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GP Tuition: Sample GP Examination Paper – VJC

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Here’s a sample of Essay Paper (Paper 1) shared by our ex – VJC GP tuition pupil who attended our online classes for GP:

 

1. Consider the view that formal education actually hinders individual development.


2. “The answer to crime is harsh laws.” Do you agree?

3. In what ways can art enrich our lives and enlighten our minds?


4. ‘It is a sad fact that in order to maintain a civilised society, we need to inflict barbaric punishments.’ Discuss.


5. Pet owners should be ashamed of themselves.’ Discuss.


6. Do you agree that the media are mainly to blame for perpetuating negative gender stereotypes? 


7. Have the benefits of globalisation been exaggerated?


8. 
Has the government of your country got its priorities right both in terms of its present policies and future plans?


9. 
The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.’ (Isaac Asimov) Discuss.


10. ‘The study of History places too much emphasis on individuals.’ Discuss.


11. “Modern technology is destroying the art of conversation and the skill of letter-writing.” Comment.

12. “In my opinion, a society’s maturity is best measured by …” How would you complete this statement?
Write an essay in defence of your view.

 

Bonus Essay Question on the Topic of Crime & Punishment
Q13: “Punishment should fit the crime.” Discuss.

 


VJC General Paper Tuition – Sample Model GP Essay Answer

Here is a full length sample answer to the following GP essay question:
Q2
. “The answer to crime is harsh laws.” Do you agree?

 

Our world is advancing at a breath-taking pace. Man himself is gaping at the tremendous technological progress the world has made. Ours is a progressive society. However, as the world aspires for utopia, it has to face several hurdles. One of them is crime. During the last century, crime-rates have soared. Crime is menacing our society. In order to curb human barbarism, we have laid down laws. Although harsh laws are one of the most effective ways of reducing crime to a minimal level, most important is their vigilant enforcement. Besides, I believe that, although harsh laws are proven ways of tackling crime in the short run, they are not “the” answer to crime in the long run.

 

I think the purpose of harsh laws is to deter the criminal from repeating the crime. Besides, they must be harsh enough to deter others from attempting to commit the crime. For instance, Middle-East Asian countries are known for brutal punishments for men who dishonour women. Such laws have proven to be quite effective there. However, I think, laws should not disrespect the basic human rights of the criminals. The Declaration of Human Rights states that every man is entitled to a life of dignity and safety. The society must respect the life and safety of criminals on humanitarian grounds.

 

Some may argue that criminals lose their rights by being irresponsible towards the basic human rights Swipple, of those they murder, rape, abduct or maim. However, we are in no position to punish them if we resort to equally ghastly treatment under the guise of punishment. The society must ensure that these criminals are unable to be a threat to the society again. But when there are ways like detainment, which are within the boundaries of human rights, why should they be brutally tortured? Recent reports say that the US has been handing over the suspects of the 9-11 attacks to gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and Morocco. These countries are notorious for their third degree torture techniques. I believe that a nation which tacitly condones human rights violation cannot then accuse other nations. Thus, harsh punishments should not disrespect human rights. In that case, harsh punishments are “an” effective answer to crime in the short-run.

 

Besides, harsh laws can be effective only if they are strictly and efficiently enforced. They would serve no purpose if they are diluted by corrupt practice. For instance, Singapore is a note-worthy example of strict and efficient enforcement of laws that still abide by human rights. They have been very effective. On the other hand, most countries whose Constitutions. are upheld as masterpieces in law fail to curb crime. due to imperfect infrastructure and systems of law enforcement. Thus, harsh laws are a solution to crime only if vigilantly implemented.

 

Although harsh laws are a short run panacea to crime, they are not the only solution. For permanent alleviation of the crime scene, we must tackle the root cause of crime. Empirical evidence shows that crime originates in the filth of poverty, ignorance and exist suffering or in the inherent human tendency of greed. The poorest countries of Africa like Sierra Leone, Somalia, countries of Central Asia with rampant illiteracy and South American countries show highest crime rates. The criminals in these countries are usually instigated by helplessness, hunger and suffering. The most effective way to curb crime in these nations is to help them develop rapidly. Affluent nations should divert resources from wars to such issues, which need immediate attention. The United Nations, institutions like the Red Cross and Amnesty International are quite active in this issue. People here do not need food, they want to earn it. They do not need sympathy, they need support. We need to restore their sense of pride and faith in themselves. This can be done effectively by the spread of education and information. The mass media could play an instrumental role. Such efforts. can considerably reduce crime in the long run.

 

The other cause of crime is greed. Such crimes are high in prosperous countries- bank robberies, murders and thefts, scams and scandals. These crimes need to be dealt with force. Probably, fear is the only deterrent for such criminals. Another way that society can tackle crime is by rehabilitating criminals. This has been largely successful in the Tihar jail of India. Police Commissioner Dr. Kiran Bedi was the pioneer of rehabilitating the criminals there though yoga and constructive employment. Several of them lead peaceful, happy lives thereafter. However, it is the duty of the society to give them a chance.

 

Thus, I believe harsh laws that respect human rights. when well implemented are an effective answer to crime in the short run, but in the long run there are several other methods that could permanently extricate the world from the clutches of crime.

