A2 AQA English Language and Literature B- Answer Structure Watch

Plasmatic
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I did post this in the Exams Section, but only one person's viewed it, and that's probably me :o:

As the title suggests, I could really do with some help on how to structure my answers to both the Shakespeare (I'm studying Hamlet) and transcript questions in the AQA ELLB Exam in June.

I sort of have an idea for the Hamlet paper; my teacher says to do a paragaraph for each framework instead of chronologically in order to reach the top band. I only need a D in exam to get an A overall, but I do want to have a go at getting an A*, so I really want to know how I can do well in this exam

For the other question, I literally have no idea how to structure it- my teachers haven't been much help for this part of the exam. Via frameworks again? Paragraph to paragraph comparison? Or should I use how the specimen is marked, with sections "comparing the differences between talk in life and talk in literature", "comparing the relationship between context and purpose" and "comparing how speakers’ attitudes and values are conveyed". Also, we've spent half the year studing features of spontaneous speech and conversation, but are we supposed to apply features such as adjacency pairs, interruptions, Grice's Maxims etc to the crafted text. I've been given confilcting advice from a few different teachers and I'm now utterly confused.

By the way, who else hates this course? I used to love English at GCSE, and now I feel I can't write an essay to save my life after two years on this spec. Wish I'd done lit.
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Leepish
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I am in the same boat as you. I did well last year, but this year im going to fail.
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evantej
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(Original post by Plasmatic)
I did post this in the Exams Section, but only one person's viewed it, and that's probably me :o:

As the title suggests, I could really do with some help on how to structure my answers to both the Shakespeare (I'm studying Hamlet) and transcript questions in the AQA ELLB Exam in June.

I sort of have an idea for the Hamlet paper; my teacher says to do a paragaraph for each framework instead of chronologically in order to reach the top band. I only need a D in exam to get an A overall, but I do want to have a go at getting an A*, so I really want to know how I can do well in this exam

For the other question, I literally have no idea how to structure it- my teachers haven't been much help for this part of the exam. Via frameworks again? Paragraph to paragraph comparison? Or should I use how the specimen is marked, with sections "comparing the differences between talk in life and talk in literature", "comparing the relationship between context and purpose" and "comparing how speakers’ attitudes and values are conveyed". Also, we've spent half the year studing features of spontaneous speech and conversation, but are we supposed to apply features such as adjacency pairs, interruptions, Grice's Maxims etc to the crafted text. I've been given confilcting advice from a few different teachers and I'm now utterly confused.

By the way, who else hates this course? I used to love English at GCSE, and now I feel I can't write an essay to save my life after two years on this spec. Wish I'd done lit.
Like many English students looking for help on this forum, you are not clear nor are you concise in your requests, which makes it very hard for people to help you. In addition, the feeling you have about an inability to 'write an essay to save my life after two years on this spec' is a good thing, trust me. You cannot write essays, and the study of language has stripped away any illusion you may have had, as you attempt to synthesise this new knowledge and approach to your essays; if you had taken literature then you would have merely kept up the illusion that you could write. Anyway, I will take a stab at answering your 'question' based on the question in this exam paper; I am only going to answer the first because I am being lazy.

“Explore the ways in which Shakespeare portrays conflicting relationships in this passage. / In your answer you must consider how he uses literary, linguistic and rhetorical devices and conventions to create specific dramatic effects.”

Firstly, the question in itself is fairly straightforward, but the sub-section is an atrocious piece of unnecessary intellectualism that will only confuse students. I would go into the exam and do the following: spend the first 30 minutes reading and writing up a plan for both questions, which leaves you with 45 minutes to write an answer for both. At first, I would look at the questions and underline the verbs; this is how they want you to frame your response. 'Explore' and 'portrays' are terrible verbs to use in an essay question, but that is the exam board patronising you; just assume they mean 'show' all the time (I would also suggest using the verbs they give you in your answer to make things as clear as possible). Secondly, I would look at the meat of the question 'conflicting relationships' and identify what the question is actually asking you to look at. In this case, the question suggested that here is a relationship but it is 'conflicting'. You will be marked on your ability to comprehend the material, that is, identify the relationship they are suggesting is conflicting. In most cases, the example they give you will be a trick question, that is, there may be more than one relationship, and you begin to appreciate how the better students are separated from those below who are only highlight one relationship, no matter how good their answer is. In summary, you are in a planning stage and I would be as clear as possible in this part so the markers can give you credit. For example, I would draw a line from the question and write 'relationships' then write the relationships that I find under this; if you are struggling then just write all the characters out and simply work through the relationships until you find out which ones work and which do not.

