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the intellectually disciplined process of actively and
skilfully conceptualizing, applying, analysing,
synthesising, and/or evaluating information gathered
from or generated by observation, experience,
reflection, reasoning or communication, as a guide to
belief and action.
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Bk burning after exams and its justifications
Ashley Madison website to be banned and its
justifications
Vegetarian ad on dog and calf
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‘A’ level AQ qns and Requirements
 An Approach to an AQ
-Analysis of keywords
-Possible Stands and Introduction
-Selection of Relevant Arguments
-Explanation
-Evaluation
-Evidence
-Link
-Conclusion

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Single Passage
 In this article, Michael Gordon writes about some of
the roles and functions music plays in modern life. To
what extent do you agree or disagree with his views?
Illustrate your answer by referring to the ways in
which you and your society regard music. (2012)
 In this article, O’Sullivan describes some current
issues around the subject of food. How applicable do
you find her observations to yourself and your own
society? (2010)
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Double Passage
 With which of the two authors are you most in
sympathy? Explain the reasons for your choice. How
relevant are the views raised by both authors to
Singapore society? (2003)
 A thinks that an understanding of history is essential,
whereas B thinks that history has no value. How
important is an understanding of history for you and
your society, and how far has your views been
challenged or confirmed by these two passages.
(2008)
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1.
2.

Requirements (R)*
 Addresses all parts of the question
 Provides a balanced treatment by
examining ideas/issues from different
viewpoints
Explanation (Ex)
Explains and elaborates on the ideas that
are selected from the passage & own
arguments
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3.
Evaluation (Ev)
 Provides very convincing judgments/
conclusions about the ideas
 Supports with personal
insights/examples
4.
Coherence (C)
 Good paragraphing/organisation
 Arguments make sense and flow well
 Appropriate Linking Devices used
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Many produced vigorous, articulate and well
structured responses.
Many produced lively and well-structured responses,
with an attention-grabbing introduction.
Strong answers featured a variety of discourse
markers to delineate and connect paragraphs, and a
succinct conclusion.
Weaker scripts, on the other hand, failed to include
one or more of these.
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BAND 1. REQUIREMENTS: Systematic reference to the requirements of the question,
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with evidence of a balanced treatment.
2. EXPLANATION: shows a good or very good understanding of the terms and
issues raised by the passage.
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3. EVALUATION: makes very convincing evaluation by making judgements, and by
developing arguments to logical conclusion; includes elaboration and support
through personal insight and experience, with apt illustration.
4. COHERENCE: very clear shape and paragraph organisation; cogent argument.
BAND 1. REQUIREMENTS: an incomplete and/or unbalanced treatment of the
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requirements.
1-3
2. EXPLANATION: shows very limited degree of understanding and a
higher incidence of misinterpretation.
3. EVALUATION: tends to be a mere summary or restatement of the text with a
few simple and undeveloped judgements, with very thin illustration.
4. COHERENCE: paragraphing and organisation are haphazard; arguments
inconsistent or illogical.
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Introduction with stand
1 para

1st relevant arg
Brief Explanation
Evaluation +/ Application
1 para
2nd relevant arg
Brief Explanation
Evaluation +/ Application
1 para
1 para
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3rd relevant arg
Brief Explanation
Evaluation +/ Application
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Conclusion
1 para
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‘A’ level AQ qns and Requirements
 An Approach to an AQ
-Analysis of keywords
-Possible Stands and Introduction
-Selection of Relevant Arguments
-Explanation
-Evaluation
-Evidence
-Link
-Conclusion

