Students sitting the liberal studies DSE exams on Wednesday faced a more challenging exam than previous years, with some students struggling to complete Paper 1 in time.
Of the data response questions in Paper 1, Q1 asked students about Hong Kong people volunteering overseas, while Q2 focused on the sources of stress for DSE students. Q3 asked students to examine the controversies surrounding organ donation policies in Singapore and Iran.
In the Paper 2 exam, students had to choose one of three questions about the phenomenon of China’s ‘left-behind children’, the Hong Kong government’s subsidies on electric vehicles, or antimicrobial resistant superbugs.
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Liu Tin-yan, a Liberal Studies tutor at King’s Glory Education Centre, said that Paper 1 was harder than in previous years:
“Compared to the past papers that students normally do, [...] the changes in the way the questions were worded and the questions that were asked was larger than in previous years,” she said. Liu said that some questions in Paper 1 used terminology that would be unfamiliar to some students, such as “conclusions” or “belief”.
“These types of questions have been rare in previous years,” she said, adding that many students may not have prepared for these kinds of questions.
“I expect there will be many students who will not be able to finish Paper  in time,” Liu added.
Eunice Yip, 17, from Pooi To Middle School, said she found Paper 1 to be tricky, and was not able to complete some of the questions in two hours. “I didn’t expect the first question about volunteering,” she said. “I spent so much time thinking about the concepts and I didn’t have enough time to finish the papers,” Eunice added.
Roi Joshua Abad Cruz, 18, from PAOC Ka Chi Secondary School, found the paper to be easier than expected, although the timing was still tight for Paper 1. “I think the last question of paper one about the kidney donation really threw me off. I wasn’t prepared about that part of public health and I did poorly on that,” Roi added.
For Paper 1, secondary school liberal studies teacher Cheung Yui-fai said the sub-questions (c) for Q1 and Q2 were more demanding.
Q1(c), for instance, asked students to use the sources provided and their understanding of citizenship to argue that Hong Kong citizens should volunteer locally rather than abroad.
Cheung said the question examined students’ sense of belonging to Hong Kong, as well as their roles as global citizens.
As for Paper 2, secondary school liberal studies teacher Fong King-lok said the most challenging question was be Q3(b), which involves defining ‘globalisation.’
“From my teaching experience, students are more familiar with social issues[[that] happened in [close] proximity. But this question involved the greater world, and therefore demanded students to illustrate global perspectives and use abstract thinking,” said Fong.