GCSE English Exam Essay Tips

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English Language

Section A – reading non fiction texts (40 marks 1 hour 15 mins)

15 mins reading time – annotate in great detail. Look to underline points for the questions and for language techniques (see below for a list of devices) for question 4

Mind the GAP for each article – Genre, Audience, Purpose

Question 1 (retrieval) 10 mins Aim to make 6-8 points. No evidence or analysis needed. You may introduce and quote directly or paraphrase the quotes

2 (presentational devices), 3 (thoughts and feelings) - 8 marks per question so roughly 12 mins each

You be looking to make 4 points, supported with evidence and Analysis/interpretation

Question 4 - 16 marks so roughly 24 mins

Structure the response the following way….

Short intro comparing purpose, form or audience of each article – anything that is noticeably similar or different

Compare 3-4 language techniques in named item with 3-4 techniques in other Item (Switch between articles to hit top band)
Link effects/analysis to overall purposes of articles

If time…Short conclusion explaining any major similarities or differences – Did you notice anything particularly significant?

To get 13 and above (the top band) there must be a significant amount of comparison between the two texts.

Example structure for one point from each text

Item 1 is a newspaper report which is informing the reader on the important issue of global warming. There are a lot of facts used by the writer, ‘42% of people do not care about global warming’ this helps to let the reader know how serious the issue is and worry us that not everybody is concerned by it. However item 2 is a poster about the effects of global warming and therefore includes more persuasive language. For example the writer uses triple emphasis ‘We must act now, give money and change our habit’ The use of powerful verbs aims to persuade the reader to donate money and amend their lifestyle.

Repeat this process 3 times to secure full marks.

Section B – Writing - Shorter Task explain, inform, describe (16 marks 25 minutes)

Plan for 3-4 paragraphs
Set out in form required – letter, article, speech
Interesting introduction and clear conclusion
Ensure language suits audience

Inform

Range of info
Fact and Opinion
Involve Reader
Technical terms
Variety of Sentence structures
Sophisticated vocabulary
Figurative language – simile/metaphor
Present tenses
Personal

Explain

Connectives – Time/Effect
CAPITALS or exclamation for emphasis
How and Why
Detailed explanation
Examples to illustrate point to reader
Entertain

Describe

Emotive adjectives
Interesting verbs and adverbs
Pathetic fallacy
Use of colour
Appeal to the five senses
Metaphors
Similes
Personification

Longer Task - persuade, argue, (24 marks 35 minutes)

Plan for 4-5 paragraphs
Set out in form required – letter, article, speech
Interesting introduction and clear conclusion
Ensure language suits audience

If arguing avoid contradictions (if considering both sides of the argument)

Aim to include the following techniques…..

Facts/statistics
Opinion
Opinion dressed as fact
Other viewpoints/experts
Rhetorical questions
Use 2nd person to address audience – direct address
Anecdotes (personal story)
Triple emphasis
Repetition
Emotive language
Humour
Hyperbole
Counter argument

English Literature- Poetry 1 hour 15 mins

Section A - Anthology (36 marks 45 mins)

Assessment objectives –

Personal, imaginative response to poem
Explore key ideas/themes and use evidence to support points
Comment on how language, structure, tone convey meaning
Detailed comparison between poems – meanings/techniques

A/A*
Underline key word in…