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The passage examines our preoccupation with
busyness and suggests the need to indulge in
idleness to maintain an ideal life.
To what extent do you agree with the writer’s
views? Support your answer with observations
and examples drawn from your society.
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To what extent do you agree with the writer’s views?
Support your answer with observations and examples
drawn from your society.
R1 :Stand indicating where you would slant towards in
introduction
R2 :Select arguments from writer[at least 3 but
depends on qn]
R3 :Your reasons for largely agreeing or largely
disagreeing with the selected arguments based on
what you know of your society
R4 :Your supporting examples/evidence
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To what extent do you agree or disagree with his views?
 While his views are largely valid, some are not sound.
 While his views are largely valid, some are without
adequate justifications/ basis.
 Most of his arguments seem plausible/ convincing on the
surface but upon deeper analysis, they reveal some flaws.
 Many of his views on …are rather optimistic and need to
be carefully examined.
 I largely disagree with his views as they are very optimistic
and some views lack proper justifications especially when
applied to my society, Singapore.
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Many candidates are now providing an
introductory paragraph featuring a succinct
overview of the passage and sketching out the
issues which will be addressed in the main
body of the answer.
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 Briefly
discuss the main ideas of writer/s
 Balanced stand indicating extent of
agreement with specific ideas [optional]
 Reasons: Salient Similarities/ Differences
between context and your society,
resulting in different outcomes
 Reiteration of Stand
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In this passage, Tim Kreider illustrates how the
preoccupation with work has become more and
more prevalent in today’s society. He suggests
that there should be a balance between work
and idleness to maintain an ideal life.
His views might hold true in an American
society, but not necessarily in Singapore,
where competition has driven this small
country with minimal physical resources to
work tirelessly to rise to be a strong economic
power in her region.
As such, Kreider is applicable only to a certain
extent in such a globally competitive nation like
Singapore.
Main
Idea
Balanced
Stand
Reasons
Restate
Stand
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‘A’ level AQ qns and Requirements
 An Approach to an AQ
-Analysis of keywords
-Possible Stands and Introduction
-Selection of Relevant Arguments
-Explanation
-Evaluation
-Evidence
-Link
-Conclusion

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VERY IMPORTANT
 Points can usually be found from the summary
 Select the arguments that answer the
question
 One argument per paragraph!
Do not select specific examples!
Selection and reference to writer’s arguments
According to (writer’s surname) in Passage A/B…
Or
The writer (surname) argues in lines x to x that …
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Possible Arguments
Tick + Reasons
The writer describes how there is a XIt is just a description without an argument;
trend of people rushing around and more as a lead in to introduce topic
lamenting about their busyness.
[Para. 1]
Busyness is self-imposed / by
choice due to ambition and anxiety
(lines 7-9)
√There is a claim and reasons indicated by
‘due to’; a major argument supporting
idleness; applicable to Singapore as this is a
major trend
if your job was not performed by a X??? Difficult to understand /culture specific?
cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard
Scarry book I am not sure I believe
it is necessary. (lines 33-34)
Even children busy due to parental
pressure (lines 19-20)
√There is a claim and reasons indicated by
‘due to’; applicable to Singapore as this major
trend
to grant an income to all without
demanding for work (lines 54-55)
X not the writer’s argument although he did
imply agreement by projecting into the future &
recognising its possible viability later in that
paragraph
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Read other parts of the passage/answers to the
short questions for a complete understanding of the
issue
 Clearly & fully convey the author’s argument
 E.g. “By this, the writer means/implies/suggests
that…”
 Explain briefly what this argument is about
 Include the author’s attitude (if detectable)
Not a mere quote!
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‘A’ level AQ qns and Requirements
 An Approach to an AQ
-Analysis of keywords
-Possible Stands and Introduction
-Selection of Relevant Arguments
-Explanation
-Evaluation
-Evidence
-Link
-Conclusion

