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 Why Extended writing?

Science examinations now require students to explain their answers in depth. At the moment, there is no requirement that the answer be as a paragraph, in continuous prose. Diagrams and charts may also be used as long as they explain the answer in a clear and logical way..

In short, in extended response questions, you are awarded marks for:

  • the quality of the answer- use of appropriate subject vocabulary (Key words)
  • flow or coherence

But this differs depending on whether its a 'knowledge' or 'experiment' answer.

Types of questions and resposes (more marks as you go from AO1 to AO3)

  • Identify the relevant ideas, using appropriate key words. Ideas may not necessarily be linked together. For experiments: method may not necessarily produce reliable data (AO1-Demosntrate knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas and methods)
  • Link and apply the the ideas. For experiments: design a method that would lead to reliable data (AO2-Explain and Apply)
  • Make conclusions and judgements. For experiments: In addition to a clear and valid method that can produce reliable data, identify weaknesses of the method, suggest improvements in techniques and materials. (AO3-Evaluate or justify)

This is a huge demand on students but hooray! we are here to help.

Step 1

Read the question and pay attention to its command words i.e. describe, explain etc.

-Describe means 'give me the picture'

-Explain means 'tell me the science behind it'

Step 2

Pay attention to what the command word asks you to act on i.e. is it a concept e.g. energy, enzyme action, bonding or a process e.g. photosynthesis, respiration or is it a pattern?

Step 3 Key words

Think about the knowledge that you have about the subject - what are the key words in that area?

Step 4- Connectives

To make it 'flow' what connectives are you going to use?

Here are a few examples and where to use them:

To add information To give examples To contrast To sequence To argue To conclude



to add


for example

for instance

as an illustration


despite this

in contrast


initially, then..

First.., second ..., third

Following this...






In conclusion

In summary

To sum up

To summarise..

As a conclusion ..

As stated...

Now that you have gathered your key words (subject language) and connectives, you are ready to write down your answer