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Saturday, 1 March 2014

Teknik Menjawab Soalan - Rainforest Ecosystem Maintenance (SPM 2007)

Let's analyze this SPM-2007 Paper 2 (Sec.B) question...

Below shows an ecosystem in Malaysia:

Discuss why this ecosystem has to be maintained (10 marks)

This is a discussion-type question. This type has a wide scope. It means you can provide a variety of answers casually but intellectually. (beri jawapan secara santai tapi penuh intelek).

Most students go for the description-type because it seems easier. Even most teachers & most reference/ exercise books would go for description-type because it seems more convenient. Hence, the answer would be like this:

10 marks = 10 points (descriptions)

Answers outline:

1. Provide interaction between biotic & abiotic components

2. Ensure biodiversity in the ecosystem.

3. Flora & fauna can survive --> prevent extinction

4. Provide valuable resources like timbers/ rattan/ honey

5. Ensure smooth natural cycle  (water & carbon cycle)

6. Provide water catchment areas

7. For recreational activities & ecotourism

8. Prevent soil erosion & landslide

9. Prevent flashflood

10. Prevent global warming

This provide good answers. I'm sure most of you guys agree because this is the answer format that you are familiar with. However, this is not a perfect answer for getting full marks. 3 elements are missing. Let's discuss them...

How do you organize your answers? How's the flow from beginning to the end?

Why did you say that? How do you explain your answers?

Read again - an ecosystem in Malaysia. Where are the relevant examples regarding the rainforest in Malaysia?

This question is clearly an application-type. So, better to use the PEE system which we had discussed before in my previous post

In discussion-type questions, the key point is not width, but depth. It means we shall discuss fewer points, but more explanations & more examples.

The reason why depth is more important than width in writing answers for Paper 2

This is similar to you writing your assignment/ tesis/ Master's or doctoral project in the university. Everyone can list down the points via Google/ Wikipedia. But it takes real thinking to contemplate the logical explanations with relevant examples. 

So, here is the perfect answer:

10 marks = 3 points + 4 explanations + 4 examples

Answers outline:

Point 1: Provide benefits to the natural flora & fauna
Explain 1: Rainforest provides ideal habitat for both flora & fauna for their interactions
Explain 2: Their numbers would be maintained.
Explain 3: The biodiversity would be maintained.
Example 1: Predator-prey - Malayan tiger & mousedeer.
Example 2: Mutualism - Leaf-cutter ants & fungi

Point 2: Provide benefits to the whole ecosystem
Explain 1: Rainforest provides habitat for biotic-abiotic interactions
Explain 2: Maintain equilibrium of the whole ecosystem.
Example 1: Dead substances on rainforest floor provide nitrate for nitrogen cycle. 
Example 2: Trees provide oxygen & maintain the carbon cycle.
Example 3: Rivers & streams would maintain water cycle.

Point 3: Provide benefits to humans
Explain 1: Provide water catchment area for our water resources
Example 1: Forest at Gombak provides water catchment area for Ulu Klang Gate Dam provides water supply to Klang Valley residences.
Explain 2: Provide valuable commercial resources
Example 2: Rattan, timbers, honey, petai, for consumption & wood industry
Explain 3: Provide opportunities for recreation & ecotourism
Example 3: Taman Negara in Pahang & Rompin, Johor

* There are still more points you can add such as to prevent extinction, but the answers above are more than enough since they are more than 10 sentences already = more than 10 marks already!

Now, let's analyze why the answer above is considered perfect:

Clear theme (benefits) & organization with Point 1 for flora & fauna, Point 2 for ecosystem, & Point 3 for human being.

Only 3 points are listed, but discussed deeply with many explanations.

Specific examples such as the name of the dam & national parks.

Now you know the secrets of getting perfect marks for the exam. It's up to you now to plan your teaching & learning regarding this interesting topic. Good luck!


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