0y(othetica# 0istory E#ecti%e E)a! Scenario
*i! :h -eo%, a Sec @ student, is a Science and -ath %hi3. Ho%ever, he stru$$les
at (n$lish *an$ua$e and the Hu!anities. :nythin$ that requires hi! to read or %rite
!ore than 6 sentences daunts hi!. -onths beore the + *evels, his History teacher
!akes hi! take 7A to BA !inutes a %eek to do one S(Q, !arks the! all, and
ensures he sub!its his corrections.
>-day a##roaches. )n the + *evel History (lective ("a!, this is %hat the #a#er looks
:h -eo%0s scores look like this or Section :C
5(a) @ / 6 !arks
5(b) @/ 6 !arks
5(c) B / D !arks E:h -eo%C I had a weak cross-reference.]
5(d) 7 / D !arks E:h -eo%C The source was so hard to understand that I forgot to
do cross-reference.]
5(e) @ / F !arks E:h -eo%C I kind of ran out of time here]
Section A score 1 234.5
;o% or Section BC
He !ana$es to $et the ull F !arks or 7(a), since he .ust needs to e"#lain 7 actors.
=or 7(b), he scores *B/5A !arks out o 57 !arks. :lthou$h he didn0t !ana$e to
clinch the hi$hest level !arks, he ans%ered the question, and adequately e"#lained
B actors.
Section 6 score 1 274+5
T-TA8 SC-9E 1 .:4:5
:lthou$h he didn0t !ana$e to score hi$h level !arks or 5(c) to 5(e), that0s still ok.
He had his antastic S(Q score to brin$ hi! to an :7 or his History (lective ("a!'
So, you see, i you do!inate in S(Qs, you are a lot #ess stressed about the
un#redictable SBQs. Sounds $ood4
P#ease note that &e ne%er de#i"erate#y &rite "ad S6Q ans&ers. 2e still #ractice
SBQs and learn to %rite $ood ans%ers, but the dierence is that you0re no% under
#ess (ressure' and that actually #uts you in a better #lace to understand the
:. SEQ ;or!at or 0E and SS' and ho& !uch ti!e to a##ocate.
)n History (lective, ("#lanation S(Qs are %orth F !arks. They a##ear as the #art
(a) o the S(Q. ?ou need to e"#lain 7 actors related to the issue. ()
you0re kiasu, you could e"#lain !a"i!u! B actors&only i there are no /$iven0
actors !entioned in the question). 9art (b) is a 8ud$e!ent S(Q %orth 57 !arks, but
%e %on0t $o into that here yet.
:n e"-student %as ro! a nei$hbourhood school and doin$ badly in his (n$lish. He
%ent on to score an :5 in the /+0s. *ater, he barely scra#ed throu$h his <9 in the
#ro!os and ca!e to !e or hel#, and then %ent on to $et a distinction or <9.
=or Social Studies, you need to e"#lain 5 actor/i!#act or #art (a) to $et 6 !arks,
and 7 other actors/i!#acts or #art (b) to $et 5A !arks. This !akes B actors or the
entire 56-!ark question.
)n the e"a! allocate !a" +5 !inutes to %rite an ("#lanation S(Q ans%er as you
need to leave enou$h ti!e or other questions.
)n #re-e"a! #ractices, $ive yoursel /5</: !inutes or each essay, because you
need to do an essay #lan.
In the next part, we shall learn how to formulate such a plan using the 3-Step
process and the PEEL framework.
To continue to #art 7, visit 0E9E.
A"out The Author
Haren <oh s#ent her early student lie at >un!an Hi$h School and H%a 1hon$
8unior 1olle$e. *ike !any o the students she has tau$ht, she %as a 9ure Science
student in secondary school. : love or readin$ and history led her to the :rts strea!
in H%a 1hon$ 81, and to !a.or in (n$lish *an$ua$e and 9olitical Science in ;US.
She also has a 9ost- <raduate >i#lo!a in (ducation ro! ;)(.
She %as %ith -+( ro! 8anuary 7AA6 to >ece!ber 7A57, teachin$ secondary
school students o all abilities History and Social Studies. -a.ority o her $raduatin$
students scored distinctions.
She started *earn!o.o as a %ay or to share all that she kno%s about scorin$ in
History and Social Studies, $leaned ro! her years o teachin$ e"#erience. She
believes that the >o )t ?oursel (>)?) !ethod should be a irst resort beore #arents
rush out to hire tutors.
The >)? !ethod I students doin$ consistent #ractices and $ettin$ eedback ro!
their school teacher.
She shares ree advice and ti#s to #arents and students on her e!ail list, so ho# on
over to &&&.#earn!o*! to si$n u#.
=or students %ho ind it a challen$e to ado#t the >)? !ethod, she does oer #aid
online coachin$ in *o%er Secondary History and U##er Secondary History (lective
and Social Studies. These students need so!eone other than their school teacher
to na$ ca.ole the! into doin$ consistent #ractices and $ive detailed eedback on
their %ork, but are do not have the ti!e to si$n u# or yet another tuition class.
+nline coachin$ is a le"ible %ay or the! to $et the advice and in#ut they need to
i!#rove their $rades.
=eel ree to e!ail =aren>#earn!o*! i you have a burnin$ question about
History and Social Studies.
,-U MA, WIS0 T- 9EAD?
@uide to &ritin$ discursi%e co!(ositions (Secondary 8e%e#)
- See !ore atC htt#C//!ainoe"!/7A5@/AF/learnin$-!o.os-$uide-to-u##er-!lJsthash.k9K.Q3*L.d#u