If you struggle at the dreaded Source-based Qns (SBQs) and keep thinking to yourself, “I don’t understand the source”, this article might be useful.

Every SBQ Case Study has what I call a BIG QUESTION at the top of the page.

Use it as a hook to understand the sources!

It’s usually:

  • Bolded and aligned to the middle of the page
  • Controversial or debatable
  • And yes, it usually ends with a question mark 😛

Examples of Big Qs

  1. “Who was responsible for the ABC War/Conflict?”
  2. “How beneficial/effective was Policy XYZ?”

The sources listed in the case study would answer the Big Qn.

Read the sources to see each source’s answer to the Big Qn is, and you’ll get the Overall Message of the source.

For example, take the Big Q: “Who was responsible for the ABC War/Conflict?”

Source A contains lots of negative phrases about country D —> Src A’s overall msg is that country D is responsible

Source B contains negative phrases about country F’s actions, —> author thinks that country F is responsible

This gives you a handle so that you don’t end up misinterpreting the source, which will result in a fail mark (no matter how closely you follow your answer formats).

Using the Big Qn as an understanding hook helps you get a crystal clear understanding of the source’s message, which is critical to passing SBQs.

Try it!

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