A Level AQ section: Master the AQ Section in 15 Minutes

a level aq

Worried about the GCE A Level AQ section, and the upcoming mock tests? Our team at Tutopiya has provided extensive resources in the form of guides, tips, and notes.


The AQ section, also known as the Application Question section of General Paper, is undoubtedly the most challenging part for students. However, worry not, you can learn how to master the General Paper AQ section with these tips! 


About the GCE A Level AQ section

Application Question requires students to write a mini-essay with relevant and coherent points with sufficient critical analysis. This section constitutes 10 marks in Paper 2. One is recommended to spend 25 to 30 minutes working on this. 


The Application Question has an overall structure of 

– Introduction + Stand 

– Argument 1 

– Argument 2 

– (Optional) Argument 3 

– Conclusion 


4 Tips to Help You Master the GCE A Level AQ

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There are 4 main criteria the examiners will assess are: 

Requirements, Explanation, Evaluation and Coherence.


1 – Requirements

Students are encouraged to analyse the question thoroughly by identifying and underlining question requirements. 

Students should also ensure that they are able to spot the central issue of the question. This part is crucial as it ensures that students choose the right arguments from the passage to discuss them with coherence. 

Next, with a good understanding of the question, students are advised to identify the author’s argument and select at least 3 points that they understand thoroughly. 


One good tip for students when doing A Level AQ is to always refer back to the question. This is so that you do not stray away from the question and always cross-check that you are answering the question. 


How do you select the right arguments for A Level AQ?

  • Find related keywords 
  • Look for topic sentences 
  • Look out for controversial arguments


Responding to the author’s arguments 

It is highly encouraged to brainstorm possible responses and know what examples you can use to support your stand. 

Make it clear to the reader how much you are agreeing or disagreeing with each argument from the author. 

It is good to make references to the society, the world, generation and anything that is general. 


2 – Explanation 

To score well for this criteria, students will need to show a good or very good understanding of terms and issues. 

To do well, students should explain the selected argument from the passage by paraphrasing

Ensure that the arguments are not misinterpreted – refrain from using words or phrases that you are unsure of. 


3 – Evaluation 

For a good score in this criteria, students will have to make very convincing evaluations by writing down their judgments and decisions. This also includes elaboration and support through personal insight and apt illustrations. 

Students can state their level of agreement on the argument. Students should also provide enough and good evidence to support their stand and reasons. 

A good evaluation will require students to clearly identify the claims and beliefs of the writer, then identify the reasons and evidence in the passage to support them. 


Validity of argument 

Do you feel the writers’ views are biased? Are you able to provide a more objective view? 

Is the issue oversimplified? Do you think there are other causes or reasons that the writer has missed out on which could be important for the context? 

Is the evidence provided credible and reliable? Are you able to provide more concrete evidence to substantiate or show otherwise? 


4 – Coherence 

Students will need to have a clear shape and paragraph structure and organization with a cogent argument. 


Coherence within a paragraph 

Your points should flow logically in sequential order. 

Ensure you use words to link between sentences – such as linking explanation and evaluation together seamlessly. 


Coherence across paragraphs

Use linking words to show balance 

Ensure that the flow is logical and your overall stand is reflective of your evaluation. 

The AQ section is more than just showing you understand the author’s view, you need to be able to express your own viewpoints and make connections between the author’s and yours. 


In a nutshell

This section is challenging due to the time limit that students have. Within 30 minutes, the students have to write a 5 paragraph condensed essay with all the required points. 

However, with sufficient practice and hard work, you will be able to improve your writing as well as analytical skills for AQ. 


Tutopiya offers General Paper online tuition for our junior college students. The GCE A Level AQ section may only constitute 10 marks, but it still makes up a good percentage of the overall paper. Hence, it is important to focus on these marks as much as you would for the other sections. 

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