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Tackling The Literature Exam Poetry Question (Section B)

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1 Tackling The Literature Exam Poetry Question (Section B)

2 The Poetry question is Section B of the Literature paper, but remember it is worth more marks than the prose question – Poetry Question - 36 marks, or 40% of the final grade Prose Question – 27 marks, or 30% of the final grade (Your Literature Coursework accounts for the other 30%) Therefore you should aim to spend longer on Section B than on Section A. Altogether you have 1 hour 45 minutes for the Literature exam, so you should spend at most 45 minutes on Section A and allow at least one hour for your poetry. You may even wish to consider answering Section B FIRST, spend the hour on it, THEN do Section A.

3 Tackling The Literature Exam Prose Question (Section A)

4 Marking Prose Essays Less than a page – no more than D! Grade C – efforts to compare across and use of connectives, using quotes with some PQE, talking about writer not characters, covered number of points Grade B – all for C plus good examples of PQE, understanding why writer has used language for effects, clear structure Not compared across – no more than C, no matter how good! No quotes – no more than C, no matter what! Grade A/A* – all for B plus original ideas, fluent, evidence of “engaging” with texts, i.e. understanding and enthusiasm!

5 In the exam, the examiner will want to see well-structured answers. Your ideas should be organised and logically developed. You need to make a point, explore the stories you’re comparing, then move on to another point. ANSWER the question – highlight the key words and keep referring back to make sure you’re on track. PLAN before you start writing PARAGRAPH, signposting at the start to tell your reader what you’re about to discuss, eg “Carey’s setting…”, “The theme of both stories…” etc. LINK points and paragraphs using connectives. These connectives should indicate whether you are making a comparison or showing a difference. SUM UP - As you finish a point, sum up how the idea or evidence you’ve just provided answers the question. Leave time for a conclusion. Structuring your Answer

6 Remember to write about the author and his characters/themes/message/devices/language etc – don’t retell the stories and don’t write about the characters as if they are real. You can refer to the “writer” or “author” or call them by their surnames – but don’t call them by their first names and don’t here call them “poets”. Joyce Carey and Leslie Norris are both male – so use “he” and “his” when referring to them! Keep quotes brief and to the point – you waste time if you quote at length and lose impact. Embed quoted words and phrases in your discussion. Some Dos and Don’ts…

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