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As Edexcel Unit 2 - How To Answer Part (A)


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#1 AlanFG

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 01:43 AM

Exam Board - Edexcel
Unit 2 - Poverty, Public Health 1830-75

I am having trouble in how to structure my answer for Part A (source-based question) and what to include in each paragraph, especially the provenance parts. The question usually asks "How far do Sources 1, 2, 3 support view that...?"


I read in a previous post that you answer the question by
* Argument that Sources agree
* Argument that Sources do not agree

Supposing then that Sources 1 and 3 agree with question and Source 2 doesn't.
How do i structure my answer and what does "cross-referencing" actually mean

Do i do
* Source 1 agrees...
* Source 3 agrees...
* Source 2 disagrees...


Also, when i talk about the provenance of a source, what should i talk about

thank in advanced, sorry about all the questions :(

#2 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 02:26 AM

You answer 'How far' questions by thesis - antithesis - synthesis (see also here).
Provenance is basically who wrote it - esp. origin and purpose.

I have written at length about these questions in this thread. Have you seen it? Have a read and get back to me if there is anything you don't understand, or anything more you want to know.

#3 AlanFG

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 08:37 PM

thanks for the links, i have read them but i am still unsure about some things

suppose the content of sources 1 and 3 agrees with claim and the content of source 2 disagrees with claim
do i talk about sources 1 and 3 in 1 paragraph then Source 2 in the next? Or do i compare all sources with each other (eg. 1+2, 1+3, 2+3)




thanks again! this site is extremely useful

#4 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 10:11 PM

thanks for the links, i have read them but i am still unsure about some things

suppose the content of sources 1 and 3 agrees with claim and the content of source 2 disagrees with claim
do i talk about sources 1 and 3 in 1 paragraph then Source 2 in the next? Or do i compare all sources with each other (eg. 1+2, 1+3, 2+3)

No rules, of course - it all depends on the question.
But as general advice I would tend to go: 1.sources-for; 2.sources-against; 3.Solution/conclusion
But there is nothing to stop you referring to any source anywhere where it brings up a point which supports your general line of argument at that point in your essay.
It is the question that has priority, not the technique (and examiners will mark you down if you are obviously just slavishly waorkign through a technique that your teacher has told you).

#5 Mr. D. Bryant

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 11:14 PM

thanks for the links, i have read them but i am still unsure about some things
suppose the content of sources 1 and 3 agrees with claim and the content of source 2 disagrees with claim
do i talk about sources 1 and 3 in 1 paragraph then Source 2 in the next? Or do i compare all sources with each other (eg. 1+2, 1+3, 2+3)
thanks again! this site is extremely useful


I would strongly recommend that you follow the advice given by Mr. Clare. Edexcel want you to use sources 'in combination' (in other words together), rather than in succession. Of course, with enough analysis you might well find that there are elements in one or more of the sources that both agree and disagree with the question.

A very important point to remember is that you only have approximately 25 to 30 minutes to answer part a (20 marks) and then you must get on to part b. So, there isn't actually time to write pagers and pages for part a.

Tomorrow, I will write up a checklist for this exam and post it under this thread. It's a bit late in the day to have a go now.

#6 Mr. D. Bryant

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:09 PM

Tomorrow, I will write up a checklist for this exam and post it under this thread. It's a bit late in the day to have a go now.


Right, here goes.

In order to reach Level 3 (55% to 75%) you must do the following two things:

1. Use the sources

as evidence with some consideration of their attributes, such as
the nature, origins, purpose or audience, with some consideration of how this can
affect the weight given to the evidence.


If you don't do this then the best you can do is half-marks.

2. When deciding 'how far' you have to

use the sources in combination

In other words, don't go, source 1 then source 2, then source 3. Rather, try to find areas where each source agrees and then, in another section, disagrees with the question set.

Even if you don't do these things briliiantly, you should still be achieving around 55% which is what you need for a 'C'. If you do both reasonably well, then you will be getting close to the 63% you need for a 'B'. Please note, these are 'raw marks' i.e. out of 32 and 37 out of 60. They can change from paper to paper and from year to year.

The top (Level 4) answers do the following:

1. Reach a judgement about the question (i.e. 'how far' supported by careful use of the evidence in the sources.
2. Agreement and disagreement between sources is analysed. not just stated.
3. Each source's provenance etc. is taken into account when deciding how much weight it has as evidence regarding the question.

What many candidates do is some basic analysis of the provenance, without relating this to the question they are trying to answer.

You do not have to reach Level 4 to get an 'A' in part a of Unit 2.
Best of luck.




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