General paper - Part I - Process

  General Paper: When I was doing A levels, none of us had English as our first language. It was not a big surprise that GP was comparativel...

 General Paper:

When I was doing A levels, none of us had English as our first language. It was not a big surprise that GP was comparatively one of the harder subjects to study. A big part of that being there was not much we could study for GP. The questions could be anything from anywhere. It was never sure that If I study this topic, it will come in the exam, unlike other subjects. 

During the two years of A level, I realized that the best way to prepare for General Paper is by preparing on the process rather than the content. Content is limitless if you wish to study for GP but what matters the most is how you put that content into the exam paper. 

This note is divided into three parts:

  1. Structure: How do you build your essay and present your arguments, examples, stance point, and many more.

  1. Process: From seeing the question for the first time to putting the last full stop in your paper. 

  1. Tips and Tricks: Now, you have good content in a great structure. Yet there are things that will add further value to your essay. 

The Process:

The Question:

You will have an ample number of questions to choose from. Make sure you choose the topics you feel comfortable writing about. Also, go with the topic which you feel you have more content on. You don’t wanna be giving a lot of time to think about what will I write in this paragraph amidst the pressure of time running down during the exam. 

Question Analysis:

Let’s take an example and break them down.

How far is it possible for an individual to make a stand against the society in which they live?

Keywords are the words that add significance and information in the question. Let’s break down what the keywords in our question:

  1. FAR 

This means the question is suggesting you find a limit. This also implies that it is best if you do not write an answer that has the extremest point of view. You might try writing so with good arguments as well, but it is suggested not to. Find an upper limit to what is possible has and justify that limit. 


Now, we are talking about what can be done in real life. Best if we do not bring out hypothetical examples and situations which might not be possible in our life.

  1. Individual

We are to talk about “ONE”. Also, remember this one does not necessarily mean “I” or first-person perspective only. You can bring up examples of how other individuals made stances. The question is asking you to explore the power of 1.

  1. Against the Society

These words shape the arguments we will be presenting. You can go both ways, Either say that this is how up to this limit it is possible to take a stance or go against the statement and give views on how we cannot go against the society as individuals. 


If you look into the process of painting a really nice picture. You will see that there are layers of work done. First, build an outline, then draw over it, then put in colors, and finally, the piece will be ready. Writing a good essay is no different. 

After knowing what your topic is, you can’t start putting colors immediately. You will have to build your outline.

I personally, keep 5-7 minutes of brainstorming time before I write an essay. This is where you think about your content and structure you will be writing on. The first thing to do will be to think about your position in the topic if you are going to support it, go against it, or find a middle way out and present a balanced argument.  

Don’t limit your thinking to arguments that support your stance. Think about what are the limitations in the argument you have just thought of. Try to think of examples that relate to the argument. 


Now you know the question properly. You have enough material after brainstorming. Then comes the showtime, actually writing your paper.  

It is best if you make small notes during the brainstorming period and write them (roughly). 

Refer to the structure section of the notes where we have discussed how you write your content and structure it. 


After finishing your essay, the best thing is to read it yourself. Just make sure you read your essay as a reader rather than a writer. This will help you clear out if your arguments are presented clearly. Is there any grammatical mistakes made. If some contexts need better arguments to make it more understandable. 



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Alevel Note: General paper - Part I - Process
General paper - Part I - Process
Alevel Note
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