(Original post by metaltron)
For reading, get a newspaper out and annotate all the features you can see. Look at how the images add to the effectiveness of the text as well as title and subtitle. Are the images ironic, or do they show the scale of something or something else? Could the image have alternative meanings?
After you have done this, you have to know your exam. Here is how it goes:
1. Question 1 should be quite simple. You have to explain what you have learnt from a text, which is basically rewriting the article in your own words with a few quotes. For example, on an article about drought in the UK, "I learnt/(as a reader, one learns) that the drought situation is extremely severe in the UK due to the fact that some parts of the country have 'less rain than North Africa'. Furthermore these are the places where most of the population lives, resulting in a high demand for a low amount of water; resulting in hosepipe bans and possibly other water-related restrictions".
2. This question will ask about how the headline, sub-headline and image relate to the text. Look for the features I talked about above. For example (an article in a past paper about a dinosaur dying of a sore throat), "the image is ironic as it demonstrates the massive size of the fearsome dinosaur yet it was killed by what we would think was a minor infection. This adds to the effectiveness of the text as it illustrates how shocking the discovery was due to the dinosaur's size and the small infection that caused it's downfall."
3. Question 3 will ask you to describe the different emotions the person felt through the text (or something similar). This is similar to Question 1, apart from you have to interpret yourself what the text means. For example (about rushing back to Base Camp on Everest), "the fact that he dropped his backpack on the mountain reflects the urgency of the situation, as it demonstrates how he must move quickly in order to survive; not being weighed down by his backpack."
4. Question 4 is worth double the marks, and asks you to compare two texts in terms of language. While reading the texts it might be a good idea to annotate them for linguistic features so that you do not have to re-read both texts again when it comes to this question. Make sure that you explain how the language affects the reader. For example, "Taylor uses short sentences to demonstrate how thrilling rafting is. This is because the short sentences represent her replies when she is out of breath, when she is being asked about what she felt like when she fell into the rapids. "It was scary. It was exciting" illustrates her short responses due to her shock and excitement of falling into to the Colorado River. On the other hand, Black used short sentences to create tension in the reader; "The avalanche came straight at us." The short sentences represent the short moment of thought before the avalanche hit, and demonstrate the fear that the hikers must have been feeling".
Writing Q5 and 6- for these questions you have to make yourself sound like you are telling the truth in Q5, and for Q6, make sure you have a strong argument. Whilst writing these, be aware of the features that you are using (this is what you will be marked for). Add similes where you can, a few (not more than 2 ideally)
rhetorical questions and the power of three like I have just used. Also, beware of structure add in a one-line paragraph at the end and try to link the first paragraph to the conclusion (maybe by a rhetorical question).
I would spend 12 mins each on Q1, 2 and 3 and 24 mins of Q4. Spend 25 mins for Q5 and 35 mins for Q6 and 15 mins to check over work and for reading.
I hope this has helped you, and eased your nerves a little before the exam