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Short Answer Questions

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OPERATION SAQ: THE SPECIAL
FORCES AGENDA OF HISTORICAL
WRITING
GET IN, DO THE DEED (ADQ), GET OUT.
STRUCTURE
Answer stems a, b, and c in order. It
helps the you focus on the task at hand;
often when you ramble on in a paragraph
you get lost in the task, stray from the
stem, and forget you are writing a SAQ,
not an essay. It also makes it easier for the
grader, so they will be more likely to read
the entire answer. SAQs are not essays,
you need to get in, do the job, and get
out; the more structure the better.
DON’T RESTATE THE
PROMPT; JUST ADQ
NEVER quote the prompt or prompt
stem. Simply put, it wastes time, space,
does NOTHING for the answer, and will
costs points. If the question asks for a
similarity between the Chesapeake and NE,
they do not need to say "one similarity
between the Chesapeake and New England
colonies was..." Just get to it and ADQ.
IF IT WANTS SPECIFIC, GIVE
IT SPECIFIC
When the task calls for specific, try to
answer the prompt/stem with a proper
noun plus an explanation. This achieves a
level of specificity that is being asked for
in the prompt without wandering aimlessly
through the answer.
“MR. SCALIA, HOW MUCH IS
ENOUGH?”
Each prompt stem can be accomplished
in two to three sentences each. One
sentence is too brief and does not indicate
depth of understanding; more than three
begins to ramble and wastes time and space.
The secret to a good score on a SAQ is to
be precise and concise . . . and ADQ.
DO THE DUMP
Make sure you have a solid bank of
information by doing a data dump as soon
as you interpret what the prompt/stem is
asking. This will help you analyze your data
to determine which is your strongest
information, rather than grasping something
relatively weak off of the top of your head.
Doesn’t have to be intensive, but use the best
of what you have . . . and remember that
whatever that information is, is has to
ADQ.
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