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Higher English Close Reading

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    Hey, I was wondering if anyone could give me any tips on how to improve my close reading skills? I'm really struggling with it and it's really getting to me, especially with the exams being so close. I'm fine with my essays, it's just my close reading that's bringing my marks down. Any advice or tips would be fantastic.
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    It's not relevant to every question but it's often good to think about connotations which certain phrases bring. Quote the phrase, say what it brings connotations of, say what the qualities of that thing are and then tie the 2 together.

    Do you have the Leckie and Leckie higher English grade booster? It's meant to be quite good.

    Best of luck in your exam! Look on the bright side...you won't need to ever do another close reading after the one in the exam!!
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    Imagery is quite important. If you really break it down, and say what is being compared to what and why this is appropriate the examiners like that kind of thing. It's also very important to read the question properly, it's amazing how many people don't
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    Could you be more specific? Which areas in particular?
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    Whenever you are asked a question on style or form, or anything really, just remember
    TECHNIQUE - EXAMPLE - COMMENT.

    Very simple example for it is late:

    In paragraph 1 a simile is used, "the man ran like the wind", and this helps to give the reader an image of how fast the man is running, boosting the effectiveness of the writer's description and helping them to get a greater understanding of the situation described.
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    Hey,

    Well my English tutor marks close reading for the SQA and she says they get paid per paper they mark so they like to see the answer laid out before their eyes.

    For understanding questions make sure you know what the question is asking you to find before you go looking. I always put brackets around each one of my points. Then try and put in your own words. DONT LIFT. However don't get bogged down with thinking you need to translate every world.

    For analysis questions, the same things crop up time after time. I recommend the reading "How to Pass Higher English". Remember the marker wants to see it laid out infront of them so says something like "The word choice of "quote" shows/suggests..." then think about the connotational meanings and explain those.

    For imagery questions try to use the formula "Just as... so to."
    My teacher is adamant there is going to be a link question this year so make sure you know how to answer those.
    Remember langauge feaures always come up. Look for word choice, tone and sentence structure. If it's a four mark question and you don't think you can go into any of the language features into detail then put down 4 with a small analystic comment.
    I recommend looking at tone. Tone is the voice of the person writing it. So look for sercasm, irony, humerous - the 3 most popular.

    I usually have trouble with evaluation questions. I could do with advice here but I follow the basic analysis way of answering and add a final sentence at the end like "This is effective because we can imagine the true strength of the man" or something along those lines.

    I recommend 10 minutes at leasr for the question on both passages. To get full marks refer to both passages. Clearly state which one you prefer/ catches our attention etc. Ideas - the points that the writer makes throughout the article to convey a point. Does he use facts? Does he use symbols like "The Beatles" which makes the reader more interested?
    Style - is basically your analyis, humerous tone to make us more interested? Images to make our imagination rolling.

    However it is not enough to say Passage 1 does this but passage 2 doesnt. You have to say what passage 2 does instead and why that isn't as effective.

    Hope this helps.
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    I can second that as solid information ^^^

    Regarding evaluation - that's basically right, it's where you analyse something and then go on and show why it's effective or whatever it's asking
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    Thank you Close reading marks have went up.. before I was just passing them or just missing the pass mark and managed to get 20/30 on a textual analysis NAB so hopefully the practice is paying off for next week
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    Glad to hear that,
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    (Original post by LaurenM1991)
    Thank you Close reading marks have went up.. before I was just passing them or just missing the pass mark and managed to get 20/30 on a textual analysis NAB so hopefully the practice is paying off for next week
    Well done
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    Hello Guys,

    5th Year in Scotland here

    I am wanting some help with the Close Reading in Higher English. In Standard Grade I was good at it but now at Higher I feel like im rubbish at it. Im struggling with how to answer the questions and im wondering if there is any techniques that any of you use to help you with it, and also the type of questions etc..

    It would be really appreciated.
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    Hi I can't really help too much directly, but you might want to take a look at this current thread that deals with answering the longer, more open-ended questions you get at the end.
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    (Original post by reecescobie)
    Hello Guys,

    5th Year in Scotland here

    I am wanting some help with the Close Reading in Higher English. In Standard Grade I was good at it but now at Higher I feel like im rubbish at it. Im struggling with how to answer the questions and im wondering if there is any techniques that any of you use to help you with it, and also the type of questions etc..

