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Author Topic: Playing the devils advocate with English questions  (Read 5029 times)  Share 

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Mada438

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Playing the devils advocate with English questions
« on: December 04, 2017, 07:12:57 am »
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Why Play Devilís Advocate?
There are a whole bunch of reasons to play devilís advocate when it comes to responding to an essay, its mostly just about doing the unexpected!! Playing devils advocate is a good way to set yourself apart, as everyone in the HSC will get the same questions. But there's other good reasons too

So i do enjoy doing this in exams, it makes english somewhat (and i mean SOMEWHAT) fun. Here are some examples that i found online about how to do it, along with the 5 actual reasons why you should actually do this
1. It sets your essay apart.
Not answering in a generic way means that youíre not answering in the exact same way as everyone else, which automatically gives your essay that little edge.
Example:
 Question statement: Discovery is always shocking.
Devilís advocate thesis: Whether or not a discovery is shocking depends entirely on what is discovered.
 
2. Markers wont expect it.
The general expectation is that students will agree with the question, so the second you veer away from the Ďdefault responseí youíll be surprising the markers!
Example:
 Question statement: Not all discoveries are made for the first time.
Devilís advocate thesis: First discoveries are the most important, even when they arenít recognised as discoveries.
 
3. Youíre creating your own thesis.
Any time that you disagree with or challenge a question you automatically have to create your own thesis to address, which is always a good way to go.
Example:
 Question statement: Discovery is a process of careful planning.
Devilís advocate thesis: The only true discoveries are those that are unplanned.
 
4. Your ideas will be more complex (in a good way!).
Because youíre going against the grain and challenging the question youíre also going to be coming up with ideas and themes that are more challenging and complex than your average essay.
Example
Question statement: Discoveries have positive impacts on those involved.
Devilís advocate thesis: How a discovery impacts the people involved relies entirely on what discovery is made.
 
5. Youíre showing a greater understanding of the text.
Generally when the questions are created theyíre aiming to suit the average level of textual understanding, but if you can flip the question you can straight away show that you understand the text beyond that.
Example
Question statement: Relationships are made through discoveries.
Devilís advocate thesis: Itís the events surrounding discoveries that build relationships rather than discoveries themselves.

There's two routes you can actually take: Straighout disagreeing with the question e.g:
Statement: Discoveries have positive impacts on those involved.
Disagreement: Discoveries do not have positive impacts on those involved.

Or you can twist it to be a different arguement: How a discovery impacts the people involved relies entirely on what discovery is made.

Also it's important to remember two specific things when playing devils advocate
1: Your thesis becomes too complex and you lose the original point-keep it simple so you actually keep yourself on track
2: You ignore the question and make a totally new thesis-MAKE SURE YOU ACTUALLY ARE ANSWERING THE QUESTION
"Live life like a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside"

"May you grow up to be righteous; may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong"

"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire"

Advice for starting year 12
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2020: Bachelor of Arts @ANU

theyam

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Re: Playing the devils advocate with English questions
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 04:28:28 pm »
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Hi,

I was just wondering, how long would you give yourself in an exam situation to attempt being devil's advocate before realising you actually can't and go back to being mainstream?

thanks~~
from theyam

Mada438

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Re: Playing the devils advocate with English questions
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 04:41:02 pm »
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Hi,

I was just wondering, how long would you give yourself in an exam situation to attempt being devil's advocate before realising you actually can't and go back to being mainstream?

thanks~~
from theyam
It really would depend on how confident you are with doing it. For me, i first attempted this back at the beginning of Year 11, so i've been doing it for a while. My advice for practicing is: if you ever get a question ahead of an exam, do heaps and heaps of drafts practicing ways to disagree with and twist the question and get your teacher to look at them. Also look at past papers, and look at the questions used in them and just practice coming up with concepts and different thesis' rather then writing whole essays.
If you've never ever done this before, and you have an exam tommorrow then just try and do it mainstream, there's plenty of time to practice later.
Also, would depend on the type of question you get. Sometimes, you get a question that you have absolutely no idea how to play devils advocate. If it stumps you from the moment that you look at it, and you can't think of anything AT ALL after a minute, then abandon ship and go back to being mainstream. 
But enough waffling on (sorry, i hope this actually helped!)
In a 40 minute English exam (English exams are two hours, split into 40 minute sections), if you can't decide on a definiative way to play devils advocate with the question within a few minutes (like say 3-4)  of writing time then just go mainstream. That being said... if you have reading time, then use that definitely!!!

