Essay Questions

Essay Questions 13

Year 5 Common Test

1. “Religion has only resulted in divided societies.” What is your view?

2. “People who are in poverty have only themselves to blame.” Comment.

3. Should scientific research be largely driven by commercial interests?

4. “The pursuit of gender equality will do more harm than good.” Discuss.

5. “New media is a new evil.” Discuss.

Year 6 Common Test

6. “Literature, drama and art  all amount to making something out of nothing.” Is this a fair assessment of the arts?

7. “Image is everything.” How far do you agree with this statement?

8. Do you think your society will benefit from having more freedom?

9. “Fine in principle but a failure in practice.” How far do you agree with this assessment of democracy?

10. How far do you agree that war is a necessary tool for peace?

11. “Moral considerations hinder scientific progress.” Comment.

12. Would you agree that we can do little to help the poor in our world today?

13. “Science makes believe in God obsolete.” Comment.

14. Discuss the extent to which it has become harder to lead healthy lives today.

15. “The rise of the East and fall of the West are inevitable.” Do you agree?

16. Do you agree that the tools of social media have reinvented social activism?

17. To what extent should schools use examinations to evaluate students?

18. Consider the view that efficient government is more important than democracy.

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Essay Questions 12

1. What are the factors responsible for increasing economic globalization? Discuss the consequences of such a trend.

2. “The United Nations has proven itself incapable of solving both regional and global problems and should be dismantled.” Do you agree?

3. What changes, if any, would you like to see in the people of your country?

4. Describe and justify your philosophy of life.

5. How should the spread of AIDS be combated?

6. Do you agree that nuclear power is the only practical solution to the world’s energy problems?

7. “The modern woman has paid too high a price for equality.” Do you agree?

8. “The greatest danger of science is that it is seen by modern man as the answer to everything.” Discuss.

9. “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” Do you agree?

10. Is it true that the promotion of the Arts is a luxury which only rich, developed nations can afford?

11. “Nearly all non-conformists are merely attention seekers.” Do you agree?

12. Discuss the purpose, value and effectiveness of any two recent government campaigns in your country.

13. “Some people need advice; most need orders.” How far do you agree with this view?

14. What do you understand by the concept of a mature person?

15. “All history is biased.” How far do you agree with this view?

16. “Let him who desires peace prepare for war.” Is this a sound advice?

17. Do you agree that Western society has gone too far in its questioning of all forms of authority?

18. Is Science necessarily the key to the advancement of Mankind?

19. In what ways is statistical literacy important?

20. What do you consider are the advantages and disadvantages of having an armed police force?

21. Which three technological developments do you feel will have the greatest impact on mankind in the next decade? How and why will they change our lives?

22. “Censorship is always self-defeating and therefore futile.” How far do you agree?

23. “Economics is not a science but merely a form of modern witchcraft.” Discuss.

24. “American culture is having a pervasive and polluting influence on the rest of the world.” How far do you agree?

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Family and Gender Essay Outline

The author of this post has kindly mapped out the thinking process:

Does tradition still have a role to play in modern societies?

Key words

Tradition: set of (cultural) beliefs, customs, practices, values long-established and passed down from generation to generation
Still: It is assumed that it had a role to play in the past. Consider the changes in society that might have led to the above viewpoint.
Role to play: Consider if it still serves a purpose, or if it is of value.
Modern society: Identify the distinguishing features of modern society and explain how they might have diminished or enhanced the roles played by tradition.

Possible stands:

Yes, but (acknowledge the effect globalisation has on attempts to maintain a unique culture/traditions)
(Yes) Prove that tradition still has strong value (for whom? In what ways?) even in our modern society (don’t merely list benefits and disadvantages)


Argument: Even as societies develop, they do not completely abandon their sense of right and wrong. Traditional value-systems are an important tool for government systems to keep people in check and a vehicle for passing on certain moral values

Reason: Pure reliance on a legal system to police a state is not always effective The use of value systems and the emphasis of traditions can become an educational tool that helps to breed pro-social behaviour in society, aiding the government in maintaining order.

Explanation: Asian, Confucian values ensure a disciplined, orderly and stable society and inculcates a healthy respect for authority and the state.

Evaluation: Furthermore, such traditions can keeps peace in society especially when sexual depravity, child abuse, theft, murder and other disruptive issues are reaching very worrying levels in more liberal societies.

Conclusion: If traditions are not harmful nor do they strip away any fundamental rights, if maintained and abided by, tradition helps to maintain proper social conduct in society.

