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Taking Paper 3B to Another Level

Like you, I’m familiar with the trials and tribulations of the HKDSE; I was a candidate myself just a few years ago. Since preparing other students for their exams, I’ve found Paper 3B to be one where candidates often lose marks unnecessarily. It may seem like a mad scramble to copy down everything from the data file, but there is more technique to this exam than just writing very quickly.


Organisation and Coherency

This is something many students overlook in their Paper 3B, but it can contribute a lot to your final score. I’m sure you’ve been advised to use colours to mark different points for each task in Part B. To better organise your points and create a more coherent flow, you should also create a rough outline according to the requirements of each task before writing. Label the previously identified point to decide which paragraph or section it should belong in and list them in your outline before starting to write.

For example, you may mark down A1, A2, and A3 for the points that belong in section A of your task, and proceed to paraphrase the points in order.



This refers to the register, tone and style of your writing. Again, this is another area that many students overlook. When you write, you need to make sure the register, tone and style fits the context of the task. Remember, you are roleplaying as Chris Wong in your exam, so you need to stay in character!

For an example, if it is a workplace email, it should be polite and not overly casual. Start your letter with ‘Dear Tom’ and sign off with ‘Best Regards, Chris’. Other phrases also need to be checked for appropriacy. For example, instead of ‘I need this arranged by tomorrow’, write ‘Please arrange this by tomorrow.’ (For more tips on writing, see our recent article on Paper 2.)


Paper 3B may be the cause of hand cramps and frantic page-turning, but really, there isn’t much to fear. Stay confident and focused, and you will be okay!