How not to answer H2 BIO essays

Today is just one of those days where I used the H2 BIO lenses to look at what’s happening in Singapore taking a break from the hectic prep work of materials for my students.

I was reading this (otherwise boring) article with much amusement. By visualizing it as a real H2 BIO essay (of course it has nothing to do with BIO), I would very likely have failed the student writing it. These are my reasons why and I hope these points can be useful for those who scored poorly in recent exams.

First, there is no supporting statement/evidence throughout the article. It is almost a cut, copy and paste job. Just read this: Despite concern over retrenchments in Singapore, many jobs are still available in the short term, … After quoting the minister, the paragraph literally ‘falls off a cliff’. If many jobs are still available then are there any figures that can be quoted? Because what is many? Is many = 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 jobs? Because different people have different interpretations of the word many, clarifying it with a number would have been so much clearer.

Second, confusing word usage. What does it mean when many jobs are still available in the short term? Does it mean the minister is encouraging the jobless to take up temporary jobs for which there is an abundance or does it mean within a short time frame of the present month (at the time of writing, Nov 16) there are many jobs?

Third, there is no correlation between sentences. The article is asking the retrenched Singaporeans not to be overly concerned because many jobs are still available in the short term. Applying both definitions of short term, let’s say those that are retrenched from full time well paying jobs (e.g. $6,000/month) will be likely over qualified for temp jobs and they have to take long careful considerations before accepting any in a very short, current period of time because any missteps could negatively impact their CV and future prospects and whether the new salary can meet household expenses especially those with children and/or mortgage repayments. That would then preclude them from the reassurance. Which means they have to be worried?

Fourth, the statements made is incomplete. If there are many jobs in the short term does it mean ONLY short term. That, in the long term there aren’t many jobs? How is it that this is not addressed at all in the article? But of course TPP is suspended now that Trump is the new US president clouding Singapore’s economic future.

Whilst I hope this article clarifies what are the most common weaknesses of H2 BIO essays (using an unrelated local broadshit article as an example), it would also be wise to avoid local journalists/editors turned tutors (ironically from the recent retrenchment exercise at Singaporean broadsheets). COMMENT.


  • On November 14, 2016