Contrary to what many believe, the General Paper essay is not merely a subject that requires profound language skills. It involves careful and mature thinking, phrased into structured and fluid arguments that are able to convey one’s ideas clearly and accurately. It encourages students to be aware about global and current issues and their relevance to the local context, as well as their individual opinion. This personal voice is crucial in our fast-paced and ever changing world, where students have to be able to think independently and critically with regards to global issues. More and more so Cambridge is shifting their approach towards questions that require more than just regurgitation of content. They are focusing on critical and analytical thinking, which requires students to have a broader perspective of the question in hand, and realise how one issue is interlinked with another. To keep up with the increasingly rigorous examination expectations, students can no longer simply rely on memorizing content or model essays. No doubt, content is an important foundation to build and support arguments. However, careless listing of content examples in examinations today may prove to be ineffective in scoring and in fact, time consuming.
As per the syllabus demands, this book discusses a range of topics including, but not limited to, science and technology, the arts, global concerns, local interests, etc. It aims to deliver alternative perspectives, inter-topic linkages and evaluation, along with plain content. This stimulates the student’s ability to develop mature understanding of the environment in which we live in, to think about the issues that plague our world today, and helps to broaden their outlook while remaining mindful and grounded to our local experiences. Multiple arguments and conflicts are also provided as a suggestion to guide students to evaluate issues according to their implications and significant on individuals and society as a whole. Students must carefully study the arguments and add in their personal voice to ensure that at the end of the book, they are given a competitive advantage in expressing creative, critical and mature responses quickly under a tightly timed condition.