Chris Barcock 2011-12 A680: English/ English Language Information and Ideas: Higher and Foundation Tiers
Important Introductory Points A680 is a part of both English and English Language: one examination which covers both Specifications and both Tiers. It is the ONLY unit in the Specifications which is assessed by a traditional examination: it is 40% of the total award. Reading and Writing are now equally weighted: each carries 50% of the marks. There is a choice of writing topics: one will have a set audience and genre; one will have a stimulus but no specified audience or genre. Some important contrasts between the Tiers…….
Higher Tier There are TWO Reading Passages…. …..But THREE questions: questions 1 & 2 on the first passage and question 3 on the second passage. Question 1 will ask you to respond to WHAT the passage is about: it carries (about) 10 marks out of 40. Questions 2 & 3 will ask you to respond to HOW the passages have been written: each carry (about) 15 marks out of 40. Don’t forget this when you are planning your time management in the examination.
Foundation Tier There are two reading passages (which are shorter than the passages in the Higher Tier) and one question (split into sub sections) on each passage. The first question on the first passage will ask you WHAT the passage is about The second question on the second passage will ask you HOW the writer has presented the material. Each question is worth 20 marks. In both tiers you should not necessarily expect to spend the same amount of time on reading and writing……..
Timing It is absolutely critical that you read each passage very thoroughly before you start to consider the questions and this may mean that you spend rather longer on the reading than the writing. If you do: DON’T WORRY! Most candidates can produce excellent written work in less than an hour: and most need more than an hour to read. DON’T start the reading questions until you are confident that you have:- Read the passage to the end Formed a view of what it is about Considered some of the ways the writer has tried to communicate his/her point of view.
Reading and Understanding the Questions: 1 “Outline concisely”. You will need to LOCATE the material that is relevant to the question and REORGANISE it into a coherent and concise answer. “Own words”:- DON’T copy or lift directly from the text. DO use your own words : but don’t worry if you are content that you understand and are used to using the words in the passage: use them in you own prose style. DON’T spend too long or write too much on this question.
Reading and Understanding the Questions: 2 & 3. All you write must examine how the passage has been written and produced: make points about structure, information and language which are supported with examples from the text. “How does the PRESENTATION of the article”…….. This means the headings and the pictures and anything else that isn’t in the body of the text. Comment on the ways they have affected your response to what you have read. DON’T mention features (e.g. it’s bold and therefore attention catching) without saying why your attention has been caught and what that says about the passage.
Reading and Understanding the Questions continued…. “How does the writer’s use of language……..” Again DO NOT use literary terms without saying exactly how words have contributed to your response to what you have read. DO NOT “spot” metaphors/ similes etc. etc. for their own sake: keep referring back to the question to ensure what you saying is relevant and well supported. DO feel free to talk about how the effects of the RELATIONSHIP between the words and the presentational features has contributed to your reaction to the text. REMEMBER! You cannot talk about HOW a passage has been written until you are confident that you understand WHAT it is about.
What the Examiners are looking for: Q1 Understanding of TASK and TEXT. An OVERVIEW of the material. A clear focus on each separate, relevant point you make without overlap into other points. Confident use of “own words” with NO copying/lifting from the text. A range of (but nor necessarily all of the) points.
What the Examiners are looking for: Qs 2 & 3 A range of relevant points (about information, language and structure as appropriate). Effective supporting reference to the text with a clear attempt at analysis of what is referred to. A good understanding of the TASK and the TEXT.
Over to you for some HT reading….. Look at “Wing and a Prayer” and read it, right through to the end, however long it takes. THEN: look at questions 1 & 2. THEN go back to the passage and underline the material that goes with question 1 and ring material that goes with question 2. NOW: listen up! How many did you get?
OR: Foundation Tier READ The Krakatoa Volcanic Eruption right to the end. THEN look at question 1 a, b, and c: and underline the material which gives you the right answers. THEN look at question 1, d and do the same.
Writing Important introductory points:- DO plan your work carefully! Take five minutes at least to work out WHAT you are going to say and HOW you are going to say it. DON’T write too much! If you are going onto more than three sides ask yourself why! Remember that QUALITY is all important and that QUANTITY need only be enough to show what you can do at your best. Accurate spelling, punctuation and sentence structure matter.
Planning your work You must have worked out a system: a “drill” for planning your work in the examination. Decide on the AUDIENCE which may be specified, or may simply be the examiner. Decide on the TONE OF VOICE you are going to adopt. Decide on the STRUCTURE and SHAPE of your essay. Remember that you need to use paragraphs which will develop different aspects of the piece and which are linked together coherently. Always leave time to CHECK your work at the end.
The Assessment Objectives Write to communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, using and adapting forms and selecting vocabulary appropriate to task and purpose in ways to engage the reader. Organise information and ideas into structured and sequenced sentences, paragraphs and whole texts, using a variety of linguistic and structural features to support cohesion and overall coherence. Use a range of sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate punctuation and spelling
What the Examiners are looking for:- (Grade A) Full control of the material: effective use of linguistic devices. Confident understanding of what you have set yourself to do and consistent relevance to it. Clear sense of audience where there is one. Use imaginative but appropriate vocabulary: show subtlety and ambition. Develop a clear structure to the work: it must have an opening, central development and a clear conclusion. Use of paragraphs and coherent links between them. Use of a range of sentence structures to create effects. Secure and generally accurate spelling. Use ambitious and mainly secure punctuation.
What the Examiners are looking for:- Grade C. General control of the material: but some ambition, too. A relevant understanding of what you have set yourself to do. Sense of the audience, where there is one. Some variety of vocabulary: “fit the word to the idea not the idea to the word”. A clear beginning, middle and end. Effectively linked paragraphs. Generally accurate sentence structures. Mainly accurate spelling: possibly some errors in ambitious vocabulary. Simple punctuation mostly accurate and secure.
Over to you:- Choose one of the following essay titles:- “Teenagers should be banned from town centres at the weekends: their behaviour is too frightening.” Write a letter to your local newspaper giving your view. The first time I…. Write about an occasion that you were not looking forward to but which turned out to be much better than you expected it to be.
NOW! Write your essay plan. Write the opening sentence of your essay. Write the concluding paragraph. If you have time………. Develop the first paragraph from the sentence you wrote.