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Questions for clarification
Questions that probe assumptions
Questions that probe reasons and
evidence
Questions about Viewpoints and
Perspectives
Questions that probe implications and
consequences
• What does the concept, e.g. idleness, mean?
• What else does the writer include in the
definitions?
• What examples did he give? What are the
non-examples that he or I can think up?
• What could we assume instead?
• How can you verify or disprove that
assumption?
• What do you think has caused this to happen?
• What would be an example?
• What would be an alternative?
• What is another way to look at it?
• Would you explain why it is necessary or
beneficial, and who benefits?
• Why is it the best?
• What are the strengths and weaknesses?
• What is a counterargument for this idea?
• What generalisations can you make?
• What are the consequences of that
assumption?
• What is the author implying?
• How does...affect...?
• How does...tie in with what we learned
before?
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Busyness is self-imposed due to aspirations
‘It’s almost always people whose lamented
busyness is purely self-imposed…because of their
own ambition or drive’ (lines 7-10).
Explanation
According to the writer in lines 7-9, people
choose to be busy due to their aspiration to do
well in life.
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Busyness is self-imposed due to ambition
 How does being busy help people in my society to fulfil
their ambitions?
 Are there examples from my society to prove the
above?
 Why do people in my society choose to be busy?/
Is it really because of ambition?
 What are the PESC [political/economic/social/cultural]
conditions that are similar to the passage’s context or
that differ?
 Is there evidence to prove that there are other reasons
than ambition to account for our busyness?
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[Explanation + Evaluation + evidence + link]
According to the writer in lines 7-9, people choose to be busy due to their
aspiration to do well in life. I largely agree with Kreider in this respect because
ambition is linked to success and economic survival. Most people would pile on
the amount of work and hours put in so that they can gain more rewards and
promotion at work. This is also applicable to my society. In Singapore’s successdriven and competitive society, where people continually ratchet up
expectations for occupational and professional success, we worship the mantra
of “work hard, play hard.” Very often, work is self-imposed and we willingly do
more to stand out from the crowd (or maybe even to keep ourselves from
falling behind). Moreover, the meritocratic system in Singapore has instilled in
us a belief that a person has to work hard to earn his reward. Someone who is
idle and not working is thus seen as not contributing to an organisation. This
prevalent mindset encourages people to impose busyness on themselves in
order to appear useful to their bosses. A report from the Boston Consulting
Group in 2012 found that more than one in every six Singapore households
have disposable private wealth of over US$1 million. This is the Singapore
version of the American dream which drives most Singaporeans to work hard.
Therefore, as with the people in the writer’s society, Singaporeans are
themselves responsible for their hectic life.
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EX: What is the writer saying or
arguing about?
According to the writer in lines 7-9,
people choose to be busy due to their
aspiration to do well in life.
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I largely agree with Kreider in this respect
because ambition is linked to success and
economic survival. Most people would
pile on the amount of work and hours put
in so that they can gain more rewards and
promotion at work. This is also applicable
to my society. In Singapore’s successdriven and competitive society, where
people continually ratchet up
expectations for occupational and
professional success, we worship the
mantra of “work hard, play hard.” Very
often, work is self-imposed and we
willingly do more to stand out from the
crowd (or maybe even to keep ourselves
from falling behind).
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What is my opinion?
EV: Reasons
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How?
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EV: Why? Economic
& Soc.
EV: How?
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Moreover, the meritocratic
system in Singapore has
instilled in us a belief that a
person has to work hard to
earn his reward. Someone
who is idle and not working
is thus seen as not
contributing to an
organisation. This prevalent
mindset encourages people
to impose busyness on
themselves in order to
appear useful to their
bosses.
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Signpost : ‘Moreover’
EV: Why? Social
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EV: How?
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EV: How?
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Result= busyness
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A report from the Boston
Consulting Group in
2012, found that more
than one in every six
Singapore households
have disposable private
wealth of over US$1
million. This is the
Singapore version of the
American dream which
drives most
Singaporeans to work
hard.
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Statistics
EV: Point of evidence
EV: Why busy?
Economic/Materialism
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Therefore, as with
the people in the
writer’s
society,
Singaporeans are
themselves
responsible
for
their hectic life.
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Signpost: ‘therefore’
Link back to topic
sentence
Responsible = selfimposed busyness
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However, though many in my society choose to be busy to
fulfil their ambitions, others may not be busy out of choice.
The author fails to consider the demands of surviving in my
society today. Given the greater competition for jobs from
foreign talents and workers, people’s financial situations
require them to maintain multiple jobs and work long
hours. Employees are easily replaceable if they are
unwilling to meet their bosses’ requests and expectations.
Also, the rising cost of living and the nation’s limited safety
net force people to meet their financial needs without
significant state-support. This is seen in the cost of living in
Singapore which has increased dramatically. From 2001 to
2012, Singapore skyrocketed from the 97th to the 9th most
expensive city in the world. Hence although people in our
society are busy, sometimes it is not by choice but by
circumstance.
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[Evaluation + evidence + link]
However, though many in my society
choose to be busy to fulfil their
ambitions, others may not be busy
out of choice. The author fails to
consider the demands of surviving in
my society today. Given the greater
competition for jobs from foreign
talents and workers, people’s financial
situations require them to maintain
multiple jobs and work long hours.
Employees are easily replaceable if
they are unwilling to meet their
bosses’ requests and expectations.
Also, the rising cost of living and the
nation’s limited safety net force
people to meet their financial needs
without significant state-support.
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Signpost : However
EV: Balance ‘Many’ with
‘others’/ What is my opinion?
EV: Why? Economic/global
trends
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EV: How?
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EV: Why? Economic & Social
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EV: How?
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The cost of living in
Singapore has increased
dramatically. From 2001
to 2012, Singapore
skyrocketed from the
97th to the 9th most
expensive city in the
world.
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Statistic to support
point
about cost of living
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Hence although
people in our
society are busy,
sometimes it is not
by choice but by
circumstance.
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Links back to topic
sentence
Not self-imposed for
the others who are not
so lucky
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1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
SELECTED ARGUMENT FROM WRITER
IN OWN WORDS
EXPLANATION
EVALUATION
EVIDENCE
LINK BACK TO YOUR ARG. & STAND
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Many references were made to various key factors
that shaped or determined the fast-paced lifestyles
of Singaporeans, citing among these; the absence of
natural resources, a meritocratic system that
supported competition for tangible rewards, a
welfare-less state and rise of materialistic
tendencies as reflected in the Singapore dream
associated with the 5Cs - cash, credit cards, cars,
condominiums, and country club memberships.
Such an analysis of aspects of Singaporean society
is exactly what the application question requires.
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Fairly trivial and limited examples were drawn from
society by referring to only the lives of students,
instead of examining other groups in society.
Example:
 Yes, Singapore society is also very hectic. Students
like me are so busy that we do not even have time to
eat or to sleep. I attend school from 7.30am till
6.30pm and still have to participate in CCA. By the
time I reach home, it is already 11pm….
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‘A’ level AQ qns and Requirements
 An Approach to an AQ
-Analysis of keywords
-Possible Stands and Introduction
-Selection of Relevant Arguments
-Explanation
-Evaluation
-Evidence
-Link
-Conclusion

