Aice General Paper Example Essay Format

Presentation on theme: "Preparing for the Persuasive Essay AICE: General Paper—9/Pavich."— Presentation transcript:

1 Preparing for the Persuasive Essay AICE: General Paper—9/Pavich

2 Review the list of “Section 3” prompts as a group. Consider the following:  What prompts would you never write about? Why?  Do any prompts actually scare you? Why?  Are there any prompts you could you write to because of your own knowledge and interests, those unrelated to school learning?

3  THEN STRUCTURE:  We will use the content we learned to see how it can be effectively organized into an ESSAY…  We will learn how to ORGANIZE ideas in a persuasive fashion ;-)  We will silence (some of) our Section 3 fears!

4  Before the facts, what are your thoughts on the following??  Define “MEDIA”…what does this entail?  How do you feel about the media? What do you like about it? Dislike about it?  How does it benefit our society?  How does it hurt our society?  Aside from your experiences with media in your own country, what are media sources like in other countries?

5 Information-Gathering

6 CONSTANT INFORMATION GATHERING Any essay begins with good ideas. In order to get those ideas, you have to do your homework, watch the news, make connections in what you’re learning in all of your classes… CONSTANT INFORMATION GATHERING ensures that you will have something to SAY in your essay!! SO LET’S LEARN ABOUT THE MEDIA (AS A SUBJECT IN GENERAL) FIRST…

7 NOW YOU SEE TROTSKY NEXT TO LENIN… NOW YOU DON’T!! During the Russian Revolution, Trotsky became an “enemy of the state” (recall how Snowball was exiled from Animal Farm )…the intent was to change the past so the leader never looks “bad” or “wrong” in the eyes of his people! “Can You Believe Your Eyes” article


9 The Newsweek cover is the original mug-shot, whereas the Time cover is digitally manipulated. O.J. Simpson's face is darker, blurrier and unshaven. It is clear that on the cover of Time, O.J. Simpson looks more sinister than he does on the cover of Newsweek. The manipulation therefore distorts the truth.

10 American Revolution : to whip up revolutionary sentiment against the British in 1775, American colonists used the printing press, where they emblazoned pamphlets with a ready-to-strike coiled rattlesnake and the catchy “don’t tread on me” slogan.

11 MODERN MANIPULATION: Using Media to Communicate Terrorism Concerns This parody of an Uncle Sam Poster uses the image of Osama Bin Laden to comment on America’s dependence on oil from the Middle East and how our purchase of oil to supply our needs inadvertently funds terrorism.

12 NUCLEAR EMERGENCY (inspired after Japan’s march disaster) EDVARD MUNCH: THE SCREAM

13 Using Media to Communicate Health Concerns The makers of this parody of Camel cigarettes packaging were criticizing tobacco and advertising companies that collaborate to sell such lethal products. By making the cigarette ads appealing, they are literally selling a death sentence to the consumer. “Cancer sticks: a unique blend of high powered advertising and the people who fall for it.”

14  Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  Its sole purpose is to protect the consumer!  Responsible for overseeing companies to ensure that the follow truth-in-advertising laws  Better Business Bureau  Also oversees companies and settles disputes over advertising between companies (Campell’s and Progress soup campaigns) and company vs. customer  Legal Action  Companies can sue other companies for unfair or fraudulent advertising claims (AT&T sued Verizon, UPS sued FedEx!)  Libel Laws…lying in print will result in lawsuit, fines, and jail! “Truth in Advertising” article

15 “”: product placement; naturally weaving advertising into media sources “ADVERTAINMENT”: product placement; naturally weaving advertising into media sources PROBLEM : Modern technology is hurting American businesses.  DVR hurts commercial biz SOLUTION :  Internet hurts music biz SOLUTION : Unrestricted media is free to explore creative new ways to turn a profit, and thus stimulate the economy. “Advertainment” has doubled revenue (20 mil last year)! SUPPORT EXAMPLE: SUPPORT EXAMPLE: LADY GAGA’s video “Telephone” is one example of a media program filled with advertisements for products including Diet Coke (seen left), Verizon Wireless, and even Miracle Whip. Media can help stimulate the economy

16 Americans FREELY Google “Tiananmen Square” Chinese Google “Tiananmen Square” under RESTRICTIONS… “The Rise of China” article

17 So Google stopped doing business with them…RIP…

18 “North Korea” article

19  Cultural Isolation from the rest of the world… “In recent years, conditions within North Korea have continued to deteriorate. The state-run economy is in shambles… It is probably the most isolated country on earth. There is no Internet for ordinary citizens. TVs and radios are altered so they receive only government channels. Punishment for watching foreign films or TV shows is stiff—six months in a labor camp for watching a Jackie Chan action movie from Hong Kong.” --UPFRONT MAGAZINE

