Do you face these problems in General Paper too?
- General Paper is so broad! Where can I start?
- I don’t have enough content for these topics to write my essays…
- Why am I consistently getting ‘C’s, ‘D’s and ‘E’s despite all my hard work?
- How do I build my examples list to be relevant for my GP essays and GP Paper 2 Application Question?
Well, we have encountered the same problems as you too!
But throughout JC, we have compiled all the best resources we can find to create a comprehensive and rigourous set of notes that helped boost our essay content, examples, and eventually skills in writing General Paper essays and application question answers. On this post, we share with you some free content notes and GP examples that might be useful.
Before that, how can you start improving your General Paper?
3 ways to improve your A Level General Paper (H1 GP)
1. Choose a few major topics and read a lot of relevant content
Select a few major topics (media, science and technology, politics, etc) that you care about before you read up more about them. After you have chosen your major topics, do intensive reading and research online for relevant information to add to your notes. From the major topics, branch them out into many different sub-topics and do a comprehensive analysis for each of them based on different stakeholders, causes, positive / negative impacts, consequences, etc.
2. Compile a list of GP examples for all topics and sub-topics
All teachers advise us to read a lot of news and to keep up to date to the current affairs. Indeed, this is very crucial.
However, how can you master the art of compiling GP examples?
For the topics you are interested in, pay close attention to the news and read credible magazines (such as The Economist) for case studies and examples. On a daily basis, read the news on the public transport when you are commuting to and from school. You don’t have to spend the whole day on reading news, do it when you are free throughout the day!
Jot down interesting and easy to remember examples with some key statistics into your examples journal or into your phone note apps (Evernote is a good app for that). Before your exams, or on a weekly basis, collate all your examples together and review them. Compile them together into a document and rewrite each of them into paragraphs that you can easily memorise and plug into your GP essays.
Here are some General Paper examples you can use to kickstart your list!
- 1994 Rwanda Genocide: failed to make the top of the TV news bulletins even days after the killings started mainly due to difficulty of access into Rwanda but also due to the fact that senior correspondents were busy covering the election of its first black president in South Africa
- Talent variety shows such as “American Idol” and “Britain’s Got Talent” which invite laypeople to try their hand at becoming music celebrities, have become immensely popular. The products of these tawdry televised competitions are performers of formulaic and unimaginative pop music whose bland celebrity appeal tends to rest on predictable traits such as physical attractiveness and vocal theatrics. Clearly, these programs are not concerned with musical quality, but with manufacturing homogenized celebrity cut-outs who may be relied upon to garner television ratings and subsequent album sales. Once again, artistic integrity has been made subordinate to the lucrativeness of popular entertainment — one more demonstration of how the mass media creates mediocrity.
- Aided by Twitter and Facebook, youths were the movers and shakers of the Arab Spring. Wall Ghonim, a 30-year-old Google marketing manager, set up a Facebook page in response to the killing of 28-year-old Khaled Said in police custody in Egypt. ‘Silent Sands’ were organized: political flash mobs that sent a pointed message to those in power, which soon blossomed into the revolutionary protests in Tahrir Square. Updates to the wired world were sent out continuously as bullets fired outside their doors, circumventing the constraints faced by the state controlled media
- In recent years, there has been a rise in online courses which attempt to replicate all elements of the traditional learning in an online environment. Coursera, an educational technology company found by Stanford University professors, offer massive open online courses. Khan Academy, a non-profit educational website, aims to let anyone ‘learn almost anything-for free’. Other similar online platforms include edX and Udemy which cover courses from computer science to even artificial intelligence.
- In countries such as China, the media is highly censored and online content using certain banned keywords is deleted. Political dissenters expressing their views on social media can be prosecuted, jailed, exiled or even killed. Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei is well known for his views against the Chinese government. His social media accounts, including Weibo accounts, are regularly deleted as he tries to create new ones after his previous ones were taken down.
- In the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, millions of tweets were sent out following the bombing and the tense week that followed. According to the IBM Research Labs in Delhi, India reports that 29 percent of the top 20 tweets were ‘fake content and inaccurate rumours. Through their study which looked at some 8 million tweets, scientist found out that 51% were generic comments and opinions, while only 20% contained factual information.
Science and Technology
- 2011 first successful transplant of a synthetic trachea: Plastic polymer used, fast and efficient. Person’s own stem cells were used, therefore risks of organ rejection and complications are minimized.
- In 1996, IBM’s Deep Blue became the first machine to win a chess game against a reigning world champion. “Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov” became a pair of famous human-computer chess matches played between the supercomputer and the chess grandmaster. The first match was won by Kasparov, but the machine won the rematch in 1997. In recent years, many artificial intelligence programs, including the AlphaGo and OpenAI’s DOTA2 AI, are better than the top human players in their games.
- Care-O-bot is a home assistant robot that feeds on data from household sensors that monitor door and cupboard
hinges, taps and electrical appliances and so forth.
- Tuskegee Syphilis Study: US Public Health Service conducted a study in which human guinea pigs died of syphilis and its side effects. 400 poor black men with syphilis were enrolled. They were never notified nor treated. While medical knowledge may have enabled progress in the diagnosis and treatment of syphilis, the end did not justify the means. This is a blatant contravention of the Nuremberg Code but also a ruthless act of racial discrimination.
- During the Tunisian Revolution, snipers associated with the regime were killing unarmed students in the street. The students used their mobile devices to take a picture, triangulated the location, sent that picture to friendly military units, who came in and removed the snipers. For these students, technological advancements were a military tool to defend unarmed people from murderers.
- 3D Printing – While traditional laser and inkjet printers only make marks on paper, 3D printers build up solid objects in many thin layers. 3D printing has already been used to print food like chocolate, jewellery, sunglasses, artwork, toys and vehicle parts. With 3D printing, the retail industry would be completely transformed and customisation for every individual would be made possible. Within a decade, some products may be downloaded from the Internet for printout in store or even at home. 3D printing is also contributing to medical science as doctors are learning how to 3D print kidneys and other replacement human organs.
- UN’s ‘same as you’ campaign promotes equal rights between people, with an emphasis on the LGBT community, sex professionals, refugees and black populations.
- Rwandan genocide: The genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority.
- Ecotourism doesn’t work: 2009 exotic natural areas in Galapagos underwent development for ecotourism, exterminating a whole species of native butterflies in the process (Scale is tipped in favor of generating business profits in ecotourism)
- Failed Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen Summit and Rio Earth Submit have revealed that attempting to among a global trade off between environmental concerns and growth remains an overly ambitious undertaking
- US has yet to ratify the treaty of Kyoto Protocol. Congress refuses to budge. Signals to world that even the most powerful nation in the world is unwilling to compromise on economic growth for the environment
3. Write, write, and write!
This can’t be said enough. Just like practising for Science and Math papers, you should do the same for General Paper! Practise your essay writing skills and put your content and examples into test by writing full paragraphs and even full essays. Submit to your teachers for them to mark and get feedback from them.
This is the step that many students do not do (or start too late). GP isn’t about memorising examples and just reading news. You have to actively write essays and argumentative paragraphs to link all the content together.
With the right content resources, a habit of compiling your examples, and constant practice, you will master General Paper Essays in no time.
At alevelnotes.org, we are A Level graduates who love making notes. Over the years, we have compiled the best GP resources together to build a comprehensive and rigourous set of notes that cover a wide range of topics and examples.
On this platform, we will be sharing our notes for free.
Join us to further improve these notes to build the most comprehensive and useful set of notes for A Levels together.