Tips for success in Paper 3

You will be required to read a relatively long extract about a piece of qualitative research (the stimulus material). As with all IB exams you have 5 minutes reading but you are not allowed to annotate during this time.

When the 5 minutes is up then you should read the scenario again very carefully looking for the hooks; you should read it several times from differing perspectives curing you to think laterally about the piece in as much detail as you can; imagine the study as though you are the researcher, a participant, someone of the ethics committee, someone working in a similar field who wants to know whether the study applies to their line of work etc.

One you have really engaged with the text its time to start writing; you have three compulsory questions, meaning you have about 15 minutes to write each answer, that’s 45 minutes writing and 15 reading and planning your answers (5 mins planing and proofing time per answer)

It is also recommended that candidates are trained to write balanced evaluations and discussions instead of presenting personal opinions or speculations with limited relevance to the questions asked.

  • Pay close attention to the command term in the question and make sure your response fits , e.g. EXPLAIN means HOW and WHY
  • Revise all the vocabulary for Paper 3 with care and try and integrate this in a “joined up” and selective manner in your responses
  • Use the extract material; there should be plenty of hooks for you to spot and these will provide links with the question; you need to line reference systematically in your responses
  • If the question gives numbers, e.g. two or more, pay close attention and do as you are told, also beware breadth over depth is not always a successful strategy as you may tend to chuck out loads of ideas and fail to comply with the command term requirements in any systematic way.
  • Although you should think about how one area of the spec links to other areas, try not to deviate too far from the question itself and relate all your point back to the question to show the examiner that you are answering in a focused manner.
  • Paper 3 answers do not require an intro or a conclusion, just get on with answering the question!
  • when evaluating, aim for a balance of strengths and weaknesses communicated through logical chains of reason
  • avoid personal opinions or speculation