20 Amendment I… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

21 Connecting Learned Knowledge to the GP From Info-Gathering to Brainstorm to Essay

22  Guess what? You just learned enough information to enhance the content of several essay prompts!  MEDIA PROMPTS:  Can the media ever be relied upon to convey the truth?  Should the press be completely free?  “Advertising is a modern art form.” Do you agree?  In what ways can advertising be useful and entertaining?  “Advertisements always promise more than they deliver.” Discuss.  Assess the claim that an uncensored press is dangerous.  How far should the media of any society reflect the views of its leaders?  Assess the qualities to be found in a good advertisement.  “The media can be largely blamed for a worldwide increase in violence.” To what extent do you agree?

23  Think Smart: The prompts in the list below are NOT “media” prompts in the direct sense; but how can you use your new “media” knowledge to weigh in on the matters below?  Is television anything more than an escape from reality?  Account for the ever-increasing popularity of digital photography?  “All art is useless.” Discuss.  “In the modern world, image is everything.”  Are films or movies only for entertainment and nothing else?


25  RESTRICT MEDIA:  Otherwise, it unfairly manipulates its viewers  Otherwise, it can be misleading/ deceiving  Doing so helps shield the public from inappropriate content/filters it  DO NOT RESTRICT: rights  It’s part of our rights as citizens political  It helps us openly communicate on a political level economy  It stimulates the economy  We already have restrictions in place that work


27 Before you begin writing, draft a quick THESIS statement…this is the main idea of your essay and will guide discussion of ideas in an organized fashion.

28 democratic economy political socially  Since it is such an invaluable resource to its audience, modern media should not be limited in a democratic society because it fuels the economy, it enhances the political landscape, and it socially empowers its citizens.

29 Let’s take a look at a SAMPLE ESSAY SAMPLE ESSAY

30 A frail, bald, toothless woman explains to the audience in a raspy smoker’s voice how she gets ready for her day. She puts in false teeth, adjusts her wig and places her hands-free voice box on her throat before she ties a scarf around her neck to cover the hole there, the result of a previous surgery to remove throat cancer. The 30-second television commercial is part of the national 2012 Smoking Campaign that uses graphic, true-to-life images, which are intended to shock people into giving up their smoking habit. Knowledge like this is shared with society through various forms of media, including television, newspapers, magazines, radio, and of course, the Internet. Since it is such an invaluable resource to its audience, modern media should not be limited in a democratic society because it fuels the economy, it enhances the political landscape, and it socially empowers its citizens. Attention- Getter Transition to Topic Thesis

31 TOPIC SENTENCE: Television is on of the most powerful forms of communication, and the freedom to air without restriction can greatly benefit American businesses and the U.S. ECONOMY. “Now That’s Advertainment” article + “Truth in Advertising” articles

32 TOPIC SENTENCE: Not only does a non-restricted media help economically, it also enhances society’s POLITICAL landscape. American Revolution knowledge + “The Art of Dissent” article

33 TOPIC SENTENCE: However, if we restrict the media, it could negatively affect our social rights. “The Rise of China” article North Korea knowledge

34 Realize that your audience won’t necessarily agree with everything you have to say… When you brainstorm, anticipate destroy or minimize opposing viewpoints When you brainstorm, anticipate the points that might be raised against your argument, and use concrete examples to either destroy or minimize these opposing viewpoints.

35  The media should be restricted because too much freedom in the media can lead to deceit and manipulation of ideas.  Recall the ideas below that you originally considered that your audience could also be thinking about…  STALIN/RUSSIAN REVOLUTION  TIME MAGAZINE/O.J. SIMPSON

36  STRIKE BACK by starting with any of the following approaches: manipulation  Although some media companies have been guilty of unfair manipulation in the past such as Time Magazine’s sinister depiction of O.J. Simpson prior to his conviction, most news organizations have strict rules prohibiting this behavior.  Federal Trade Commission: truth-in-advertising laws  Better Business Bureau  Better Business Bureau : complaints and intervention  Legal Action  Legal Action: companies suing companies (AT&T sued Verizon; FedEx sued UPS) as a form of “self-policing” “Truth in Advertising” & “Can You Believe Your Eyes?” articles

37  And while it may be true that information has been manipulated in the past by Communist dictators like Russia’s Stalin, Cuba’s Castro, and China’s Mao, this type of behavior is not typical in a modern, democratic society. These authoritarian leaders are an exception to the rule. More often than not, there are rules and consequences for political figures who take the dangerous risk of manipulating the media to lie to the public…

38  Insert them anywhere into the body paragraph discussion to strengthen a point further.  Be careful how you word them…don’t contradict yourself or you’ll weaken your own argument!  Spend minimal time raising the opposition’s view (point), and spend maximum time presenting the evidence you have to refute this view (counter). This will make it clear where your allegiance lies!

