Writing an exam answer

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Using close reading

You know that to support your points you need to use quotations. You also need to make the most of them. Using a quotation and moving on immediately will not get you as many marks as making a close analysis of the language in the quotation and using that to support your point.

There are several ways you can do this:

  • Pick out a word from the quotation and explore what the choice of that word means. The connotations of a word are the things or ideas it reminds you of, rather than its meaning. Some words might have connotations which are important to the point you are making, eg The word ‘scythe’ has connotations of death; it might be being used to create an ominous atmosphere.

  • Perhaps your quotation has a metaphor, simile, or other device in it– what is the effect of that technique? Make sure you that if you use a quotation with a literary technique in it, you name the technique in whatever comment you make about it.

  • Link the quotation to something…


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