Relationships
Hamlet – Queen (son - mother)
Hamlet – Ghost (son - deceased father)
Ghost – Queen (deceased husband – living wife)
Real (Hamlet/Queen) - Unreal (Ghost); simplistically, 'Alive - Dead'

You should then look at these relationships and consider - what conflicts? The answer: Hamlet and the Queen are both alive, but only one of them can see the Ghost. You should then consider the implications of this answer; that is, that the deceased husband cannot (or does not) “contact” his former wife but he can contact his son. Well, what is so significant about this? What does the Ghost say to Hamlet? Why is the Ghost be unable to talk to his former wife? What does this say about the Queen?

If you manage to write this type of thing down in your notes you will get extremely high marks even if you run out of time and do not necessarily answer the question, because you are displaying really good critical skills.

Eventually, you will come to some sort of answer (premise) in your head as to why Hamlet can see the Ghost but the Queen cannot, and I suggest that this is what you should use as a unifying idea that will structure your essay. For example, if you suggested that the Hamlet was able to see the Ghost because he, unlike the Queen, had no part in his father's murder then you can start to answer the question, taking into consideration the sub-section; that is, which literary devices does Shakespeare use to suggest that the Queen is implicit in the former kings death; which linguistic devices... etc., etc.. Again, 45 minutes is not a long time to answer a question and you should avoid being too ambitious, and try to stick almost exclusively to the extract given to you unless, like in this case, you need to go back to the text to justify your premise and strengthen your argument. In this case, you would go back and justify your premise by suggesting that the Queen's guilt is implied through her quick marriage to the murderer of King Hamlet, and even if the Queen is not guilty her inability to see the Ghost suggests a nativity in her character as she is unable to see the 'truth'; the second part here shows you are considering the strength of your own argument, and it is something that most university students fail to do so... I would structure the essay like this:

- Introduction
- Paragraph 1 – Text specific (Topic sentence – Development – Evidence ); fairly short
- Paragraph 2 – Extract specific (Topic sentence - Development – Evidence); detailed and longer
- Conclusion


Introduction – …

Paragraph 1 – Aristotle wrote that one of the definitions of tragedy was the 'imitation of an action that is admirable'. In the context of Hamlet, Hamlet's revenge on the murderer of his father is an admirable action, and the Ghost is used as a literary device to imply the guilt of the characters directly and indirectly involved in the murder.

Paragraph 2 - The ghost of the former king is used to create the specific effect of guilt. As a consequence, the Queen's inability to see the Ghost in the extract suggests her implied guilt in the former king's murder. First of all, she remarries Claudius, who is revealed to be the murderer of the king later in the play, and when she is first introduced in act x part y, she does not appear affected by her former husbands death as she attempts to cheer Hamlet up. Second of all, in the extract the Queen's inability to see the Ghost, remembering that the Ghost revealed the truth that he was murdered to Hamlet in the earlier in the play, suggests her guilt, but not only is she unable to see the truth of her former husbands death she chides Hamlet for his ability to see the Ghost, suggesting that he is crazy [insert textual examples from extract and justify your claims (i.e. mention literary/linguistic/rhetorical - the queen suggesting Hamlet is crazy would be rhetorical in the sense that she is being 'untruthful') etc., etc..

Conclusion - …

I hope this helped a little.
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Leepish
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(Original post by evantej)
Like many English students looking for help on this forum, you are not clear nor are you concise in your requests, which makes it very hard for people to help you. In addition, the feeling you have about an inability to 'write an essay to save my life after two years on this spec' is a good thing, trust me. You cannot write essays, and the study of language has stripped away any illusion you may have had, as you attempt to synthesise this new knowledge and approach to your essays; if you had taken literature then you would have merely kept up the illusion that you could write. Anyway, I will take a stab at answering your 'question' based on the question in this exam paper; I am only going to answer the first because I am being lazy.

“Explore the ways in which Shakespeare portrays conflicting relationships in this passage. / In your answer you must consider how he uses literary, linguistic and rhetorical devices and conventions to create specific dramatic effects.”