39 In conclusion, limiting media in a democratic society will only bring about negative consequences that impact citizens’ financial, political, and social well-being. While some exceptions to the rule might exist, more often than not a free and unlimited press helps a society thrive because it provides a trustworthy medium for communicating, and it educates the people so they can make informed decisions. Since 1989, the American television station, NBC, has aired their public-service campaign called, “The More You Know.” The goal of these commercials is to provide its audience of over 60 million viewers with information they can use to prevent issues such as child abuse, drinking and driving accidents, while promoting issues like Internet safety. As a members of society, the more we know, leads to the more united we are as a people, and a free press is the best way to guarantee us access to this empowering gift of knowledge. Briefly summarize essay content Present a final image that resonates with the audience Encourage audience a final time to adopt your side of the argument

40  Begin and end creatively…  Relate to your audience on a human level  Appeal to their minds, their hearts, and their values ( logos, pathos, ethos !)  Back up every idea with PROOF!  Face it…you need concrete evidence to win your audience over…once you establish a basic, logical point, get specific…and remember, try to what HAS happened, as opposed to what “could” happen (local/national/international examples) !  Anticipate your audience’s doubts against your argument like you would do in a Debate “Cross Examination” round, and be prepared to override them with stronger evidence on your side ( point-counterpoint !!)

41 PRACTICING THE PERSUASIVE:  Cooperative Group Brainstorm  Independent Intro-Writing + Peer Evaluation  Independent Body-Paragraphing + Peer Evaluation  Point-Counterpoint Practice  REVISION for Homework  Conclusion Peer Eval.

42 PRACTICING THE PERSUASIVE:  Individual Essay  Peer Swap/Read/Critique  Group Debrief/Sharing/Teacher Feedback

43  PowerPoint (Credits: Pavich)  Upfront Articles:  “Can You Believe Your Eyes?” by Bill Marsha (Nov. 23, 2009)  “Truth in Advertising?” by Stephanie Clifford (Mar. 1, 2010)  “That’s Advertainment” by Veronica Majerol (Jan. 10, 2011)  “The Art of Dissent” by Veronica Majerol (May 9, 2011)  “The Rise of China” by Michael Wines (Sept. 5, 2011)  “The 30-Second Campaign” by Veronica Majerol (Sept. 17, 2012)  Persuasive vs. Discursive: Intros and Conclusion handouts (Credits: Pavich)  Types of Propoganda & Propoganda in Literature handout (Credits: Gross/Esposito)

A-Level General Paper

GP is actually a very simple paper to do once you get the hang of it. Now, I said “simple”, I didn’t say easy. You do need to put in the effort, but once you get the pattern, it’s really quite a piece of cake. 

First of all, the key to doing well is to read!  


GP tests a lot of prior knowledge, or PK for short. Some people call it general knowledge or background knowledge. They all mean the same. Everything in the paper can be made easy if you know, and knowing comes from reading. Period. 

One of the best things you can do each day is to read The Straits Times. You don’t need Newsweek or Time. That’s just a waste of money, really. ST is good enough. Read especially the Opinion section. Yup, it’s boring, but it’s very useful, because quite often you get different writers giving different opinions and comments on the same issue. These are opinions and comments that you can read, digest and remember for your own use; you don’t even need to form your own opinion! Of course, having your own opinion is much better, but we’re often influenced by what we read, and, how do we have an opinion on anything if we don’t read and don't know what’s happening

So, people, read. There is no one person on earth that I know who did well without reading about current affairs. None.  

Then when we have the prior knowledge, we can then work on the necessary skills.


What I have to say here about comprehension is pretty much similar to what I say about O-Level English comprehension.  

“Comprehension” means understanding. The paper tests how well we understand the passage and the questions. 

Understanding the passage is easy when our language is strong. Even if we don’t know the content of the passage, just by having a good language foundation allows us to infer or figure out what is happening more easily. 

Having strong prior knowledge is also very useful because we can then understand immediately what the passage is talking about without having to even think about it. 

As for the questions, there are only two things you need to do – figure out whether it is an inferential type of question or an ‘answer-from-the-text’ type of question. This allows us to hunt for the answer correctly.

