Liberal studies candidates struggled with this challenging exam question

By Ben Pang

Liberal studies candidates were surprised by unfamiliar terms

By Ben Pang |

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This year’s DSE candidates were surprised to see the liberal studies exam contained an unusual question on Hong Kong politics. Students were given three data sources comparing democracy with economic strength. Candidates had to answer three questions regarding the trends they saw, and debate whether greater democracy in Hong Kong would improve its economy.

Candidate Ng Yan-kin from Diocesan Boys’ School said the question was particularly challenging as it used unfamiliar terms, such as “global competitiveness” and “Democracy Index”.

Joy Pamnani, a Form Six student from PLK Ngan PoLing College, said the politics question was unexpected but wasn’t that difficult to tackle. But, she said, “the definition of ‘global competitiveness’ was really vague. You had to figure that out before writing your answers,” she said.

While neither student felt examiners would take students’ political stances into consideration when marking the papers, they still thought moderation was key. Yan-kin said: “It’s important not to use expressions which are too radical. I always use quite moderate, neutral words. Joy added: “I feel [any opinion is] fine as long as you’re rational and your points make sense."

Yan-kin and Joy said this year’s Paper 2 was easier than last year’s, as questions covered popular topics such as China’s two-child policy and traditional businesses.  

Po Leung Kuk No 1 W. H. Cheung College’s liberal studies panel teacher K.M. Fong said he thought this year’s papers were demanding, as candidates were required to handle more sources and questions in  Paper 1, which required better time management.