PEC Structure for GSCE and AS Exams
What is the PEC Structure?
Simply put, the PEC structure is a way of answering 3 mark questions in GSCE and AS exams.
PEC stands for Point, Evidence/Example, Comment.
When to use the PEC Structure?
Typically the PEC structure is used in 3 mark questions (3 mark questions rarely occur) which direct you to either evaluate, describe a strength or describe a weakness of a study or approach. It is also used to answer 6, and 12 mark questions, in which case you will use the PEC structure twice and four times respectively.
How to use the PEC Structure?
Let’s look at an example:
Suggest one strength of using laboratory experiments [3 Marks]
Firstly write a point relating to the question, keep it general!
Point: Laboratory Experiments are highly controlled.
Notice that the point is general, it doesn’t refer to a specific study, or even use the word strength.
The example/evidence should refer to a specific study. You should write about how that study has displayed the point you are referring to.
Example: For example, Milgram controlled the words that the learner said when the shocks were being administered by using a prerecorded tape.
Notice the clear reference to ‘Milgram’ and how a control was used.
I would recommend always starting your comment with (if the question allows) ‘This is a strength/weakness because…’
Comment: This is a strength because having controls prevents extraneous variables from becoming confounding variables.
You should write the PEC structure with each point on a new line and slightly indented to make it crystal clear to the examiner that you have three points for the three marks! or 6 or 12.