From an A* Paper..
A previous A* paper has proved that candidates CAN achieve full marks, using these techniques:
- Why did you choose those two poems?
- What do the titles suggest?
- What are literal meanings you could derive from the poems?
- What emotions are being shown in the poem? How?
- What has been used symbolically and what imagery is generated?
- What impact do certain words or literary techniques have on you as a reader?
- What do certain words used suggest in terms of context (culture, historical, poets background)?
From an A* Paper...
- In what ways are the poems similar? (Purpose? Techniques? Tone? Voice?)
- What connotations are there in the poems? (Religious?)
- Are there any running themes in the poem? (Anonymity, religion, mystery?)
- What is being emphasised? How? (fonts, punctuation?)
- 3 or 4 interpretations of each quote from the poem.
- Explode quotes!(meaning analyse each word at a time to create deeper meaning)
- Structural effects? Their impact?
- What is being described? What could it really mean?
- Positivity? Negativity? Where? Why?
From an A* paper...
- Phonetic spelling? How would the poem sound?
- Language techniques? Effects? (Onomatopoeia, lists of threes)
- Is there an underlying emotion? Urgency? Sadness?
- What is the pace of the poem? Does it have any effect of the meaning?
- Is there tension being built? How? Why?
- Background of the poem/ author? Does it have any effect?
From an A* Paper...
When doing original writing (i highly recommend doing describe, it is the easiest option to gain high marks in), use these techniques and skills:
- Try to manipulate the reader to see what you are seeing, cause them to feel the emotion. This gets you massive marks.
- Use at least 6 pieces of punctuation, including a semi colon, a colon and an exclamation point if you are aiming for high A - A* boundaries, and a large range of vocabulary.
- Use literal techniques - lists of threes, metaphors, onomatopoeias.
- Imagery should be used to full effect for maximum impact.
- Use all five senses to describe the situation.
- Do NOT start to write a story, this will lose you marks tremendously, you are meant to be describing a certain event or scenario. Be careful not to start turning a descriptive text into a narrative!
- Use rhetorical questions, if you can, to involve the reader.
From an A* Paper
Last little tips for the english exam:
- Don't panic if the questions become difficult. Keep yourself calm, breathe, think about what its asking, then respond. Its an exam, remember - its not supposed to be easy.
- Always read the question carefully - plenty of people fail to get the marks they need because they answered a question which was not asked for in the exam! Take a highlighter and highlight the important points in the question, to make sure you know what you are doing.
- If worst comes to worst and you genuinely get lost, just delve into the question with everything you got. You can do it - some of the best things come about as accidents, so just throw yourself into the question and come up with something off the wall - originality does improve your grade.
- If a point you made is quite obscure, make sure you explain yourself well, otherwise the examiner may be totally lost when marking it and not give you points you deserve.
- Stay positive and try your hardest! The best you can do is your best! :)