Question B trends

Just to satisfy my own curiosity, I made a list of the formats that have appeared as QB’s over the years. Here’s the breakdown:

2014 = news report, talk, letter

2013 = talk, introduction to a book, opinion piece.

2012 = letter, proposal, article for school website

2011 = feature article, talk, 2 diary entries

2010 = interview, letter, radio talk

2009 = script of a scene in dialogue form, speech, letter

2008 = letter, 2 diary entries, article

2007 = election leaflet, radio presentation, letter

2006 = diary entry, letter, report

2005 = 3 diary entries, letter, proposal/memo

2004 = talk, report, letter

2003 = letter, radio talk, 3 diary entries

2002 = letter, text of an ad, radio or TV talk

2001 = talk, article, presentation


Once you highlight the ones which occur repeatedly – news report/article; talk/speech, letter, diary entries, report – you can see that the following have appeared only once or twice:

  1. introduction to a book
  2. proposal
  3. interview
  4. script / dialogue
  5. leaflet
  6. text of an ad

However, you’re not selecting which QB you’ll do by format, you’re also selecting a topic that you’re interested in and that sparks your imagination. A format that seems ‘easy’ may prove very difficult because of the topic you’ve been given to write about or because it needs to be based closely on the text that precedes it; or because of the target audience it’s aimed at. Furthermore, if loads of people pick this option, it’ll be harder to make yours stand out as fresh and original and impressive.

So remember, the things to consider when selecting a QB are:

Topic – do you have something to say about this issue? Can you make your content fresh and original? And really, really important, can you make it up entirely or does it have to be based on the text? It is REALLY IMPORTANT that you read the question carefully to figure this out.

Audience – who will be reading what you write? How formal/informal should it be? Can you write in this register?

Genre / Format – as long as you’re fairly familiar with the general layout, there’s usually no ‘one right way’ to approach a given format. Try not to let a less common format put you off.

Style – what’s appropriate here? Description? Logical argument backed up by statistics and examples? Emotional confessional first person narration? Informative bullet points? Or a combination of many of these elements? Your style must match your task and genre…


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