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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.
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