Other possible arguments (agree)

Tradition makes us unique (provides us an identity) and adds variety to a world that celebrates diversity.
+ An economic argument: maintaining tradition adds to uniqueness  tourism.
Traditional values and practices help us to better appreciate our ethnic cultures and understand the workings of our own societies

Traditional value-systems have been present in societies for centuries, keeping people in check and passing values on to the young. E.g. Asian, Confucian values ensure a disciplined, orderly and stable society. If maintained and abided by, tradition helps to maintain proper social conduct in society.

Balance (BUT)

Show that unique traditions tied to a country may not hold much value/purpose in a rapidly changing, borderless /globalised world

In a globalised world, tradition continues to put in place differences that are barriers that impede development and global co-operation (economic, social, even educational reforms)

An over-dependence on traditional values may inhibit the growth and dynamism inherent in national cultures – especially in younger, still changing nations.

Traditional values can continue to discriminate women in a patriarchal society. (or lead to other forms of intolerances and disapproval)

The strict maintenance/laws/censorship to “protect” conservative traditional beliefs may preserve the integrity and good behaviour of the people but may restrict expression and growth in some of the arts.

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Essay Questions 11

‘Discrimination against women is still a global social epidemic today.’ Is this true?

‘There has never been a better time to be a woman.’ Is this true of the developed world?

‘Stereotypes are generalizations that should not exist.’ Comment.

‘A woman has to make an extra effort to succeed.’ How far is this true in today’s world?

‘A civilized society is characterized by tolerance.’ Discuss.

How far do you agree with the view that gender equality remains as a distant dream?

‘Gender is no longer a helpful concept.’ Do you agree?

“It is definitely more advantageous to be a diverse society than a homogeneous one.” Discuss.

“Minorities always suffer!” Is this necessarily true in today’s world?

How far do you agree that men are more discriminated against than women in modern society?


“Women do not need equality today, men do.” Discuss.

“Science is the root of modern society’s problems.” Do you agree?

“Technology makes us less able to relate to one another.” Do you agree?

“This has always been a man’s world, and none of the reasons that have been offered in explanation have seemed adequate.” Do you agree?

“The last bit of rainforest should not be destroyed even if there is no one left who values it.” Do you agree?

“Preserving the environment should be the responsibility of only developed nations.” Comment.

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Essay Questions 10

The following questions are adapted from “KS Bull 2012 Issue 1”:

“It is increasingly challenging to be a man today.” Do you agree?

“Technology has made us worse communicators, not better”. What do you think?

“We asked for workers. We ended up with problems instead.” Is this a fair assessment of the impact of foreign workers in Singapore?

“The world is a book and those who do no travel read only one page.” Do you agree?

Discuss the view that science and technology give us hope for the future.

Is it always the responsibility of the state to help the poor?

Do you agree that mass media should pursue responsibility and not profit?

Are the concerns about the need for us to conserve our environment exaggerated?

“The prospect of a global village is a depressing one.” Discuss.

“An unhappy marriage is best resolved with a divorce.” Comment.

To what extent has new media changed the face of human interaction?

Can national nuclear programmes ever be justified?

Discuss the view that the environment can only be saved through the efforts of developed nations.

“Advertisements truly reflect what a society desires.” Do you agree?

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Essay Questions 9

The following essay questions are adapted from “KS Bull 2011 Issue 2”:

“The government always acts in the interest of the people.” Discuss.

“Terrorism is born out of oppression.” Do you agree?

Is pragmatism an impediment to real progress in Singapore?

“The arts disturb while the sciences reassure.” How true is this?

“Democracy is not for everyone.” Comment.

To what extent does technology facilitate crime?

To what extent does the media create mediocrity?

Is China a better role model for the world than America?

How important is history in shaping a country’s future?

To what extent is nature valued in your country?

“Women in the developed world have never had it so good.” Do you agree?

“Retirement is a redundant world today.” To what extent is this true?

“Big business cannot be trusted.” Discuss.

To what extent does your country challenge the current state of affairs?

“We have no permanent friends, only permenanet interests.” Is this a good principle to follow in conducting relations between countries?

Do you agree that the barriers to scientific research in the 21st century are more ideological than technological?

Would you agree that the world need smore order than it needs freedom?

To what extent do you agree that the media has been a liberating force?

“Diversity is divisive.” Discuss.

“Social media has changed the face of politics.” To what extent is this true?

Consider the view that globalization destroys culture.