    It would be really appreciated.
    I could email you some notes I have typed up if you pm me your email address, if you would like.
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    Hi reecescobie,

    I'm going back to do my Higher English after 5 years.
    Felt like I was beginning at the start again!!

    Leckie and Leckie have great resources.
    But I haven't relied on any specific techniques - if there is one, I'd like to know about it!!

    I'm studying my close reading just now for my prelim.

    I was given a list of Golden Rules.....

    1. Look at the coding of the question
    U - Understanding
    - simply showing that you understand the word of the context it is used
    A = Analysis
    - using analytical skills to discuss imagery, word choice, tone, sentence structure <- only these things!!

    E = Evaluation
    - making an evaluative statement such as "This is effective because..."

    Look carefully at the code and do what it says.
    Similarly if it is a U/A questions, combine the above statements.

    2. Read the question carefully

    If it asks for two examples, give two
    If it asks you to comment on word choice, sentence structure and tone, make sure you have covered all 3 areas in your answer
    The best way to tackle this is to underline or highlight the bits of the question which instruct you. How many examples? What features? which lines, etc?

    3. Explain the word or image

    Words have a denotative meaning - what is actually means, the object it relates to, i.e. apple
    Words also have a connotative meaning - what we have come to associate with them, i.e. Adam and Eve, sin, temptation
    You should explain both denotative and connotative meanings when explaining word choices and images.

    4. Check the line references
    some questions in close reading will ask you to look at a specific line or lines
    You much ensure that your answer is taken from these lines, and not outside the, You might give a terrific answer, but if your quotes or words are from the wrong lines, you will get no mars

    5. "In your own words"

    If the question asks you to explain the answer in your own words, you ust do so.
    Conversely, if you have to give an answer with reference to the text, you are expected to quote
    It is expected in "U" questons that you will use your own words, unless it says to quote (ie "Quote a word that shows how the author...etc" )

    6. What out for the link

    "link" questions ask you to comment on the connection between the text before and after a linking sentence or phrase
    Highligh the linking words in the passage before and after and then explain these in your own words. How do they relate to the "link" in the middle?

    1. quote the word(s) that link back
    2. demonstrate the idea that came before
    3. quote words that link foreward
    4. identify what the idea is that comes next
    I found it useful to look at past paper answers to get to grips with this one!

    7. watch out for the marks, and your times

    When you read through your paper, you will note that certain questions are awarded more marks (especially towards the end of each section)
    If you are struggling to get through all the questions, look at how many parks you can achieve for the remaining questions - it might be best to tackles those questions which are work the most, first and leave the lower mark questions to last if you are going to be short of time
    Watch your watch! try to pace your time so that you do not spend 10 minutes on a 1 mark questions and run short of time




    I hope this helps. I'll post some more stuff in the near future. Any specific you'd like?
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    "
    1. Look at the coding of the question
    U - Understanding
    - simply showing that you understand the word of the context it is used
    A = Analysis
    - using analytical skills to discuss imagery, word choice, tone, sentence structure <- only these things!!

    E = Evaluation
    - making an evaluative statement such as "This is effective because..."

    Look carefully at the code and do what it says.
    Similarly if it is a U/A questions, combine the above statements."

    Gonna add to this.

    U questions do not ask for quotations, paraphrase anything you're using
    A questions almost always need a quotation, the number of which depends on the weight of the question
    E questions need heavy reference and discussion of the effectiveness.
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    (Original post by Kirsteneg)
    I could email you some notes I have typed up if you pm me your email address, if you would like.
    hi, please send me the notes on: [Removed - please use PMs or post here] if they are regarding close reading. my nab test is on monday
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    (Original post by zainabkhann)
    hi, please send me the notes on: [Removed - please use PMs or post here] if they are regarding close reading. my nab test is on monday
    Are you aware that the post you quoted was two years ago?
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    Yeah i am , if someone can send me any good notes on close reading, would be highly appreciated Thanks
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    (Original post by Klobbster)
    "
    1. Look at the coding of the question
    U - Understanding
    - simply showing that you understand the word of the context it is used
    A = Analysis
    - using analytical skills to discuss imagery, word choice, tone, sentence structure <- only these things!!

    E = Evaluation
    - making an evaluative statement such as "This is effective because..."

