Knowledge & Inquiry
What is it about?
" KI is mainly about critical thinking— you need to be able to analyse arguments in paper 2. That’s the most important skill you need for KI. Other than that, the content is about epistemology, or knowledge-building. So there’s a lot of concepts and ideas to understand to be able to answer exam questions." --- Senior E(EJC)
" KI stands for knowledge and inquiry so you can guess it has something to do with both! KI as a subject aims to find the answers to “What is knowledge?” it also focuses on how we derive knowledge and whether these methods of inquiry are reliable. The main skill required of you in KI is critical thinking. You’re expected to craft your own logical and nuanced arguments and also evaluate arguments presented to you and identify their flaws and merits. For a more detailed explanation you can look at the course syllabus Click This" --- Senior J(HCI)
Why did you choose to take this subject? Is it what you expected it to be?
" I didn’t have a particular reason to take this subject— heck, I didn't know what it was about until like open house, when they had subject introduction classes. even so, there are no regrets. I am pretty sure I would’ve failed GP, but I digress. If I hadn't taken KI, I would have taken lit. So lit and GP were my main points of comparison, and I decided that I preferred KI, based on content. (even then, they made me taken H1 econs just in case I failed or dropped KI. So I really should have been comparing KI and econs to lit and GP. )
Is it what I expected it to be? I think the answer is yes. But to be fair, I can't honestly remember any of my expectations of the subject. I would say that the introductory classes at the start of the year, before SCORE, did give a good overview of what was expected of us." --- Senior E(EJC)
" I chose to take KI because I wanted to learn how to form my own opinions! I think I grew up thinking that I had a strong sense of self and that my personal voice remained unwavering in the face of other opinions but there was a point last year where I realised that I was easily swayed by others. It made me doubt my ability to discern sound, logical arguments from bad ones and so I thought I needed to hone this skill. Especially in a world rampant with fake news and even faker influential figures, I think a lot of people would benefit from critical thinking! And yes, KI is what I expected it to be and more! I did not expect to learn about knowledge from the perspectives of so many other disciplines so that was very cool." --- Senior J(HCI)
What do you do during lessons? What is it like taking the subject?
" [Note: this is for EJC, it may not apply to other schools]
During tutorials, we discuss past year questions and how we should answer them. There’s a presentation format, where we do the exam questions for hw and present our answers to the class. For lectures, they’re mainly content based. They’re used to introduce and teach the concepts we need to know.
Taking the subject is really fun! Tutorials have a “workshop” feel, where the whole class participates in discussions. I enjoy that a lot. It is refreshing, since most of the other subjects i take have teachers just talking at us like its a lecture. There’s a small class size too, which I like as well, since it feels like the teacher can focus on the individuals more. also, because I am in the science stream, I feel like KI is a really good contrasting subject. It is very, very refreshing to “switch mindset” after a lot of science classes.
I think I should mention though, that KI is really content heavy. We’re expected to read a lot outside of class, and understand all the concepts they throw at us. So tldr, taking KI is fun, but very time and energy consuming." --- Senior E(EJC)
" A large part of our lessons are used to give presentations on what we’ve gathered from our research on the topic for that period. At the start of the year before the content came in, our teacher taught us how to take notes and how to evaluate arguments (critical thinking).
We do a lot of our learning on our own actually through readings and research. Lessons are more of a time to consolidate our learnings and share them with the class so we learn from each other, as well as from our teacher who makes comments on the material we present. You’re expected to be able to think critically on your own throughout the syllabus because at the start of the year when we’re taught critical thinking, we’re expected to apply that to the rest of our syllabus. We don’t get notes from the school either so the entire subject is quite self-directed!" --- Senior J(HCI)
How easy/difficult is it to score?
" How to score? You need to show your thinking. Prove to the examiner that you have processed the information, then come up with your own argument to support your point. The exams are all argumentation-based, in that sense. so, it is as easy or as difficult to score depending on how well one is able to accomplish this. of course, the exams aren’t all one paper or one type of question.
I would say that essays are the easiest to score so far, because you can have a look at past year questions and come up with your own arguments in advance. The more you think, the better the argument becomes.
Paper 2, on the other hand, is much more difficult. you have to analyse an argument they set, and respond to it, like “Is the conclusion valid?” “What do you think of the points the author makes?” That’s all done within the exam hall. You get 30mins for short arguments and 1h for the long argument. Then there’s paper 3, the independent study. I haven’t done this yet, so I can't say for sure how easy it is. It could be easy because we have 6-9 months to write it, but difficult because its independent— we only have one conference with a teacher to see if we’re on the right track or not. So it all depends." --- Senior E(EJC)
" From what I’ve gathered from my friends, the responses are quite polarised haha. Personally, I think it is easier for me to score in KI than in GP (which is what people usually compare it to) because GP is a lot more unpredictable and a lot dryer. I don’t quite like memorising statistics or facts so when KI presented me with “funner” things to memorise, I took that chance!
Technically, we shouldn’t be memorising some of the things in KI anyway but rather, deriving them through critical thinking (eg criticisms of Utilitarianism). By extension, some of the things stick to you and you don’t have to memorise them because they just make sense, and they’re quite interesting and relevant to our lives. Additionally, there isn’t that pesky cluster of marks for “language” so I don’t have to worry about thinking how to sound as unnecessarily intelligent as possible.
In KI, as long as you can write fluently you are awarded the full 5 marks for “language”. However, I do struggle a lot with critical thinking so I don’t do too well in those sections so it really does require a lot of practise if you’re not blessed with a sharp brain.Ultimately, I think how well you do in KI depends on how much content youre willing to read up on because our teachers give us a lot of content and how much you study is how much you’ll have in your arsenal for the exam. It is also highly dependent on how critical your brain is because critical thinking is required in every section of the KI paper." --- Senior J(HCI)