Application Question Skills Volume 2

The Application Question
1. It is text-based and weighted at 1/3 or less of the total content marks for Paper 2 (7-10 marks).

2. It tests application of understanding and involves synthesizing information, drawing conclusions, responding to concepts or ideas conveyed, or making decisions.

3. Candidates will apply their response, based on their understanding and interpretation of the text(s) as a whole, to a task derived from the text(s).

Four Assessment Criteria

1. Requirements (do what the examiner wants; answer the question according to the rubric and if the question has a few “parts”, follow accordingly)

2. Explanation (show an understanding of terms and issues, include elaboration and support by giving personal insight and suitable illustration/example)

3. Evaluation (make judgements and decisions or an assessment of the quality of arguments)

4. Coherence (organize your ideas and connect them by use of cohesive devices (e.g. firstly, consequently, on the one hand, however, on the contrary, despite, moreover, in conclusion) and present your answer in a well-organised manner)

Preparation

1. Read the application question carefully and understand its requirements.
a. How many “parts” are there?
b. Does the question specify you to identify and evaluate 1, 2 or 3 points of the argument? Does it specify that you must select at least one argument from each passage?
c. Usually the question requires you to refer to your own society. So please specify your country (Singapore or your own country if you are a foreign student) and cite local examples or evidence to support your analysis.
d. If it is a “Justify your stand” question, go ahead to show why you take a particular stand. Or if the question asks you, “which writer is more convincing?”, apart from explaining why you agree with Writer A, you must also remember not to ignore the other passage or author. Show why the other passage/author does not win your support. Is it because the passage/author is
- Inadequate (does not consider other relevant factors)
- short-sighted (the other author/passage you support is more comprehensive in his views)
- too emotional (or too unemotional)
- one-sided or biased (the other author/passage you support is more balanced)
- more controversial (or too safe in his arguments)
- not relevant to your society (if the question requires you to make evaluation of arguments in the light of your society)




The Template For Students

The template to be used varies from question to question. YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE QUESTION.

1. Question A wants me to
a. pick one passage/writer that is more convincing/suitable/relevant (task 1)
b. make a stand, and say why (task 2)
c. So, I must choose one stand, give the reasons, and explain why I support
one author/passage instead of the other

2. Question B wants me to
a. identify and evaluate two arguments/trends/problems, one from each passage (task 1)
b. and discuss their importance/relevance to your society (task 2)

3. In Question A, I must
a. gather the relevant arguments
b. then categorise them
c. write comments
d. focus on arguments that will support my stand
e. bring “outside” knowledge/examples to strengthen my stand as I defend
the relevant arguments
f. remember to show/include the flaws/good points from the other passage
g. yet offer a counter-argument
h. all in all remember to evaluate the argument, not just repeat material from
the passage.

4. In Question B, I must
a. remember the rubric – identify two relevant arguments, one from each
passage
b. evaluate and comment on the quality of the arguments
c. relate the arguments to my society and assess the importance/relevance
of the arguments in the context of my society

Methods of Answering The Application Question (The method/approach you use depends on the Question that is asked)

A) The 3-step Procedure

1. Writer’s conclusion: The writer believes that _____________________________
2. Writer’s reason: He supports his view by ________________________________
3. Student’s agreement/disagreement
Whether you agree with the writer or you question his assumption: I agree/disagree with him because _____________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________

Whether there are other ways to look at issue: The writer has failed to consider ___________________________________________________________________

Whether the writer has the expertise to comment credibly or any vested interest and whether he operates under suspicious circumstances (in the case of assessing the credibility of passage): I question the writer’s credibility because ________________

Whether the likely consequences are worth the risk of venturing forward: (in the case of handling recommendations): I question whether the possible harmful consequences are worth the risk because __________________________________


B) Evaluating arguments that are relevant to your society

Introduction:
• General statement about the topic
• Summary of view adopted by the author of Passage A
• Summary of view adopted by the author of Passage B
• Your stand – upon evaluating the two views above (depend on the question)

The Singapore Context:
• Specific characteristics/features of Singapore that are relevant to the discussion of topic in question

