Essay question types - All-in-one

Question types - Extent, Absolute Propositions , Comparative

To what extent is education a social leveller in society?

- Evaluate the success of education in reducing inequality.

- Acknowledge limitations to show extent.

- Point out how in some instances education in fact widens the social gap.

- But DO NOT LIST OUT OTHER SOCIAL LEVELLERS. IF YOU DO, always compare it with education!


Extent/ How far

To what extent is design important in your society?


"Only educated people should have the right to vote in elections". What is your view?

Should having children be considered a purely personal lifestyle choice?

Measuring extent
(Using Question 1 as an example)

- Draw/Show/Define the limit/Set conditions
Religion and politics should be kept separate in multi-racial countries
-Final decision must be based on collective opinions and evaluation of what is the best interest of the majority.

Acknowledge rights of religious groups
Acknowledge possible benefits of involving opinions and evaluation of what is the best interest of the majority.


Acknowledge rights of religious groups
Acknowledge possible benefits of involving religion in political decisions - eg. moral values
highlight the dangers of mixing politics with religion - potency in stirring emotions
Show how the dangers outweigh benefits.


Acknowledge possible dangers - show conditions/context where danger could be greater
Show how in most situations, dangers are minimal/can be contained
Show the benefits of involvement of religion in politics, and the conditions under which this is so.

-Absolute proposition
Reject absolute proposition
Acknowledge the relevance/significance of the factor
Point out the limitations/dangers of having/allowing only one factor
bring in other factors and examine their significance/necessity

In terms of

consequence: pragmatic and ethical, long term/short term

Who are involved?

Eg. What will the decision to leave child bearing entirely to the individual mean for the country?

Extent/ How far

how far should religion influence political decisions?
To what extent is design important in your society?

Most/more than/more/less

The computer has done more harm than good to society. How far do you agree?
"A picture is always more powerful than mere words." What is your view?
Pets need us more than we need them." What do you think?

"education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world"


Acknowledge the power of education
Show the limits of education
Show how education cannot be effective without the presence of the other instruments
OR show that what education can do can ALSO be done or even better by any other instrument.

What are the others?
(Money/ Religion morals)

Most/More than/More/Less


Compare with at least 2 others
Evaluate to show why this and NOT others
Show more good or less bad

More than ( could be between 2 factors or 2 time periods)
Weigh one against the other
Show outcome/consequences more severe OR
show benefits FAR outweigh the consequences
Compare to the past to show increase. if you agree, that it is more than, show decrease if you are arguing " less than"

It is POSSIBLE to have extent/conditional elements even in comparative question, eg" more than in some aspects/ for certain people, and less than for others.

However, some might believe that the availability of money is the most powerful weapon.

reason: Money can change the world, feed the hungry, save the poor and lack of money can devastate the world.

Example: In 2008, the World bank contributed an estimated amount of $500 billion towards the United nations Eight millennium goals.

Elaboration: These goals include halving poverty, fighting hunger and disease and delivering basic services to the poor by the year 2015 thus showing how powerful a change money can make.

however: Money without the proper knowledge or skills in its management can lead to the collapse of world economies plunging the already poor nations into even greater poverty.

Example: The current economic crisis was brought about by a mismanagement of investments.

Concluding statements: which shows that money, without education is relatively useless in the long run.

"education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."


- Show that what education can do (long term impact; widespread influence) is more than any other instrument.

Show how education is the basis which other factors are built and without the other factors cannot exist or cannot be effective.

Show that while there are limits to education, what education cannot do is also beyond the ability of any other instrument.

The computer has done more harm to society than good.

Show that DESPITE the good the computer has brought, the harm done is greater.

Show in terms of consequences to society:

- irreparable damage - physical, psychological, etc
- irreplaceable loss/sacrifice

- Despite allowing greater connectivity, computers have resulted in an increase in anti social behaviour. people spend more time with their computer terminals than actual face-to-face interactions with others. Such anti-social behaviour among individuals may lead to an increasingly fragmented society.

Despite the connectivity that modern technology has given us, people are more isolated than they have ever been.

Show what changed to cause INCREASE

Compare (past to present ( situations)

Improves communications and increases social networking by increasing accessibility, speed and volume. friendships are forged not just with people in your own community and country, but with people worldwide. however, not just everyone has equal access to technology. What becomes the case then is when the have-nots are isolated from society while those who have the means to enjoy the connectivity offered by modern technology. Quality of relationships are also increasingly sacrificed as communication is less meaningful on technology-mediated interfaces. People may also engage in anti-social behaviour as they remain plugged in to the rest of the virtual world but disrupt face to face meetings ( eg. SMSing at meals, meetings, lectures and religious gatherings)

Connection to the past. Without the presence of modern technology, there would be fewer of such incidences.

Possible/ Can be done

Looks at how something can be done based on

Willingness and desire to do something
based on what can be seen currently and then extrapolate
Limitations present in current context and how serious the limitations are

Examine for whom is this possible ( always contextualise)

**use of the word "can" in this concept is different from " can ever be justified"

**Possible = realistic Goal ( c.f. with "realistic"