How to Succeed in VCE Global Politics - The Basics

June 27, 2020joelleva

1. Be prepared to have your ideas challenged!

Religion and Politics! Two topics avoided like the plague during conversations as they can stir up strong emotions and opinions – sometimes ending with very heated debates. It is important to realize that as a student of VCE Global Politics you will be exposed to different opinions regarding the political landscape in almost every lesson. It is equally important to realize that no political orientation (‘left-wing’ or ‘right-wing’) can adequately describe every political situation. As a VCE Global Politics student, you will need to be prepared to listen to and appreciate other views and analyze these arguments using evidence and NOT your emotions. Being able to respond effectively to having your opinions challenged will enable you to see the other side more clearly. I recommend all my VCE Global Politics students to consider the strengths and weaknesses in their own arguments as this not only encourages them to look broader but it also prepares them to confidently give evidence for what they are saying.

2. Examine key political ideas through a variety of theoretical lenses

This is an extension of the first point, however, it is vital for VCE Global Politics students to be aware of the various theoretical lenses used to view the political landscape. These have evolved over time to account for the changing preoccupations within politics. Again, it is important to examine the same political issue through multiple lenses as this ultimately will uncover any strengths and weaknesses that a particular theory has. It is also important not to let your emotions cloud your judgement as this will automatically shut you off from what the theory is trying to say. Analyzing a Global Politics issue from multiple perspectives is a major component of Unit 4 AOS 1 so it is imperative to begin practising this essential skill now.

Some theoretical lenses include:

  • Realism/Neo-realism
  • Liberalism/Neo-liberalism
  • English School
  • Copenhagen School
  • Marxism
  • Cosmopolitanism

*The study design makes specific reference to Realism and Cosmopolitanism for Unit 4 AOS 1 so know these two in depth.

3. Pay Attention to Current Political Issues

It is assumed that you are studying VCE Global Politics because you are interested in politics to some extent. It is important that throughout the year you stay informed on the current political climate. It may be helpful to try and predict the likely outcomes or implications that particular decisions may have later on – i.e. We know Donald Trump has been elected US President but what makes him such a controversial leader? How will his policies affect Australia specifically? As a politics student simply knowing what is happening is not enough, you will need to understand how to apply this knowledge to not only the case studies you examine but also to the world in general. The greatest power we have in politics is knowledge.

At first glance, these tips may seem redundant but if you restructure the way you think about politics then this will not only deepen your understanding but it will help you analyze the arguments made by others.

Some brief exam tips:

  • Learn the key terms located within the study design. The exam has almost always asked for a definition or application of at least one of these terms. So, memorize them and know how to apply them.
  • Practice analyzing political cartoons – they have appeared in past exams and usually make a strong statement about a specific policy, institution or political figure. Learn the deeper meaning behind what these cartoons are saying.
  • Read the exam questions clearly – this may seem obvious but some questions give you multiple options but require you to respond to only one of them. These types of questions have appeared in every exam.
  • Section B is an extended response question – practice answering these types of questions according to basic essay conventions (your response needs an intro, body and conclusion).

I have many hints on how to dissect a VCE Global Politics exam question and revision tricks for this subject which I shall post in the near future.

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