It is interesting how exam advice for one subject can work just as well for most others – below are summaries of some tips regarding Business/Economics exams from a great blog that are just as important for Design Technology.
Remember I was discussing Command Terms in my last exam advice post – and we obviously all know the importance of making sure students understand these to reach the higher marks with Objective 3 command terms like – Analyse, Discuss and Evaluate.
Then the Business blog suggests a great way to get students interested in practicing those skills is to show the Wallace and Grommit video – embedded below called the Snoozatron. Note I also think this is a great video to show DT students – as many other Wallace and Grommit videos as they are funny but relate to problem solving and innovation of specific designs – however crazy. What students can then do is after watching the video – is to write down the different stages that the invented device went through to get Wallace snoozing highlighting whether each was successful and its advantages and disadvantages. As the Business blog suggests “Analysis is about a chain of argument.” and this should then demonstrate that to analyse, discuss or evaluate that the argument should link together rather then be separate points.
On a similar approach another way to get across the Objective 3 Command terms that involve higher order thinking skills such as evaluation, analysis and discussion you can get students to think of it as similar to going on a date. Yes you imagine this will get them thinking through these sort of questions in much more detail!
If you think deciding whether you go on a date is all about weighing up and evaluating the positives and negatives and you would sub-consciously ask yourself questions like :-
“- What might happen if you do?
– What are the potential upsides?
– What would the consequences be if something went wrong?
– Are there things that you can do to minimise the likelihood of that first date proving disappointing?
– What factors will the likely success or failure of the date depend on?
– Are you looking for a short-term or long-term romance?”
So in essence you are thinking through and almost discussing with yourself these questions – and the same can be used for exam questions. Think through this question for example – could the same questions be used?
Example Question – Evaluate laminated flooring laid on top of concrete in relation to tensile strength, toughness and hardness. 
– What might happen if you do lay the flooring?
– What are the potential upsides to this type of flooring?
– What would the consequences be if something went wrong with the flooring – splitting, cracking, something being dropped, spillages?
– Are there things that you can do to minimise the likelihood of the flooring proving disappointing and failing?
– What factors will the likely success or failure of the laminate against the concrete failing?
– Are you looking for the flooring to last forever or due to planned obsolescence only 5 years?”
Using the write link words – It depends on, However…, In weighing up the…
Finally it is important to use good linking words throughout – simple but if students go armed with the knowledge to always in these answers use – it depends on, however this may, and in weighing up the … noting that in using these words students should consider :-
“- A range of factors to consider.
– A range of views to consider.
– A range of timescales in which events unfold.
– A range of questions that still need to be asked.
– A range of value judgements to be made.”
Thanks goes to the Tutor2u.net weblog for the ideas …