Studying for Success on HL Paper 3

KEY IDEAS for May 2016 HL Paper 3 exam

Online help for students

Students must refer to both their secondary research and any primary investigations, visitations, interview or any other first-hand experiences they have had related to the  2016 Case Study SMART HOMES. The following sources provide a wealth of articles and guidance for the HL Paper 3 exam.

Advice directed to students on how to approach HL Paper 3 

  • Know all of the terminology in the Case Study. Develop a list of this terminology and additional terminology from your research and linked to the Case Study. Terminology is important in being able to write knowledgeable coherent responses relating to the Case Study.
  • Identify, describe, be able to explain IT systems presented in both the case study and others related IT systems that emerged from your secondary and primary research.
  • Understand and be able to explain social and ethical considerations that relate to the case study and specific scenarios from your secondary and primary research. Consider the impact on stakeholders.
  • Be certain to organize your responses before beginning to write, especially on the 8 mark and 12 mark questions (question 3 and question 4). Please use this strategy on Paper 1 as well.
  • Ensure that responses show a balance in opinions and arguments.
  • Include specific examples from your research in question 4. Be certain to indicate the kind of investigation, visit, interview, paper or online source, but you do not need any formal format for this.  Don’t just write “In my research I ……” be specific. Use phrases “When I interviewed the director of the XXX building company…..” or “During my visit to the company XXX, the manager demonstrated these smart home technologies…”
  • So what?’ is a really good question to remember on question 3 and question 4. Your last sentence in every paragraph and the very last paragraph of your response should answer this question. This question allows you to write a reflection on what you said in the paragraph and finally what is your final reflection to the answer to the entire question. This technique is also important on Paper 1.
  • Don’t talk in circles. Particularly for Q4, break it up into sections. It is easier before you start to make a plan at the top and a bullet list of the topics you want to talk about. That way you can “see” what your discussion will be and can write in a focused way. Don’t just start writing.
  • Organize articles and notes so that they can be reviewed before the exam. Know the material and examples.  No notes may be taken into the exam.
  • Be certain to answer the questions asked and use real life situations that link in with the core issues of the Case Study. In the past students have referred to examples that are ‘off-course’. Take the time to organize your response. This will help focus your response on the question asked.
  • Students should have the opportunity to practice analysis in different situations. Many candidates stop at providing descriptive responses and do not actually engage in the higher order thinking required by command terms in question 3 and question 4. The same markbands are used every session on HL Paper 3. They do not change. Read the top level markband. What do you need to do to get the highest marks?
  • Collaborate and study with a fellow student. Discuss your notes and your findings.  This will elevate your understanding of the Case Study.

Good luck on the M16 HL Paper 3!

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