Body 1:
• Extract one main idea from either passage [or one view out of the many in that single passage]
• Explain briefly: (i) what this idea is about; and (ii) the author’s tone/view of the issue
• Evaluate the point – to see if you agree with it or not and explain why
• Relate the idea to the relevant context (i.e. Singapore) by mentioning (i) how the country in question treats/perceives the issue; and (ii) what the country is doing or can do to alleviate the problem
• State your stand/give a concluding statement that makes your argument relevant to the question

Body 2:
• Repeat steps taken in Body 1 – but this time round, consider a different issue/argument

Conclusion:
• General statement about the issue
• Restate your stand

Model Paragraph

The writer of Passage A mentions that _______________, I strongly agree with his view and clearly what he describes in Passage A is evident in Singapore where Singapore also has _____________. This is in fact a common trend among modern societies like the country mentioned in Passage A and Singapore.

CHECKLIST: The AQ Framework [for every paragraph]

Part 1 Topic sentence
(for relevance) • In Passage A/B, lines (x to xx), (writer’s name) raised the point that/stated that/asserted that …(write the writer’s point you have chosen to discuss in your own words; you can quote “….”).
OR
• According to (writer’s name)/Passage A/B, ……
Part 2 Your view
(to meet the requirements) • In my opinion/My view on this is that/I am inclined to think that … (state whether you agree or disagree with the writer and how far you agree/disagree with the view in Sentence 1).

Part 3 Reasons
(explanation) • This is because…
• One reason for this is …
• My justification for this is that …
• One evident reason/explanation is …
Part 4 Evidence
(explanation) • For example, …
• This can be seen in Singapore when…
• From my observation of Singapore society,…
• From my own experience, I…
• One evidence of this is…
• One evidence I can cite is…
• Like the society which the writer of Passage refers to, Singapore also has…
• Compared to American (or whatever the writer refers to) society, Singapore is also…
You may cite current evidence or past evidence as long as it meets the requirements of the question.
IF the question requires you to discuss the FUTURE, state the current situation and predict from this current situation, what will happen in the future. Use the following:
• Considering the current situation, a future scenario that can be projected is…
• In light of the present situation, a likely consequence/effect/scenario/situation is…
• We can hypothesize that in the future …
• We foresee that …
Part 5 Evaluation
(Opposing View) Do not disagree/agree totally; i.e. Do not take an extreme stand. Agree to some extent with the opposite view. State when the opposing view may be right/wrong.
• On the other hand, …
• However, some people may agree/disagree with the writer/the view mentioned, in that they think..
• Otherwise, a contrasting opinion is that…
• In contrast, it can be said that …
• An alternative opinion is…
Part 6 Consolidate
(Reasons why you adhere to your own view) Explain why despite the alternative or opposing view, you still stick by your original stand. Use expressions like:
• However, I still hold that (repeat original stand) because it holds greater truth/we see more evidence of it today/it is a more likely scenario considering the current situation/…
• Despite this, I still think that (repeat original stand) as …
• I maintain my opinion that (repeat original stand) …
APPLICATION QUESTION
Suggested Answer to Common Assessment 2
[Source: Millennia Institute, Prelim Exam 2005]

Q.11 Which author’s perspective are you more inclined toward? Explain the reasons for your choice. With reference to your country, do you think technology has improved the quality of life in general? [8]

Suggested Answer 1: I am more inclined toward the author of Passage 1.

Focus/topic sentence



Explain with evidence from your society




Cite a local example
Offer a balanced view




Focus sentence




Explain with evidence by citing examples





With reference to your society




Focus sentence

Comment on writer’s view









Explain with reference to your society





Consolidate (to achieve coherence) The author of Passage 1 mentions that “as technology advances, we have less security and less freedom in our daily lives” (line 1), I strongly agree with his view and clearly what he describes in Passage 1 is evident in Singapore where the internet and other forms of information technology have compromised our privacy and security. Leakage of credit card information through internet transactions is a common trend among modern societies like Singapore which has one of the highest rates of online transactions. However, we must acknowledge that technology cuts both ways; it also gives us more freedom to choose our working hours and where we want to work.

The author of Passage 1 also argues that technology has forced us to “work harder and to adopt newer ways for survival” (line 8). My view on this is that we are now more enslaved to our work because technology has made us more accessible. For instance, we can be contacted for work or business matters through the handphone and email 24/7. In other words, our previously private times are breached by the handphone, email and other modern means of communications. However, technology has undeniably made some work processes more efficient and convenient. In the case of Singapore, there is no doubt that technology has been a useful tool to make our society tick.

