I recently gave the question below to a group of students and most of them made at least one major mistake that lowered their overall mark.
I thought it would be a good exercise to discuss and analyse this question in order to help you with future questions and raise your awareness about what examiners expect in the real test.
Please do the three exercises below without looking at the sample question and then watch the video below.
Exercise 1- Question Analysis
Look at the question below and simply think about how you might answer it. Think about what the examiner wants you to do. This should take you around 1-2 minutes.
The threat of nuclear weapons maintains world peace. Nuclear power provides cheap and clean energy.
The benefits of nuclear technology far outweigh the disadvantages.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Exercise 2- Ideas
Look at the question again and think about relevant main ideas that you could use in your article. These will be your main points. Again this should only take you 1-2 minutes.
Exercise 3- Structure
Try to fit your ideas into the general structure below.
Paragraph 1- Introduction
Paragraph 2- Main Body 1
Paragraph 3- Main Body 2
Paragraph 4- Conclusion
After doing these three exercises most people have already made at least one crucial mistake that lowers their mark. Below is a video that highlights the key mistakes people make in this question.
It is often argued that nuclear arsenals keep the world safe and that nuclear energy is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly source of power. This essay totally disagrees that these benefits outweigh the drawbacks because the downsides are the eradication of mankind and the destruction of the planet.
Believing that major powers having nuclear warheads pointed at one another is a good thing because it ensures super powers will not go to war is foolish. This is because it only takes one mistake or a rogue commander to trigger a nuclear conflict and this is a conflict most of us would not survive. For example, during the Cuban Missile Crisis the United States and the USSR came extremely close to launching their missiles and this demonstrates that they are not actually the ultimate deterrent and nuclear war is possible.
The idea that nuclear fission is a clean source of energy has been dispelled by numerous high profile accidents at nuclear power plants. These disasters show just how harmful and long lasting a leak of nuclear material can be and the contamination is not worth it when other sources of energy are available. For example, the Fukushima disaster has polluted huge parts of the Pacific Ocean and it has been reported that fish as far away as California have dangerous levels of radiation. To make matters worse, solar and wind energy could replace nuclear energy tomorrow if there was the political will to do so.
In conclusion, this essay disagrees with the opinion that nuclear technology is beneficial rather than dangerous because the consequences of using nuclear energy in the wrong way are so catastrophic to both our species and the Earth itself.