Presentation on theme: "How to answer exam questions Basic instructions. ColorsColors Use blue or black ink. Do not use pink, red, green, phosphorus green, phosphorus blue, etc."— Presentation transcript:
ColorsColors Use blue or black ink. Do not use pink, red, green, phosphorus green, phosphorus blue, etc. Never use a pencil to write answers in an exam
How to answer? Read questions very carefully. Make an outline of the points which should be included in the answer. Review the outline quickly and eliminate the irrelevant items.
Problems Many students are not able to tune their answers to the questions asked: 1. They provide extra information (not asked about)
2. Or they are asked to do something in the question, but they do something else: For instance, the question says explain how is (a) related to (b), instead they provide a definition of (a) and (b). They get a low mark so they get frustrated and discouraged.
They complain that they wrote everything they knew about the topic of the question, but “the teacher had a specific answer in her mind so she did not like my answer !”
Is this a fair assessment? May be! But Look at the following examples before you answer:
How would you evaluate these answers? Q: What is the temperature in Riyadh today? A: It is 42. It is 32 in Taif; 44 in Dammam; 22 in London; etc. Is this a good answer to the question? Why? What’s wrong with it?
Another example Q: Explain the relationship between the Ozone hole and global warming. A: The ozone layer is a layer in Earth's atmosphere which contains relatively high concentrations of ozone(O 3 ). This layer absorbs 93-99% of the sun's high frequency ultraviolet light, which is potentially damaging to life on earth.
What was wrong with that answer? Here are other examples from our exam:
Q. Explain the following in one sentence: Lateralization can be linked to the critical age hypothesis. A1: Lateralization is the assigning of functions to the different hemispheres of the brain. What is wrong with this answer?
Another answer A2: After lateralization the brain loses some of its plasticity so it becomes harder to learn a second language, but other researchers say it affects only pronunciation. What is wrong with this answer?
Q: Explain the following in one sentence: F. independence/dependence do NOT need to be in complementary distribution. A: A f. independence person sees particular items, but a f. dependent person only sees the whole picture, she/he does not see details. What do you think? How much should this answer get?
Another example Q: Explain how cognitive development may be related to the critical age hypothesis. Then explain the arguments rejecting a critical age for second language learning.
Another Answer: The critical age hypothesis, an age after which it becomes very hard to learn language has 4 considerations. Neurological considerations, cognitive considerations, linguistic considerations, and affective considerations. For the cognitive considerations, there are three stages, (she lists the stages). The transition from the concrete to the formal stage is the critical age. But on the other hand, some researchers say that the transition should be a helping factor.
Answer A: Researchers argue that at the age of puberty a person moves from the concrete cognitive stage to the formal stage. This transition makes the person more conscious of the ambiguities and contradictions that the second language may have and making the task of learning overwhelming. Children are less aware of such ambiguities, so it is probably easier for them to acquire the second language. One the other hand, other researchers who reject this hypothesis say when a person is at the formal stage, that should mean he is at an advantage and that is a facilitating factor.
What do you think? Would you consider those good answers to the Q?
Here is a good answer: The Piagetian operational stage in which there is a transition from concrete thinking to formal thinking has been identified by linguists as the critical age for second language learning. When the child becomes able to think formally, it will be more difficult for her to learn a second language. Some researchers present arguments that reject the critical age hypothesis based on this transition. They state that the ability to think formally should help rather than hinder the learning process. Being able to think in abstraction enables the learner to understand better the rules of L2.
Reflective vs. Impulsive Characteristics Q: What are the characteristics of reflective and impulsive persons? What are the implications for second language learning?
A: Reflective persons are slow, more calculated; they tend to think in systematic terms. They weigh all the aspects of a problem before attempting to solve it. Impulsive persons, on the other hand, are gamblers; they are quick in answering and in providing solutions for problems, they do not give the problem much thought.
A reflective second language learner does not talk much and takes longer in answering a question in a classroom or in attempting to solve a problem in natural settings. He is usually more accurate than an impulsive learner, makes fewer errors. But he remains longer in one developmental stage before he can move to the next, but he usually makes larger leaps.
An impulsive second language learner will have no problem answering questions and attempting to solve problems, but his attempts are usually based on guesses. Consequently, he makes more errors. An impulsive learner moves quickly from one stage to the next, but he goes through more semi-grammatical stages.
The implications of L2 learning are three: 1. The importance of the language in the context. 2. They focus on the communicative use of language. 3. Rejection of conditioning, repetition, and drills in the second language classroom.