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A number of candidates presented a simplistic or
one-lined conclusion. The attempt to adopt such an
abrupt way of ending missed out on portraying an
overall picture about the implications of their stand
on their society or the world.
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All in all, a balance must be struck between diligence and
idleness. An excessive amount of either will yield harmful
results to individuals and the society as a whole. Hence, we
have to evaluate thoroughly the pros and cons of each to
arrive at a sensible decision.
Or
In conclusion, not all the views of the author apply to
Singapore as Singapore is different from America in many
aspects. His views are relevant somewhere else, but not
here in Singapore. Singaporeans can thus learn from his
views, but should not blindly adopt them as we are a
nation that aims to be perpetually competitive in the global
community. Indeed we have no choice but to be so.
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Select arguments that you have something to elaborate on.
Rephrase the arguments in your own words and signal where they
are taken from.
Pose questions to the claims/ reasons used by the author to
stimulate ideas and to assess the writer’s arguments.
Justify and explain your opinions.
Give qualified rather than extreme statements.
Think about the strengths and weaknesses of the claims made by
the writer to present a fair assessment.
Point out the limitations where possible to show some areas for
alternative consideration.
Use specific examples and show how they support your point. Do
not refer to examples that are specific to certain individuals and
cannot be generalised.
If you are asked to talk about your personal experience, do so
without becoming trivial and make it refreshingly convincing.
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Check that you have explicitly referred to your country for
arguments and examples.
Make sure you have included PESC factors in your answer.
 How does my society normally react to such situations,
ideas and suggestions?
 What else in my society can validate/challenge the writer’s
argument?
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I think
therefore I am
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