Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Three years ago, Mr. Frank Franz, who teaches in Virginia offered a list of great suggestions that will help you write better responses to FRQs.

I posted them then, last year, the year before, and here they are once again.

I think these ideas are excellent. The only thing I’d add to the list would be to paraphrase the question as an introduction. In the last few years some rubrics have insisted that responses have introductions that label what is being discussed.

Here's what Mr. Franz wrote,
Here's the strategy I place on every FRQ I give my students. I believe it helps them focus on the questions and will help them earn as high of a score as possible. Some of these ideas are my own and some are from colleagues who have served as readers and table leaders.

Free Response Strategy
    •    Mark-up the question.
    •    Count up how many points you are trying to earn. (Look for number references, count the verbs)
    •    Write as many sentences as there are points.
    •    Write simple, declarative sentences.
    •    Answer the question asked. Nothing else.
    •    Answer every part of the question.
    •    Look for time references, patterns, and passage of time.
    •    Do not argue with the premise of the prompt.
    •    Skip a line between parts, but do not label.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hint for success

Want a hint for doing well on the FRQs on the exam next Tuesday?

I said it in 2006. I said it again in 2009. I said it in 2010. And I said it in 2011.

And I said it in 2012 (but you don't need another link to the advice).

(I probably said it before 2006 and at other times. It's the best advice I can offer.)


Friday, May 10, 2013

Country Concept question, 8

8. The United Kingdom and China have unitary regimes.
  1. What is a primary way in which these unitary regimes are similar?
  2. What is a primary way in which these unitary regimes are dissimilar?
  3. There is a trend toward devolution in the United Kingdom. What is a major effect that devolution has had on British governments?
  4. What is a characteristic of the Chinese nation state that makes maintaining a unitary regime difficult?
  5. What is a characteristic of the Chinese political culture that facilitates maintaining a unitary regime?
  6. What is a primary reason that devolution is not likely to be a trend in China as it is in the United Kingdom?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Country Context question, 7

7. Russia, Nigeria, Iran, and Mexico produce large quantities of petroleum.
  1. Which country's economy is most like a "rentier" economy? Why?
  2. In which country does petroleum production have the greatest influence on domestic government and politics? Why?
  3. Which country's regime is most dependent upon continued petroleum production and stable oil prices? Why?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Conceptual Analysis question, 6

6. Nearly all nation states, even non-democratic ones, are based on assumed, if not explicit, social contracts.
  1. Define the concept of social contract.
  2. Explain a primary way in which a social contract is "enforced" in a state with a liberal democracy.
  3. Explain a primary way citizens can "enforce" a social contract in a state without a liberal democracy.
  4. Is it more difficult to enforce the social contract in the UK than it is to enforce the social contract in Mexico? Why?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Short-Answer Concept questions 3-5

Here are three more Short-Answer Concept questions. You can submit responses for evaluation as comments.

3. Would the political culture of Iran or Nigeria be more threatened by an enforceable demand by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for greater transparency? Explain briefly why the political culture of the country you chose would be more threatened.

4. Under the 1993 constitution, half of the delegates to the State Duma of the Russian Federation were elected by a plurality system. In 2007, those plurality elections were eliminated in favor of electing the entire Duma by proportional elections.
  1. What is one major effect the change had on Russian political parties? Why?
  2. What is one major effect the change had on political power of the Duma? Why?
  3. What is one major effect the change had on the political power of the president? Why?
5. The historic cleavage between rural and urban Chinese citizens led Mao Zedong to base the Communist Revolution in China on the peasantry, not the working class.
  1. Briefly describe one fact that demonstrates the persistence of that rural-urban cleavage now.
  2. Briefly describe one way in which the persistence of that cleavage affects Chinese politics today.
  3. What is a major factor limiting the capacity of the Chinese state to effectively deal with this cleavage?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Short-Answer Concept questions 1-2

Here are two Short-Answer Concept questions. You can submit responses as comments and I'll try to find time to apply my rubric to them. Or you can do some research and write your own rubrics.

1.   Briefly describe two ways that a normative assumption, e.g., "The more democracy the better," could be used in an empirical comparative government and politics study by a political scientist.

2.   Identify an element of the United Kingdom's regime that is essential (i.e., necessary for its continued functioning as it now exists). Explain briefly why that element is essential.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

New Questions coming on Monday

Beginning Monday, May 6, new FRQs will appear here.

Short-Answer Concept questions, #1-5 will show up on Monday and Tuesday.

A Conceptual Analysis question (#6) will appear on Wednesday.

Country Context questions (#7-8) will be presented on Thursday and Friday.

In the meantime, feel free to practice with some of the older questions that you'll find by scrolling down.