Ontario's Designated Provider of Distance Education

Independent Learning Centre

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Social Studies

Hints for Social Studies

  • As you read the written selections, always ask yourself what the main idea of the text is. Often the main idea is stated or implied in the first or last sentence. If careful can't find it there, pay careful attention to the details or examples in the selection to get an idea of what main point they support.
  • When reading a graph, table, cartoon, map, photograph, or other visual representation, make sure to read all titles, legends, labels, captions, and data. They often provide important information about the main idea.
  • Look for trends, themes, and groupings in text excerpts, time lines, charts, and graphs.
  • Sometimes the questions will ask you to consider a cause-and-effect relationship. Keep in mind that a cause can have more than one effect and that, sometimes, multiple causes can result in the same effect.
  • Some questions will require you to identify implications or assumptions m the material provided. This means that you will have to read between the lines of what is actually written or presented. Often what is suggested is as important as what is directly stated.
  • Pay close attention to what the question is asking you to identify. For example, one type of question asks you to differentiate between facts stated and opinions that can be drawn from the information provided. Make sure you understand the difference: facts can be proven to be true, and opinions are judgments that may or may not be true.
  • Some questions ask you to draw only from the information that is provided in the question in selecting the best answer. Do not use prior or additional knowledge to answer such questions.
  • Some questions will ask you to apply an idea or concept from material detailed on the test to a different situation. The most important steps in successfully answering this type of question are to understand the main idea of the original material and then think of ways that this idea can be used to interpret the new situation.