 

VJC GP Tuition teacher’s Comments: Some good ideas and examples; well written and elaborated. Still, can add specific harsh laws as examples, mentioned and then evaluated for their effectiveness against certain crimes. Nevertheless, a good debate, albeit lacking some bite.

 


Bonus Essay Question on the Topic of Crime & Punishment
Q13: “Punishment should fit the crime.” Discuss.

 

Introduction: 
Make an observation that our innate sense of justice requires that type and severity of punishment be proportionate/equivalent to seriousness of offence. This would hopefully satisfy the victim’s desire for retribution or restitution, deter the offender and other potential offenders and reform/rehabilitate the offender. In reality, such ex act matching may not be easy to achieve and may not be desirable.

 

Body:
Why is such a proper “fit” not easy to achieve? The reason lies in the fact that it is difficult to quantify crime and punishment. Thus it is difficult to impose a punitive measure which fits the crime exactly. Would 20 strokes of the cane and imprisonment for a rapist be equivalent to the physical suffering and psychological trauma inflicted upon the victim who would probably be haunted by the horrible experience for the rest of her life?

 

Issue is complicated further by the fact that what is considered appropriate and fitting punishment is subjective and varies over time and space. Such subjectivity arises from differences in cultural / religious beliefs and political ideals, among other factors. For eg. caning is considered an appropriate punishment for vandalism by conservative Singaporeans but is branded “barbaric’ by the liberal American media, the case in point being the Michael Fay saga.

 

Generally there is some agreement that minor of fence, like throwing litter indiscriminately, should receive lighter punishment like community service. For eg. Singapore’s Corrective Work Order requires litterbugs to pick up litter in public places. Violent criminals, for eg. armed robbers, should receive more severe punishment – corporal punishment plus long jail terms. The death penalty seems appropriate for serial killers as well as drug traffickers who drain the lives of addicts, their families and extract a high social cost.

 

However, considering the death penalty to be a punishment which fits certain crimes is another controversial issue. Superficially it seems appropriate according to the principle of “an eye for an eye” i.e. a “a life for a life”. Some may object to the death penalty on the grounds that it is harsh / inhumane or regard it as murder sanctioned by the State or as an irreversible act if an innocent person were to be condemned. On the other hand, the death penalty may be seen as being too lenient on sadistic serial killers like the Russian, Chikatilo, or the American, Jeffrey Dahmer. Chikatilo, whose bestial treatment of his more than 50 victims before and after he killed them has shocked the world, seems to have had a relatively easy exit from life via execution by firing squad.

 

Furthermore, punishment may sometimes have to be disproportionately harsh and, thus, not fit the crime, in order to act as a deterrent. Take the Corrective Work Order for litterbugs in Singapore, for example. On the one hand, making the litterbug undo the damage he has wrought may be deemed. appropriate, on the other hand it could also be considered overly harsh. The offender may have only carelessly thrown a bus-ticket but as a punishment he has to clear a lot more rubbish for a longer time in full view of passers-by and the media. Surely the amount of physical labour expended and the humiliation endured are disproportionate to the of fence committed. But if the objective to deter the litterbug and other potential litterbugs is fulfilled, then lack of fit between crime and punishment may be justifiable.

 

At other times punishment may have to be lenient, when taking into consideration the age, mental status, or social background of the offender and other extenuating circumstances. This may be more hu milo mane and help reform/rehabilitate the offender while not punishing the family who may be dependent on the offender for support.

 

Conclusion:
At first sight, the statement seems just and appealing. On closer examination, however, we find it may difficult to fulfil and may not necessarily be desirable. Sometimes punishment may have to be more severe and on other occasions, more lenient on compassionate grounds. Thus, wisdom, discernment and discretion are required when deciding on the kind of punishment to be meted to of fenders.

 

 

Comment by VJC GP Tuition Specialist:

Strengths:
1. Ability to focus on the topic.

2. Balanced discussion which went beyond agreeing with the given statement.

3. Ability to quote examples to illustrate harsh or lenient punishments which were justifiable under given circumstances.

4. Awareness that concepts of crime and punishment vary over time and across cultures.

Weaknesses:
1. Lack of focus/relevance – discussion of causes of ran crime or types of punishment and their effective ness.’

2. Lack of balance – for eg. advocating death penalty for all offences, serious or minor.

3. Simplistic assumption that different types of punishment can be easily and accurately matched with various crimes and that such matching exercises are desirable.

Goof effort!!

 


More GP Essay answers (Paper 1) in our GP tuition revision guide, especially for Victoria JC GP tuition students. The focus will be to design a creditable GP essay response, with sufficient insights and mature observations. This will surely ensure your score for GP Paper 1 is at least 36 out of 50.

 


How to get to VJC ?

Victoria Junior College is situated at 20 Marine Vista Singapore 449035. The nearest MRT is Eunos (EW7) station along the East West line (EWL). Buses 13 and 55 go from Eunos to VJC in about 20 mins.

Students who do not have the time to attend our group VJC GP tuition classes, are welcome to take up our GP revision course.

Happy Revision!

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