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studentfocus November 10 13

order set, will gain more marks than a disjointed response. One way of ensuring that an answer keeps to a logical structure and that the relevant issues and responses are included, is to begin by making a list of bullet points. These can then be expanded upon as the student answers the question.

At this level, students are expected to produce responses that demonstrate critical thinking, plus an organised, logical approach to resolving an issue and making decisions about the most appropriate solution. It is not acceptable to make a series of unrelated points or simply to re-write parts of the case study.

A common mistake is to write everything known about the subject, whether relevant or not. Repetition of theory gains no marks at this level. A well reasoned argument, written in business English, which draws on evidence from the case study and the additional material, and which provides a possible solution, is what is required.

How to approach questions Critically evaluate means: examining and judging aspects of a particular issue, both the positives and the negatives. Evidence must always be drawn from the case study material to support these positive and negative points when responding to this type of question. Once the issue has been carefully examined, it should be possible

to reach conclusions or make decisions concerning an action the organisation has taken or might take in the future.

Marks indicated and time management If you have three hours to answer four questions, allowing for 15 minutes initial reading time, this breaks down to 165 minutes or approximately 41 minutes for each question.

The mark for each part should give a guide as to how much time should be spent on it. For example, if a part is worth 10 marks out of a possible 25 marks for the question, that equates to 40% of the time allocated to the question, or about 16 minutes.

If you are running out of time on the last part of the question, finish it by just writing key points; this will gain you some marks.

Check mark allocation If the question has 10 marks for a part, then it is likely that you will need to make 4–5 different points. Each point should be accompanied by a relevant example drawn from the case study. Half the marks for the part will be awarded for the examples, so an answer that gives a series of 10 points will only get a maximum of five marks if no examples are given.

General comments At level 7, students are required to

demonstrate some original thought. It is not enough simply to repeat theory or the words of the case study.

It is essential that students give explanations for the points they make, and that these points are relevant to the case and the question. No marks can be given for unexplained or irrelevant material; indeed, such material will indicate to the examiner that inadequate revision has been carried out.

Students will not gain additional marks by repeating the same point in a variety of ways. Similarly, lengthy introductions will not gain marks, even if they are giving background theory. If students spend time writing such material, they are wasting valuable time which could be spent thinking about the question and answering it properly. It is vital to focus on answering the question straight away.

It is also important to maintain this focus on answering the question. Marks will not be awarded for opinions that are not required by the question.

The parts of a question are usually ordered to give a flow of ideas and to give rise to coherent thought. When students state that they are answering part (a), they must ensure that their answer corresponds to this part of the question. If the answer they write actually

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