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PDHPE – All about examples

Welcome back to this week’s blog. Today we’re going to be focusing on arguably one of the most critical components of HSC PDHPE – examples! We’re going to cover all things examples today, from integrating them into your responses to how many examples you should aim for depending on the mark allocation. Let’s dive straight on in.

What is the purpose of examples in a PDHPE context?

PDHPE is one of those subjects that aligns very closely with the syllabus. So, theoretically, if you have a good grasp of each of the syllabus dot-points, you will know the content relevant to the PDHPE exam. However, content is only the tip of the PDHPE iceberg! Examples are what lifts your response from a good to a great response. It is unlikely that you will be able to get close to full marks on a question without integrating some sort of examples.

How many examples should I be aiming for in my responses?

The mark allocation is a good place to start in terms of knowing how many examples you should include in a response. Unfortunately, there is no “magic number” of examples that you must include to obtain close to full marks for any given question, however as a rule of thumb:

- 1 – 2 marks = 1 example

- 3 – 4 marks = 2 examples

- 5 – 6 marks = 3 examples

- 7-8 marks = 3-4+ examples

- 10 – 12 marks = Since 10-12 markers are generally option questions; you should be including 1-2 examples per paragraph or main idea that you are covering

Depending on the NESA verb, the syllabus area or question type, you may have to adjust the number of examples around. The best way to know how many examples to include is by practising under exam conditions and then reading through your response or comparing your answer to your peers.

How to integrate examples

Have a look at these two phrases:

1. In order to improve performance, an athlete may use mental rehearsal. For example, a high jumper may mentally rehearse using all body senses, running at a speed that generates the power to leap over the bar with a perfect arched body flight before executing a perfect landing.

2. Mental rehearsal involves the creation and repetition of mental images of movements and/or sequences. For example, a high jumper may mentally rehearse using all body senses, running at a speed that generates the power to leap over the bar with a perfect arched body flight before executing a perfect landing. This will help increase the athlete’s motivation, as the athlete has gained familiarity and mental confidence with the execution of the desired motion and thus works to enhance performance.

Both these extracts use the same example. In the first phrase, the example is used to back up what the author was trying to say. This works well for lower-order verbs such as explain, where you don’t necessarily need to show as many links. However, in the second example, the example was used not only to enhance what the author was saying, but it has been integrated in a way that further strengthens the original point. An example shouldn’t just be an add-on to the syllabus content component but should create links and show that you understand the content in great depth.

To achieve this, it doesn’t come down to the example itself but the way you structure your answer around the example. Try and avoid using examples at the end of the point you’re trying to make, but rather integrate your examples into your response by:

  1. Briefly introducing the syllabus content in 1-2 sentences (point)

  2. Apply your relevant example to add depth to the content (example)

  3. Elaborate on your example by illuminating the connection between your example and the syllabus content (elaborate)

  4. Link it back to the question you’re answering (link)

This approach is known as PEEL: point, example, elaborate, link.

Specific statistics as examples

For core 1 in particular, knowing some relevant statistical evidence is important to elevate your response further. However, it is important not to get too caught up in memorising numbers and figures just for the sake of knowing them. Only use specific statistics when you know it will help you make a particular point. An example of this is when talking about health promotion initiatives under the Ottawa charter, I may say:

“Daily smoking rates have declined from 16% in 2011 to 14% in 2015, under the National Tobacco Strategy. This further reinforces the effectiveness of health promotion under the Ottawa Charter in addressing Australia’s health priorities.”

In this example, the statistic was used to help the author make a judgement about the effectiveness of the Ottawa Charter. Instead of using actual numerical statistics in your response, it is more common to use broad trends. Trends show the same level of understanding and can help you answer the question just as well (and are also much nicer to remember!)

Some final tips about examples

  1. When including an example in your response, firstly think: “what is the purpose of this example” and “does this example further highlight my point” – this will help you to integrate and use examples more meaningfully in your responses.

  2. Practice coming up with examples on the spot when writing practice responses. You can’t predict the examples you will need for the exam day but knowing how to think on your feet and come up with an example on the spot is essential, particularly for Core 2.

  3. When in doubt, more examples are better than no examples in PDHPE

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