Unwrapping iceberg questions

A popular phrase I am seeing a lot of about particular exam questions with a ‘hidden agenda’ for GCSE and A Level is – ‘the iceberg question’ This means that students have to read a question and identify the key features of it – what I call the FIT factor – FIT standing for Feature, Instruction and Topic. Once they have done this, students then have to identify other factors relating to the topic which are not mentioned in the question in order to write an answer which has depth and analysis. The iceberg being that only the tip of the iceberg is shown in the question and it is the student’s job to dig deeper and go beyond the surface.

Getting this across to students can be tricky. So I devised an information sheet that goes through the FIT factor of identifying the key elements of a question and using the iceberg analogy to help students dig deeper and identify other elements to include in their answer in order to unwrap the hidden agenda and write more secure and broader answers.

Hope you find the information sheet useful and can help your students in the run up to the forthcoming examinations.

Iceberg questions


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