Re-comp preparation


in Canada, Geek stuff, Politics, Writing

There are now 17 days left before my Canadian politics re-comp.

Studying involves many distinct tasks, but one big one is working on outlines for responses to likely questions, as well as listing sources to use in answers.

Going back through more than 10 years of exams, I have found that there are a few questions that come up exceptionally often, with minor variations in wording. Having the outline of an answer for each is probably a good strategy:

  • Making reference to specific subfields of the discipline, discuss whether Canadian political science is more in need of research on topics on which the literature is sparse, or of research which builds on and expands existing literature. (Asked 7 times)
  • Making reference to specific subfields of the discipline, discuss why the literature on certain elements of Canadian politics makes substantial use of conceptual-theoretical perspectives, whereas the literature on other elements of Canadian politics is largely atheoretical. (8 times)
  • It has been said that “the world needs more Canada”. Can this be said of Canadian Political Science? Are there conceptual frameworks or empirical findings from the study of Canadian politics that could usefully be applied to other polities? (3 times)
  • Is the ‘democratic deficit’ in Canada growing or contracting? (8 times)
  • “The term ‘identity politics’ is fairly recent, but the substance of what identity politics entails has long been a central concern of Canadian political science.” Discuss. (5 times)
  • “For all the talk of the pervasive and pernicious effects of neo-liberalism on Canadian politics, policy and governance, its actual influence has been relatively modest.” Discuss. (3 times)

The exam consists of 3 essays, chosen from a larger array (usually at least 9). Usually, the possible topics are broken up into sections, and students must choose one from each section.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan December 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm

There are now fourteen days until the exam, and I really don’t know how to feel about it. I certainly don’t feel confident, but I am unsure about precisely how much dread I should be experiencing. Despite not yet feeling like I have a comprehensive grasp on the literature, I need to force myself to start devoting more time to writing outlines of answers to likely questions, as well as to listing sources to be cited in them.

Milan December 28, 2013 at 6:44 pm

This gives a sense of where attention can most sensibly be focused:


Note: not every question fits neatly into one category. For instance, many of the questions I filed under ‘diversity’ ask about Quebec. Also, I haven’t yet been able to acquire the May 2013 exam.

anon February 18, 2014 at 11:34 pm

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