    Look carefully at the code and do what it says.
    Similarly if it is a U/A questions, combine the above statements."

    Gonna add to this.

    U questions do not ask for quotations, paraphrase anything you're using
    A questions almost always need a quotation, the number of which depends on the weight of the question
    E questions need heavy reference and discussion of the effectiveness.
    this is so informative, thanks
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    Hey guys, I know this is an old thread, but I'm just going to leave this here for future students reference :

    QUESTIONS ABOUT CONCLUSIONS : i.e, how effective do you find this paragraph as a conclusion to the ideas before/ the passage as a whole
    Look for : 1) A word or idea that sums something up
    2) Significant sentence structure such as identifiable rhythm created by alliteration, lists or climax.
    3)Any phrase or idea that is dramatic and/or memorable
    4)Any Imagery
    5)A reference to the beginning of the passage or the title reminding the reader of the subject matter


    QUESTIONS ABOUT TONE : i.e, identify the writers tone
    The chances are the tone will be sarcastic or humorous in the exam - though it may be ironic, sardonic(mocking), bitter, angry, despairing, nostalgic etc. Once you identify the tone show how it is created by treating the question as a word choice, sentence structure, or language.


    QUESTIONS ABOUT SENTENCE STRUCTURE :
    1)Lists, emphasizing [range, variety, extent, or number] of [example]
    2) Repetition - ALWAYS used for emphasis
    3)Long sentence followed by a shorter sentence - the dramatic impact is usually on the second sentence (climax/anticlimax)
    4) Unusual word order (inversion)
    5)Prepositional phrases (in spite of, before, after etc.) at the beginning of sentences can guide the reader through stages in the argument or indicate a time sequence
    6)Questions - rhetorical - invite the reader to think and share the writers opinion or could suggest reflection or confusement
    7)Use of Imperatives (commands) reinforce a point being made
    8)Parallelism! Look for a balance in sentences or in a paragraph where a similar grammatical structure can be identified - this can make sentences easier to process.


    QUESTIONS ABOUT LANGUAGE : These questions primarily want you to consider the writers :
    1) Word choice
    2) Sentence structure
    3) Tone
    4) Imagery (if present)


    QUESTIONS ON WORD CHOICE :
    1) Identify a word that the writer uses to a particular purpose. Example : "Grotesque".
    2) Show how this purpose is achieved by stating connotations : Example : "negative connotations of being disgusting and horrible"
    3) Link to the context : Example : "The writer uses this to show how drugs cheats in the Olympics are disgusting and horrible to show his major dislike of them."


    IMAGERY, metaphor, simile, personification, onomatopoeia etc. ALWAYS INCLUDE THE LITERAL ROOT. ALWAYS. Can't stress that enough. ALWAYS. Example : "The silver dart flew through the air" (referring to Concord) -
    1) you HAVE to mention something along the lines of "a dart is a streamlined, pointed object that can easily fly through the air"
    2) and THEN link that to Concord - "which is similar to Concord as"
    3) and THEN say how they are similar - "Concord is also streamlined and pointed at the tip and also flies through the air"
    4) and THEEEEEEN state the writers intention - "which is used by the writer to emphasize Concord's supreme ability to fly and to show his love of it"


    QUESTIONS ON COMPARISON (HIGHER ONLY) : These are usually the last question in the Higher paper, and the example from 2012 (Higher) is
    -----"Consider the attitude displayed by each writer towards the Olympic Games.
    Identify key areas of agreement and disagreement in their points of view. You should support your answer by referring to important ideas in the passages.
    You may present your answer to this question in continuous prose or in a series of developed bullet points."------
    Stick closely to the instructions in the question about whether to write about similarities OR differences OR both. For example, if it is about similarities and you spot a difference, IGNORE IT.
    The key to this question is to focus on MAJOR ideas spread across paragraphs. Don't focus on minor points!
    Planning is also key to these questions. Look at these questions BEFORE starting the paper and leave time whilst doing the other questions to jot down the important ideas in the paragraph beside it, or make a table. If you plan well and do this, this question shouldn't take too long.
    These answers are not marked according to length of according to the number of points made. You will have to identify at least two or three of the most important points for a minimum of three marks. The final marks will depend on HOW WELL you DEVELOP these points by REFERRING to the passage to support these points.

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Updated: January 20, 2014
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