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Developing better exam technique

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Presentation on theme: "Developing better exam technique"— Presentation transcript:

1 Developing better exam technique
DO NOW In last week’s general election, it took around 28,000 votes to elect each of the 331 Conservative Members of Parliament. Estimate how many votes it took to elect each MP from: a) Labour; b) the Lib Dems; c) the SNP; d) the Greens; e) UKIP? What does this say about our electoral system? In broad terms, what would results have been like under a more proportional electoral system.


3 First time in 20 years that the # of votes cast per Labour MP exceeded that of the # per Conservative MP

4 A system devised by Victor D'Hondt, a Belgian lawyer and mathematician active in the 19th Century, dictates the results: In the first round of counting the party with the most votes wins a seat for the candidate at the top of its list. In the second round the winning party's vote is divided by two, and whichever party comes out on top in the re-ordered results wins a seat for their top candidate. The process repeats itself, with the original vote of the winning party in each round being divided by one plus their running total of MEPs, until all the seats for the region have been taken.

5 Exam technique Quick fixes Keep to time.
Read and follow all instructions. Longer-term Write with precision and clarity. Start with the 25 marker if you are pressed for time. Read the stimulus and the instructions for answering each question.

6 Parliamentary scrutiny
Topic 2 Parliament Parliamentary scrutiny Select committees have proved effective at scrutinising the actions of the executive and holding it to account. Select committees decide which issues they are going to examine. They have wide powers to summon witnesses and to examine restricted documents. Committees spend much of their time questioning ministers, officials and outside experts. Membership of select committees reflects the party balance in the Commons. Chairs of committees are allocated to parties according to their relative strength. Candidates from that party are then elected by all MPs in a secret ballot using the alternative vote system. Successful candidates often have a reputation for independence. Members of select committees are elected by secret ballot within party groups. Since a unanimous select committee report is likely to carry maximum weight, members aim to strike compromises across party lines. Over time, committee members can become more expert in their chosen fields than the relevant ministers, who usually have short tenures in a specific office. Adapted from Lynch and Fairclough AS UK Government & Politics (2013) Define the term party balance as used in the extract. (5) Using your own knowledge as well as the extract, consider two ways in which Parliament can scrutinise the executive and hold it to account. (10) ‘The experience of coalition government has made Parliament a more independent body.’ Discuss. (25)

7 Sample responses One way Parliament is able to scrutinise the executive is by debating specific issues throughout the UK, going through stages of debate to get laws changed in ways that benefit the people.

8 How do I answer this question?
What topic is the question about? What are the key concepts involved in this topic? Which of these concepts is relevant to this question? How can I use the relevant concepts to help me answer the question?

9 How do I answer this question?
‘The experience of coalition government has made Parliament a more independent body.’ Discuss. Topic? Parliament Key concepts? representation legislation scrutiny (of the executive) Relevant? All of the above.

10 How do I answer this question?
‘The experience of coalition government has made Parliament a more independent body.’ Discuss. Identify three possible measures of parliamentary independence, e.g: representation in the HOC and/or HOL; scrutiny and/or legislation in the HOC; scrutiny and/or legislation in the HOL; other stuff, e.g. reform measures (FTPA, BBBC, etc.) Example: legislation in the HOC = rebellions vs the extension of the ‘payroll vote’. Conclusion: ‘In some ways yes; in some ways no’.

11 Now do the same for these questions
‘The principal role of backbench MPs in the House of Commons is to support their parties, not to exercise their personal judgments or air their consciences.’ Discuss. ‘The House of Lords performs no useful role in the British political system and should now be abolished.’ Discuss.

12 Questions with a more specific focus
‘Select committees provide the most effective means by which Parliament can scrutinize the executive.’ Discuss. ‘The House of Lords can often be more effective than the House of Commons in the scrutiny of the executive.’ Discuss. ‘The legislative process in the House of Commons offers backbench MPs significant opportunities to influence policy.’ Discuss.

13 Electoral systems Key concepts: Representation
Proportionality (and Reform) Participation ‘Primacy’ and ‘Recency’ factors

14 Key questions ‘In the past few decades, recency factors have become more important determinants of UK general election outcomes than primacy factors.’ Discuss. ‘The failure of recent efforts at electoral reform has been good for democracy in the UK.’ Discuss.

15 ‘In the past few decades, recency factors have become more important determinants of UK general election outcomes than primacy factors.’ Discuss. Exemplar paragraph – Not to be re-produced Some primacy factors have clearly declined in importance over the past few decades. In the post-war period, most people’s voting behaviour could be predicted by their socio-economic status: more than 90 percent of working class voters voted Labour; a similar percentage of middle class voters voted Conservative. In more recent elections, support for the main parties among these groups has declined to less than 50 percent, respectively. However, other primacy factors such as age and region remain as important as ever. Support for Labour and the LibDems was greater among voters aged 34 and under in the past three elections than it was among voters aged 35 and over. For the Conservatives, the picture is reversed; Conservative support has remained highest among voters over 65. Region is also key. In 2015, Labour was reduced to its core areas of support in the industrial North West and North East of England, South Wales and inner London. The rest of England voted overwhelmingly for the Conservatives. These primacy factors remain critical determinants of UK general election outcomes.

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