‘Education has only resulted in more inequality.” Do you agree?

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Essay Questions 8

The following essay questions are adapted from “KS Bull 2011 Issue 1”:

“Morality has no place in international politics.” Discuss.

“Pop culture is all about appearance.” Is this a fair statement?

To what extent is the commercialization of sport a positive trend?

Would you agree that modern technology addresses our human desires  more than our needs?

“Art has little practical value in today’s society.” What is your view?

Have we paid too high a price in our pursuit of economic growth in Singapore?

“Education in modern society  focuses too much on the sciences.” Discuss.

“Whoever controls the media controls the world.” To what extent do you agree?

To what extent is raising the retirement age a necessary evil in today’s society?

How far is modern consumerism a threat to the environment?

Is world government a good idea?

“The media does not require more freedom; rather it needs to exercise more responsibility.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

“Powerful branding now dictates consumer choice.” Do you agree?

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Essay Questions 7

The following essay questions are adapted from “KS Bull 2010 Issue 2”:

Do the arts have a future in Singapore?

“Fear is the root of war.” Discuss.

Have international sporting events lost their true purpose today?

“Going green is a luxury only developed countries can afford.” Comment.

Can having too much knowledge in today’s world be dangerous?

To what extent can international aid be truly effective?

Can terrorism ever be eradicated?

“At the end of the day, government is all about teamwork and partnership.” Comment.

“The media does not require more freedom; rather it needs to exercise more responsibility.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

“One ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Discuss this statement with reference to the role of modern medicine in the world today.

“Education is the great leveler.” How far is this true?

Should the responsibility for environment conservation be shouldered solely by developed nations?

“Literature is useless in a pragmatic world.” Do you agree with this view?

“New media has made us more self-absorbed than ever before.” Comment.

Is separation of religion and state a good idea?

“Happiness is no laughing matter.” Discuss.

“It would be a mistake for education to ignore the humanities.” Comment.

Can terrorism ever be eradicated?

To what extent should the private lives of public figures be the subject of media coverage?

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Essay Questions 6

The following essay questions are adapted from “KS Bull 2010 Issue 1”:

Consider the value of play.

“There is no lack of policy in environment conservation; it is the people who lack conscience and sensitivity.” How far is this true?

“Science cannot stop while ethics catches up.” What is your view?

Are the Arts a luxury we should dispense with, especially in difficult economic conditions?

How far would you say that singlehood has been hugely underrated?

Is political corruption an inevitable condition in any society?

“Advertising has evolved over the years, but not for the better.” Do you agree?

“With economic development comes greater equality in a country.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

“City life is becoming increasingly unattractive today.” What is your opinion?

“Education heightens inequality.” Discuss.

“Science never solves a problem without creating ten more.”

“Women play a more important role than men in families today.” Do you agree?

Does the presence of a strong opposition in the government help or hinder a country’s progress?

“The world today needs more than one superpower.” Do you agree?

“Style without substance.” How far is this true of television programmes today?

“Sports stars are paid too much for their talent.” Do you agree?

“Extensive research in genetic engineering is a huge waste of money.” Do you agree?

Should a government concern itself only with pragmatic issues and not strive to be a moral compass?

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Essay Questions 5

The following essay questions are adapted from “KS Bull 2009 Issue 2”:

“Celebrities make the worst role models for today’s youth.” Comment.

Is investing in the arts ever worthwhile? Discuss the question with reference to your country.

“To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to ensure bad government.”

“Globalization makes the world a better place.” To what extent is this true today?

Is ambition always to be encouraged?

Should euthanasia be legalized in Singapore?

“More government intervention, not less.” Is this the best way to solve the problems we face in the world today?

“Countries have every right to respond with aggression when provoked.” Do you agree?

In your opinion, is your country doing enough to protect the environment?

“Foreign aid is ineffective and wasteful.” Is this true?

What is wrong with organ trading?

“Popular culture has destroyed the true meaning of love and marriage.” Do you agree?

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill. To what extent do you agree?

“The book is dead. Long live the Internet.” Discuss.

“Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.” Comment.

“Ours is a nation of immigrants that should continue to welcome immigrants.” Discuss this in relation to Singapore.

“If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” How far is this statement of societal attitudes today?

“A study of history will only make us more pessimistic about the future of the human race.” Discuss.

“Religion divides rather than unites.” Discuss.

“New forms of the media have made mainstream media redundant.” Discuss.

To what extent does technology enhance the arts?

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