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Short answer writing is just that. The expectation is that questions will be answered briefly either in note form or sentence form depending on the requirements of the question. With these questions the answer must always be succinct. If the question says "list" then you list, down the page, one after another.

Question - List the three levels of Government to be found in Australia . (1 mark)


Federal Government
State Government
Local Government

If there is no suggestion to list then you answer in sentences. The value of the question will indicate the length of writing which should be done for that question. Obviously a question worth only one or two marks will require only a very small amount of writing compared to a question worth 25 marks.

Often requests for definitions can be a part of the short answer writing requirements. Do not ever use another part of the same word to define a given word. For example do not define the word "imperialistic" by saying "being imperial". It is better to say "someone who wants to extend economic, political or military control over another country".

A general way of looking at short answers is that, if you are not asked to list and if the question is only worth one mark, then write a topic sentence answer. If the question is worth two marks then write a topic sentence followed by a second sentence in which a supporting statement is made.

Question: Who was Uther Pendragon? (1 mark)

Answer: Uther Pendragon was the supposed father of the fabled King Arthur of Camelot.

Note - This is an appropriate one mark answer where just the simple details are given. Note also that some words from the question have been used. The answer is not "He was the father..."

Question: Who was Uther Pendragon? (2 marks)

Answer: Uther Pendragon was the supposed father of the fabled King Arthur of Camelot. He is believed to have lived near the Welsh border of England in approximately 430 ad.

This is an appropriate two mark answer where the same detail is given but now a qualifying statement is attached.

Question: Who was Uther Pendragon (10 marks)

Answer: An appropriate answer for this question would include: who he was (see above), why he is important enough to have a question asked about him, where he may have lived, the fact that he may not have existed at all, whom he married, what his family were or became.

Reminder - Use the value of the question as an idea for how much to write.

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