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AS and A Level: United Kingdom
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How to become a successful politics student
- 1 Enjoy the subject – Politics is all around you so make sure you watch the news, read newspapers and look online at what is happening in the world. Sign up for updates from news organisations.
- 2 Read around the subject – There are lots of political books that will help you to gain a wider perspective of the subject, these range from autobiographies of past Prime Ministers to how varying British parties have developed.
- 3 Watch TV – There are lots of politics programmes which will help up to understand how politics works in reality and help to gain your own examples.
- 4 Make sure you know enough for the exam – Remember you will always need to know and be able to understand more than the limitations of any specification.
- 5 Use political vocabulary correctly – Try explaining new words and concepts to friends and family so that you get used to the using the new language.
Five things to remember when answering essay style questions
- 1 Make sure you focus on the question being asked. It is tempting to include everything you know in an answer but the test is what you select in relation to the question.
Ensure you understand what is meant by the ‘command word’ – Every question contains a specific command such as ‘Distinguish between...’, ‘To what extent...?’, ‘How effectively...?’, ‘Discuss’.
Learn what is expected for each command word.
- 3 Make sure you have planned your answer so that you have a clear structure. You need to define three or four areas to be dealt with systematically. Remember that each point or area or discussion should be easy to identify.
- 4 Provide relevant evidence to illustrate points being made – Students often struggle to get the right balance between theory and evidence, either making their answers over theoretical or just writing one example after another. You must remember to use the evidence to support claims you making.
- 5 Make sure you have explored different viewpoints, theories and concepts as this will help to make sure that your answer is balanced. Do not allow your answer to be subjective.
- Marked by Teachers essays 27
- Peer Reviewed essays 1
The reason for this being undemocratic is because in a true democracy all minorities should be given an equal voice. Another effect of the FPTP is that it can lead to un-proportional seats in the House of commons, this is shown where the liberal democrats won 23% of votes but only awarded with 9% of the seats. Another major reason to suggest a democratic deficit could be because that there has been a fall in political participation.
- Word count: 923
The doctrine of the mandate, by contrast, suggests that MPs serve their constituents by 'toeing a party line'. This can also affect debates such as adjournment debates. They allow for back benchers to examine and discuss government policy. This therefore reduces government power as it requires government to justify and examine its own actions. 'No confidence' debates can also bring down a government eg in 1979 when this was proved. However, the power of legislative debates is subject to a 'guillotine'. The vote in debates is also usually a foregone conclusion based upon party strengths and lobby fodder.
- Word count: 984
Even though this aspect of Britain's governmental system is undemocratic, parliament generally prevents government from taking too much power. Another way in which the UK is undemocratic is fairly similar to the reason above. As we do not have a written constitution, many of our rules are not entrenched. An example of this is the Human Rights act. Therefore, the government are free to alter these when they please which is undemocratic as, again, they government have too much power that could be abused.
- Word count: 940
The first is that the Prime Minister chairs cabinet meetings, and manages the agendas, as well as summing up the decisions at the end. This means that the PM has a great deal of control over the meetings, and can direct them in a course that suits what the PM wants. Combine this with the fact that the Prime Minister convenes cabinet meetings and decides when they are called and sets their length - it means that in effect, the PM determines the role and significance of the entire cabinet.
- Word count: 817