I often say that if your PK is good, you already can guess the answers to most of the questions. All you need to do then is to go to the passage to confirm your answers. I demonstrated this a few years back when a group of my students challenged me to answer the previous year's paper. Except for one question where it made reference to a location I was not familiar with (but mentioned in the passage) and the summary (which I needed to read the passage for), I answered the other questions correctly, yes, including the AQ, without even looking at the passage first. It was easy, because the topic for that passage was all over the news and newspapers for the previous two years.

Next, for the questions where we have to use our own words, the idea to keep in mind is not to rephrase the sentence word for word. This is guaranteed to kill you, especially if you do this for summary! I really don’t understand where students get the idea to do this.

No! The way to go about it is to take the sentence, understand the idea behind it, then re-express the idea in another way. That’s all! 


I had a good lunch can be re-expressed as The afternoon meal was good / fantastic / marvelous / wonderful. 

Is there any word-for-word rephrase?  

Then how do we learn how to do this? Again, simple, by reading.  

You see, when we read, we learn new and different ways to see and re-express the same thing. We don’t even need to figure it out on our way. We just learn and copy! Over time, this starts to become more automatic until we don’t need to think anymore. We just do. 

In GP, 're-expressing' is a very valuable skill because practically every question requires us to re-express the answer in our own words, especially summary. Summary usually attracts only 8 marks and we have no time to do what we could do in O-Level summary. However, the process is entirely the same, except we now do it mentally. The key to mastering this skills is by practising the written method again and again until it becomes natural and automatic, that’s when it becomes internalised and we can do it mentally.

I like to tell my students about a former student who would stare at the passage, and then, almost trance-like, start to write out his summary on the spot. Oh yeah, this student scored full marks for his summary in one of his school exam papers, and I have his this paper in my possession to keep as evidence to show my other students that my method works.

As for AQ, remember that it is a mini O Level composition of about 300-400 words. The structure is almost the same as your essay paper with only slight modifications:

a. Make your point i.e. topic sentence.

b. Link your point to the exact, relevant part of the passage.

c. Elaborate your point.

d. Give specific examples to justify your point.

e. Give your concluding statement.

That’s all.

Remember, too, not to repeat points from the passage. Doing this scores us a grand total of zero points because nothing is new. 

And just like in the essay, keep going back to the questions and make sure you’re answering the question. Don’t go out of point. 

Lastly, don’t worry too much about AQ. It’s only 8 or 9 marks out of 35. As long as you ensure you do all the other questions and allocate sufficient time to doing the summary and AQ, you can score 4 marks for AQ and still score an overall distinction.


Essay writing is also another simple thing to do. First, we need to know the structure of the essay. Most essays are argumentative with some occasional descriptive types.  

In general, for introductions we write what I call the URT: 

- Understanding – your understanding of what is happening about the topic in question,

- your Response

- and how you will Treat the essay i.e. the points you will raise up.

In the paragraphs, make sure you have your topic sentence, your elaboration of your main point and your evidence to justify your points.  

All the topic sentences should be able to be linked up together to form what we call an abstract i.e. a summary of your entire essay. This also tells the examiner what we have planned and organised our writing. 

Also include a paragraph of what I call a critical evaluation or CE for short. It is entirely possible to score well, maybe a B, without a CE, but an essay with a proper CE is always a superior essay because it shows the examiner that we are able to think critically, which is what GP is about anyway. 

The CE is essentially your critical evaluation of what is the root problem of the topic in question. Many problems have their root in the failings of human nature, and an understanding of Maslow’s triangle (or pyramid) is very useful here. 

No worries if we’re not critical thinkers by nature. As I’ve said above, read ST every day. They very often have critical commentaries about current affairs, and once you’ve read enough, you’ll get a hang of knowing how to look at issues critically.

Final Words

The above are brief details that will help anyone preparing for the General Paper. Time and space do not allow me to go into too much detail. Besides, there are things that have to be shown, not write about. 

In our lessons, we learn exactly how to: 

- Read a passage to understand what’s happening,

- Read a passage to learn the topic content,

- Identify the question type in the comprehension questions,

- Search for the correct answer,

- Infer the correct answer,

- Re-express the idea in your own words,

- Write a good summary in 16 minutes,

- Write the AQ, and in less than 16 minutes,

- The correct structure to write argumentative essays,

- Use sample essays to learn the mechanics of good writing,

- And many more tips and tricks to do well in the paper. 

If you wish to learn how to do well for your General Paper, details on lessons can be found at the tab above.

0 thoughts on “Aice General Paper Example Essay Format

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *