Dealing with the Data-Based Question

Just one final bit of advice for students about the somewhat tricky ‘DBQ’. One of the main problems experienced by the students last year was uncertainty about how long their answers should be for each section. This was made particularly problematic due to the fact that there was no indication beside each question as to how many marks each individual question was worth.

You ‘General Rule’ here should be to be guided by the number of lines available. I should also say that the latest advice is NOT to write in the spaces outside the lines, for fear that they won’t be read by the S.E.C.’s scanners (and write in either Blue or Black pen). If you need to add additional material (and if you’re time management allows you to do so), you can do so in the additional pages at the back of the booklet (*making sure that you properly label your answers).

If you want to download my best attempt to outline a useful approach to the final questions (DBQ section F), which is worth 40 marks (15 minutes of writing time), click the link to access a one-page PDF with a sample answer and some other general guidelines and suggestions. (****Update: Autumn 2019 – In the 2019 exam, the Marking Scheme changed, making this section worth 50 marks, not 40. It also stipulated that the marks would be divided along the lines of 30-20 as seen here: DBQ Long Answer Marking Scheme

***The big ‘Caveat‘ (warning) here, is that ‘This is how they did it last year – the Examiners might assign the marks differently this summer.’ That said, all we can do is deal with the evidence we have! If I was answering a DBQ question on this particular problem, I’d be quick to note that we have a ‘Sample Size’ of just one data point, which makes it next to impossible to make any sweeping statements.***

Best of luck on Tuesday!



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