2- On the document-based question, be sure to carefully read the whole passage or document.
- The question will ask for specific information from the reading and then ask you to react to it using your knowledge of the topic.
- Be particularly alert to the verbs used in the question. They each mean different things. The verb compare will usually mean linking one item from the reading passage and one of your choosing in a specific way. Describe would be asking you to tell in some detail about an event or process outlined in the question. Develop an argument would mean that you will have to link together two or more pertinent facts about the topic asked.
3- The synthesis and evaluation questions are a very sophisticated test of your reading ability and scientific background. The questions are knowledge based and require you to make connections between major topics in the course.
- Again it is extremely important that you read the question carefully. Make particular note of the verbs used.
- Don’t restate the question. This is not a formal debate or an English Composition class. Time is valuable.
- Write about what the question asks. Don’t waste time by giving long introductions or eco-babble on about historical perspectives. Get to the point and answer the question in a straight forward and complete way.
- One word that students miss is economic. If the question asks for economic incentives, for example, it means a financial effect such as more money, tax breaks, less cost, etc. Review some of the previous year’s questions to see how this was missed by many students.
- Another term students seem to ignore, to their detriment is per capita. This means per person. Per capita energy use is the amount of energy used by the average person.
- Define and explain any terms you use. Don’t just name drop “buzz words”. Use examples wherever possible and be complete, but precise.
- Be sure to include the obvious in your explanations. Don’t assume the Readers will know what you mean. They won’t, unless you tell them. Be very complete, but to the point. Being thorough in your answer could score you extra points.
- If the question asks for a linking of concepts and you can’t think of any, tell what you know about each concept separately. Once more, use details wherever possible.
4- Again, sometimes one of the questions asks you to design an experiment to solve an environmental problem. If this happens, there are a few things to keep in mind. Remember what is necessary for a good experiment.