Extended response questions (8 marks and 12 marks) on ITGS examinations are marked according to the following criteria:

  • Explicit references are made to the scenario and to the specific question asked throughout the response. Too often students have tried to memorize lists of positives and negatives for various situations and then fail to apply them to the particular situation and stakeholders. This results in very low marks.
  • Knowledge and understanding of relevant ITGS issues and/or concepts are demonstrated. This can also include impacts on the various primary stakeholders which may include those responsible for the development, those affected by the IT development and those who may be affected by a solution for an IT-related issue.
  • ITGS terminology must be used appropriately throughout the response. ITGS terminology includes both IT terminology and those words associated with social and ethical considerations. One of the famous mistakes is saying that ‘servers may be insecure‘. Although this is probably contributed to a language mistake. Since this is ITGS terminology, it should have been addressed early on in studying ITGS. Many times students confuse the terminology that appears in Strand 1: Social and ethical considerations.
  • Conclusions and/or judgments that are well supported and underpinned by a balanced analysis. A balanced argument shows both sides of an issue. This can achieved by looking at the various primary stakeholders and their involvement in the issue. Other times it can be the result of looking at a solution and weighing up the impacts against the considerations involved in implementing the solution.

The question is ‘what exam-taking techniques can be used to help meet these criteria?’ Here is a sequence of suggested approaches:

  • read the question carefully and underline IT systems, stakeholders and ITGS terminology.
  • understand the particular description in the scenario before progressing to the questions
  • read a question carefully paying particular attention to the command term
  • underline keywords in the question, noting what is required and the particular focus of the question
  • jot down keywords for responding to the question (i.e. sometimes these word are recorded in a table of stakeholders vs positive/negative considerations)
  • organize responses in a logical sequence by numbering and drawing links between key ideas.
  • check for balance
  • write a logical response and include examples.
  • write using transition words
  • at the end of each paragraph answer the question ‘so what?’ or ‘so what does this mean?’
  • at the end of the extended response again answer ‘so what?’ or ‘so what does this mean?’ in order to reach a conclusion
  • throughout the response use transition words to create bridges between ideas and contrasting ideas

What are transition words?

Transition words help achieve a smooth writing style that allows for additional points, contrasting or balanced point of view, sequenced responses and conclusions.

transition word cloud

It is not necessary to memorize pages of transition words from sites such as The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin.

However, students should can use these words to highlight examples (i.e. for example…, in fact…, furthermore…), make additions (i.e. likewise…, moreover…, also…), provide a balanced argument (i.e. on the other hand…, but…, however…), sequence and order (in the first place…, lastly…), analyze/evaluate and make conclusions (i.e. above all…, as a result…., consequently…,  in conclusion…).

Success on ITGS examinations depends upon both applying understandings and knowledge as well as using appropriate exam techniques.