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April 20, 2024, 07:51:19 am

Author Topic: Tackling Extended Responses (More than 4 marks)  (Read 3081 times)  Share 

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Tackling Extended Responses (More than 4 marks)
« on: November 02, 2021, 03:44:32 pm »
Hey guys, I'm a Year 11 student doing Legal Studies as an AP subject at school this year, and I just wanted to share some things that I've picked up over these 2 years of Legal Studies to help answer questions worth more than 4 marks.

1. Understanding their basic structure
Certain extended response questions can evoke fear in many people (including me), but they're fundamentally just a few 2-mark paragraphs, that as a whole add up to 10 marks.

For example; "evaluate the ability of the express protection of rights to act as a law-making check on parliament" (10 marks).

This is essentially:
1) Express protection of rights are [define express rights]. They have a [how much, eg. 'moderate'] ability to act as a law-making check on parliament.

2) Express protection of rights act as a check on parliament... [one way ERs can act as a check (a strength)]. [Further explain this point and if possible provide an example].

3) However, express protection of rights are limited from acting as a check on parliament... [one way ERs do not act as a check (a weakness)]. [Further explain this point and if possible provide an example].

Repeat (2) and (3) until you reach the number of points needed, for this 10 mark question I would write 6 points, 3 'strength' paragraphs and 3 'weakness' paragraphs.

4) Express protection of rights has a strong ability to act as a check on parliament because... [list the strengths you wrote about], however, they also have a limited ability to act as a check on parliament because [list the weaknesses]. Therefore, I am of the opinion that express rights have a [how much? eg. moderate] ability to act as a check on parliament.

This simplified view on structure really helped reduce the stress of 10 mark questions for me.

2. Signposting
In Legal Studies, signposting is a crucial element of responses and here are some great examples you could use. These will really help structure your response in a cohesive way and the examiner will feel less confused about reading your response.

For instance; "explain two possible protections available to a vulnerable witness when giving evidence (6 marks)".

A response with good signposting is this:

"One possible protection available to a vulnerable witness when giving evidence is having a screen placed between the accused and the victim, so the victim can avoid seeing their perpetrator. This is especially useful for victims of sexual offences or domestic violence, who may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable being in the line of vision of the perpetrator. This protection is to protect the witness from further contact with perpetrator, which may jeopardise the witness' ability to give reliable evidence.

Another protection available to vulnerable witnesses is the accused cannot cross-examine them. People deemed a vulnerable witness cannot be cross-examined by the accused themselves, instead, the accused's legal representative must do this. If the accused is self-represented, then the court will order Victoria Legal Aid to provide a duty lawyer for the cross-examination."

3. Stimulus material and case studies

In Section B of the exam, multiple sources of stimulus material will be provided to help answer the questions.


All the responses in Section B will need to incorporate the stimulus material in order for full marks to be achieved.

This can be done in a few ways:
  • numbers/percentages/data from diagrams and charts
  • relevant Acts of Parliament/Sections of the Constitution/legislation
  • names mentioned in the stimulus material

It is vital, whether it be a small hypothetical scenario from Section A or a piece of legislation in Section B, that you use these sources throughout your answer, for full marks to be given. Avoid responding in 'general' terms.

TL;DR and general tips

1) Use paragraphs to separate points, makes it easier for you and the examiner

2) Signpost your answers, it helps the examiner locate different areas of your response

3) Include stimulus material within response, the more the better.

4) Use reading time wisely during the exam. My order for the exam will be:
Read Section B thoroughly during reading time⟶ Section B ⟶ Section A⟶ 10 mark response ⟶ Proofread and edit

5) Answer practice questions under timed conditions.

6) Read the examiner's report on the VCAA site to see which areas students made common mistakes in, so that you can avoid them.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this useful!![/list][/list]
A girl who's just trying to survive school :)