I am more inclined toward the perspective of the author of Passage 1 as he does not rave about the wonders of technology, Instead, he adopts a more cautionary stance, pointing out the flip side of technology. He notes that “the more advanced into the realm of technology we go, the less connected we are to nature in our immediate space and waking consciousness.

I am less inclined toward the perspective of the author of Passage 2. I think that Matt Ridley is far too optimistic about the wonders of technology, and as he puts it, “we’ve never had it so good – and it’s all thanks to science” (title of extract). True, technology can reduce human suffering, e.g. in the area of genetic screening. In the case of Singapore, our thrust into therapeutic cloning is aimed at addressing the issue of the lack of organ donors. However, the ethical issues behind such research have created division in society.

To conclude, I am more inclined towards the perspective of the author of Passage 1 as I think he rightly alerts us to the notion of ‘techno-enslavement’. Having said this, I must also acknowledge the fact that technology has definitely brought many benefits and in the context of Singapore, technology has improved the quality of life in general. Technology does have the capability to empower us in many areas.

Your view















Your view













Your view
Your evaluation of the writer’s point of the argument




Your view on the other writer’s argument










Your conclusion









Suggested Answer 2: I am more inclined toward the author of Passage 2.

Focus sentence






Explain with reference to your society




Focus sentence




Explain with examples



Refer to your society


Focus sentence



Explain with reference to your society




Focus sentence


Your counter-argument







Explain with reference to your society











Consolidate (to achieve coherence)


In Passage 2, scientific knowledge “liberates us to make more choices” (line 28), the author asserts that more knowledge brings more free will. I am inclined to think likewise. Where previously illnesses could only be addressed through limited methods, new scientific knowledge has given patients more choices in combating illnesses. In Singapore, people are not limited to seeking western medical treatment but have widened their choices to seeking Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic treatment.

According to the author of Passage 2, “the world has got steadily better for most people” (line 39), and “it’s all thanks to science” (title). In the context of Singapore, people here live longer and healthily due to better medical health care and nutrition. For instance, pre-diabetic patients can now minimize the incidence of diabetes through lifestyle changes recommended by doctors. Singapore has one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.

I also agree with the author of Passage 2 that breakthroughs in medical research can help us to change previously pessimistic attitudes towards illnesses into more hopeful ones. For instance, he mentions remedial education for dyslexia and autism. In Singapore, our education system has grown to cater more to students with special needs due to new information from medical breakthroughs.

I am less inclined toward the perspective of the author of Passage 1. He draws the conclusion that “we are therefore enslaved as technology develops and proliferates” and “we are sealed into a techno-box.” (lines 14-16) Though I can’t deny the flip side of technology, I think his view is far too extreme. I strongly believe that with human ingenuity, we can minimize, if not avert, the negative aspects of technology. We need not be enslaved by technology. Instead, we can use technology to empower us. There is no doubt that technology has improved the quality of life in general. In Singapore, the notion of ‘the technical fix” is widely applied in many aspects of our lives to enhance the quality of life. For instance, technology has undeniably made some work processes more efficient and convenient. Technology also gives us more freedom to choose our working hours and where we want to work. It definitely frees up more time for leisure. The problem does not lie with technology but rather with our mindset, are we mentally prepared to opt for a leisurely lifestyle that technology can now accord us?

To conclude, though I am aware of the flip side of technology, I still hold that the author of Passage 2 gives a more convincing perspective and indeed, the “future has consistently proved” good, and “it’s all thanks to science.”


Your view











Your evaluation








Your view









Your view on the other author




Your view





Your evaluation












Your conclusion




Possible Answer 3: I am inclined to the perspectives of both authors.
You may explain your reasons why you are inclined to the perspectives of the two authors. Remember also to comment on how technology has improved the quality of life in general for Singaporeans. A reasonable conclusion to draw is that technology is a double-edged sword – it cuts both ways. Technology brings benefits and problems; while acknowledging the benefits of technology by paying tribute to science, we must also guard ourselves from being enslaved by science and technology.

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