English Language Exam

Revision cards as a basic outline for Questions 1 - 6 of the AQA English LANGUAGE exam. Most of these notes are guidelines from my teacher.

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Question 1

Always a web article

Ask yourself:

  • What do you learn/understand?
  • What is the item saying?
  • How is it shown?

What to do:

  • Retrieve info from Item 1
  • Inferences (interpret what's written)
  • Evidence (embedded quotes)
  • Be as obvious as possible 
  • Look for key themes and ideas


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Question 2

Examine effects of presentational features and how they link.

Study relationships between:

  • headline and text
  • image and text (comment on caption if there is one)
  • headline, image and text

Ways to explore relationships between features:

  • identifying key themes expressed in each feature e.g. theme of travel throughout the article
  • type of lexis e.g. military lexis displayed throughout the article in headline + text
  • language features e.g. hyperboles, alliteration, repitition, onomatepoeia.etc

How to study the image:

  • use of colour, size, angle of image - any dramatic features?
  • message/purpose?

Have a strong topic sentence to open your answer with!

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Question 3

How to go about an answer:

  • Highlight thoughts and feelings expressed in the piece (thoughts are opinions and feelings are linked to emotions)
  • Identify 4 key emotions chronologically as you read through the piece (the examiner looks for an answer that understands the change in emotions as the piece develops)
  • Use these 4 emotions as points to illustrate the thought or feeling that has been written
  • Each point has to be supported with evidence from the text
  • Can write answer in 4 paragraphs, so that you have a point per paragraph with development to create a structure
  • Pick evidence that can be analysed for features such as metaphors, similies, repitition, alliteration, sarcasm, irony.etc. 
  • If possible state language effect e.g. the use of "demon" highlights how Lomax portrays his torturer as an evil, demonic creature further displaying his resentment towards his past experiences. 
  • Analyse the language a little, but no PEE structure
  • No conclusion
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Question 4

  • Using Item 3 and either Item 1 or 2, with 24 mins to wite and plan
  • Analysis of language, so can use the PEARL structure


  • For high marks COMPARE similarities and differences between items

 What to compare:

  • Themes - whether they are the same, and how they are presented
  • Language features - whether they use same language features or not, effects.etc
  • Will get no marks for reffering to type of article, or describing sentence types

Other tips:

  • Don't generalise your audience response, say the effect on the reader and what type of reader they are e.g. younger adults 
  • Link by themes in your topic sentences (should have a strong topic sentence for each point)
  • Back up points with linguistic devices
  • Use comparative words e.g. similarly, comparatively, whereas, however, constrastingly.etc
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Question 5

Shorter Writing Task (inform, explain, describe)

  • 16 marks + marked for SPAG
  • Formal style
  • Usually on something personal such as an experience, decision or lifestyle choice
  • Decide on a suitable type of audience and write to inform them appropriately
  • A point per paragraph with a strong topic sentence informing your audience the theme of the paragraph - Give clear reasons and explanations 
  • Use facts and figures (can make them up)
  • Use specialist lexis where possible
  • Use conenctives
  • Use linguistic devices for higher marks e.g. rhetorical questionning, alliteration, short sentences for effect.etc
  • For Band 4, use the acronym SAD ELF

S tructured  A udience aware  D eveloped points  E xtensive vocab  L inguistic devices  F ormal

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Question 6

Longer Writing Task (argue and persuade)

  • 5 - 10 mins to plan and 25 - 30 mins to write 
  • 24 marks + SPAG 
  • Formal piece
  • Usually a for or against piece on a contoversial topic, past papers have included: extreme sports, global warming.etc
  • Choose either for or against, and decide on strongest points
  • Divide points into paragraphs to create a clear, logical plan that creates an organised piece - have a structure with linked paragraphing for top marks
  • Strong topic sentences needed for each point to introduce theme
  • Needs a strong introduction, with either a good topic sentence or linguistic feature such as a rhetorical question
  • Aim to incoporate 2-3 language devices in each paragraph for top marks
  • Needs to be opinonated, and focused solely on that opinion
  • Clear argument with valid reasons
  • Use specialist and extensive vocabulary where possible and lots of connectives
  • Needs to be 'convincing, compelling and engaging'
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