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GCSE Creative Writing C/W Grade A-A*

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    Hey Everyone,

    Starting our final piece of coursework for out English language GCSE with AQA on Tuesday. Basically we've got to write a review on toy story but i'm finding this one extremely tricky! Obviously for an "A Grade" (Band 5) it has to be "Sophisticated & Impressive"

    Any idea's what I can include to get my target of an "A"

    Anybody think the exam was tricky? (9th June) Harder Than Mocks, Looking Like A Re-sit in January for me

    Thanks Everyone x
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    (Original post by jtroops)
    Hey Everyone,

    Starting our final piece of coursework for out English language GCSE with AQA on Tuesday. Basically we've got to write a review on toy story but i'm finding this one extremely tricky! Obviously for an "A Grade" (Band 5) it has to be "Sophisticated & Impressive"

    Any idea's what I can include to get my target of an "A"

    Anybody think the exam was tricky? (9th June) Harder Than Mocks, Looking Like A Re-sit in January for me

    Thanks Everyone x

    Well because it's a review, it shouldn't be too formal so using some colloquialisms would be a good idea.

    You want it to be short and sweet (I only did about a page and a bit) so that the reader doesn't get bored - it's gotta be really punchy -> chuck in a few "POW!!"s and "BAM!!"s

    Just give an idea into what the film's about, don't tell the whole story 'cos that would spoil it - think about it, if you tell them exactly what happens, why would they have any reason to go watch it??? The whole purpose of a film review is to make the reader wanna go watch the film (or not, if it's really bad)

    Try to use really fancy descriptive language. For example, when you'd normally put 1 adjective to describe something, use 3. Also use phrases where all the words are joined by hyphens like this: "an I-can-do-whatever-I-want-attitude" --> just makes your writing more interesting and it's a technique used in a lot of film reviews

    Right rant over. Hope that helps
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    Thanks for the tips, can anyone else shed some more light on how to achieve those high grades? x
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    Here are some ideas:

    A good introductory sentence - this is important as it's the first thing the examiner will read (stating the obvious here, but the point still stands). Try to make it concise and interesting. This is also a good way to end the review.

    Structure and pacing - Make sure your ideas 'lead on' from one another. Connect your points so that the writing flows and sounds natural. Apparently the people who mark your coursework also like a 'mix of long and short sentences'.

    Adjectives and description - I actually disagree that you need 3 adjectives instead of 1. It'll take up space and examiners could see it as waffle as opposed to good description. Having said that, it is helpful if you use some 'big words' in your writing. Check your work for cliched descriptions and replace them with original phrases.

    Spelling and punctuation - a variety of punctuation marks shows that you know how to use them. Colons, semi-colons, hyphens, brackets, exclamation marks (but don't overdo it because it'll be distracting). Correct spelling is an obvious one, but it's easy to make mistakes.

    I agree that you shouldn't tell the whole story - spoilers aren't necessary. Just give a brief outline of plot so that people know the film's basic premise. In the professional reviews I've read they tend to get this out of the way in the first half and spend the second half doing the actual reviewing. But you might want to mix it up a bit?

    Style - as the other poster said, colloquial language is probably best. Maybe look at some reviews online or in magazines or newspapers to get a feel for the kind of language they use.

    Content - make intelligent points. Perhaps you could include one or two references to other pop-cultural things. Humour is often used in reviews (particularly when reviewing bad films) and it could add something extra to your writing. I remember the film critic Roger Ebert saying ''This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.'' And an example of the 'descriptive phrase' thing I was talking about: 'To see the snowman is to dislike the snowman. It has a big, wide mouth that moves as if masticating Gummi Bears.''

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Updated: June 22, 2011
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