Yours sincerely
Mada438
"Live life like a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside"

"May you grow up to be righteous; may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong"

"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire"

Advice for starting year 12
An open letter to my School Friends
Would 10 year old you be proud of who you are?

2020: Bachelor of Arts @ANU

Mada438

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Re: Playing the devils advocate with English questions
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2017, 04:52:59 pm »
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Just an update on that. As an example of a question that does not imnmediatly seem easy to play devils advocate is my question for AOS assessment "Wheather a discovery is unexpected or emerges from careful planning it can still reveal suprising consequences" Ways to argue against and twist this question were not apparent within 5 minutes, so if this was an unseen question in an exam, then i would just go mainstream.
But thats just me

Yours Sincerely
Mada438
"Live life like a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside"

"May you grow up to be righteous; may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong"

"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire"

Advice for starting year 12
An open letter to my School Friends
Would 10 year old you be proud of who you are?

2020: Bachelor of Arts @ANU

as111

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Re: Playing the devils advocate with English questions
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 08:03:47 pm »
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how'd you play devil's advocate with 'unexpected discoveries may emerge from a process of planning'

chelseam

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Re: Playing the devils advocate with English questions
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 08:33:57 pm »
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how'd you play devil's advocate with 'unexpected discoveries may emerge from a process of planning'
Hey there! I guess you could consider how the process of careful planning may result in predictable/anticipated discoveries and consequences, or consider how surprising discoveries can emerge from oneís circumstances or curiosity :)
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Mada438

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Re: Playing the devils advocate with English questions
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 09:08:02 pm »
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Hey there! I guess you could consider how the process of careful planning may result in predictable/anticipated discoveries and consequences, or consider how surprising discoveries can emerge from oneís circumstances or curiosity :)

how'd you play devil's advocate with 'unexpected discoveries may emerge from a process of planning'
Chelseam is pretty much on the ball here with how you'd do it! I definitely think the first one she suggested would be your best bet!
I look at your question, and chelseams answer is more or less the way, i'd think about answering it

Keep in mind, that if you're looking at your essay question, and a question like the one you have asked occurs to you, and the answer doesn't pop into your head within 5 minutes, then its probably better to just focus on answering the question the normal way, because have roughly 40 minutes in an exam situation to write your essay, you cannot spend 20 minutes trying to work out how you'd answer the question!
"Live life like a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside"

"May you grow up to be righteous; may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong"

"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire"

Advice for starting year 12
An open letter to my School Friends
Would 10 year old you be proud of who you are?

2020: Bachelor of Arts @ANU

kauac

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Re: Playing the devils advocate with English questions
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2018, 05:56:50 pm »
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Hi Adam, this is a very intriguing read!  ;D

Do you think that there are any types of AOS essay questions that would be inappropriate to use this method with?
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Mada438

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Re: Playing the devils advocate with English questions
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2018, 06:34:38 pm »
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Hi Adam, this is a very intriguing read!  ;D

Do you think that there are any types of AOS essay questions that would be inappropriate to use this method with?
Thanks!
I haven't come across any that i think are "inappropriate" to use this method.
But that depends on what you mean by "inappropriate"
I have definitely had questions where you look at it and go "nope, no way am i going to be able to come up with a way to do it" or ones that you could, but you just don't have enough time in an exam setting. So if thats what you mean by "inappropriate" then yes i have.
But if it's anything else, then no i do not think so personally
"Live life like a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside"

"May you grow up to be righteous; may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong"

"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire"

Advice for starting year 12
An open letter to my School Friends
Would 10 year old you be proud of who you are?

2020: Bachelor of Arts @ANU

dermite

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Re: Playing the devils advocate with English questions
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2018, 04:42:29 pm »
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would this work for any other modules?
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Mada438

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Re: Playing the devils advocate with English questions
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2018, 05:02:32 pm »
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would this work for any other modules?
Yeah ofc!
It's just about finding the right way to argue it
"Live life like a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside"

"May you grow up to be righteous; may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong"

"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire"

Advice for starting year 12
An open letter to my School Friends
Would 10 year old you be proud of who you are?

2020: Bachelor of Arts @ANU

dermite

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Re: Playing the devils advocate with English questions
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2018, 06:48:35 pm »
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so how would one play devils advocate with this statement:
An exploration of intertextual connections reveals the relationship between context and key values.
HSC 2018
English Advanced  
Maths Extension 1
Physics
Chemistry
Information Processes and Technology
Goal : 93 ATAR