Firstly, the question in itself is fairly straightforward, but the sub-section is an atrocious piece of unnecessary intellectualism that will only confuse students. I would go into the exam and do the following: spend the first 30 minutes reading and writing up a plan for both questions, which leaves you with 45 minutes to write an answer for both. At first, I would look at the questions and underline the verbs; this is how they want you to frame your response. 'Explore' and 'portrays' are terrible verbs to use in an essay question, but that is the exam board patronising you; just assume they mean 'show' all the time (I would also suggest using the verbs they give you in your answer to make things as clear as possible). Secondly, I would look at the meat of the question 'conflicting relationships' and identify what the question is actually asking you to look at. In this case, the question suggested that here is a relationship but it is 'conflicting'. You will be marked on your ability to comprehend the material, that is, identify the relationship they are suggesting is conflicting. In most cases, the example they give you will be a trick question, that is, there may be more than one relationship, and you begin to appreciate how the better students are separated from those below who are only highlight one relationship, no matter how good their answer is. In summary, you are in a planning stage and I would be as clear as possible in this part so the markers can give you credit. For example, I would draw a line from the question and write 'relationships' then write the relationships that I find under this; if you are struggling then just write all the characters out and simply work through the relationships until you find out which ones work and which do not.

Relationships
Hamlet – Queen (son - mother)
Hamlet – Ghost (son - deceased father)
Ghost – Queen (deceased husband – living wife)
Real (Hamlet/Queen) - Unreal (Ghost); simplistically, 'Alive - Dead'

You should then look at these relationships and consider - what conflicts? The answer: Hamlet and the Queen are both alive, but only one of them can see the Ghost. You should then consider the implications of this answer; that is, that the deceased husband cannot (or does not) “contact” his former wife but he can contact his son. Well, what is so significant about this? What does the Ghost say to Hamlet? Why is the Ghost be unable to talk to his former wife? What does this say about the Queen?

If you manage to write this type of thing down in your notes you will get extremely high marks even if you run out of time and do not necessarily answer the question, because you are displaying really good critical skills.

Eventually, you will come to some sort of answer (premise) in your head as to why Hamlet can see the Ghost but the Queen cannot, and I suggest that this is what you should use as a unifying idea that will structure your essay. For example, if you suggested that the Hamlet was able to see the Ghost because he, unlike the Queen, had no part in his father's murder then you can start to answer the question, taking into consideration the sub-section; that is, which literary devices does Shakespeare use to suggest that the Queen is implicit in the former kings death; which linguistic devices... etc., etc.. Again, 45 minutes is not a long time to answer a question and you should avoid being too ambitious, and try to stick almost exclusively to the extract given to you unless, like in this case, you need to go back to the text to justify your premise and strengthen your argument. In this case, you would go back and justify your premise by suggesting that the Queen's guilt is implied through her quick marriage to the murderer of King Hamlet, and even if the Queen is not guilty her inability to see the Ghost suggests a nativity in her character as she is unable to see the 'truth'; the second part here shows you are considering the strength of your own argument, and it is something that most university students fail to do so... I would structure the essay like this:

- Introduction
- Paragraph 1 – Text specific (Topic sentence – Development – Evidence ); fairly short
- Paragraph 2 – Extract specific (Topic sentence - Development – Evidence); detailed and longer
- Conclusion


Introduction – …

Paragraph 1 – Aristotle wrote that one of the definitions of tragedy was the 'imitation of an action that is admirable'. In the context of Hamlet, Hamlet's revenge on the murderer of his father is an admirable action, and the Ghost is used as a literary device to imply the guilt of the characters directly and indirectly involved in the murder.

Paragraph 2 - The ghost of the former king is used to create the specific effect of guilt. As a consequence, the Queen's inability to see the Ghost in the extract suggests her implied guilt in the former king's murder. First of all, she remarries Claudius, who is revealed to be the murderer of the king later in the play, and when she is first introduced in act x part y, she does not appear affected by her former husbands death as she attempts to cheer Hamlet up. Second of all, in the extract the Queen's inability to see the Ghost, remembering that the Ghost revealed the truth that he was murdered to Hamlet in the earlier in the play, suggests her guilt, but not only is she unable to see the truth of her former husbands death she chides Hamlet for his ability to see the Ghost, suggesting that he is crazy [insert textual examples from extract and justify your claims (i.e. mention literary/linguistic/rhetorical - the queen suggesting Hamlet is crazy would be rhetorical in the sense that she is being 'untruthful') etc., etc..

Conclusion - …

I hope this helped a little.
wow...
to be honest we've been told to answer it differently but your's is so much more admirable.
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evantej
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(Original post by Leepish)
wow...
to be honest we've been told to answer it differently but your's is so much more admirable.
That is how you answer questions properly; the quicker you get into the habit the better!
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Plasmatic
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(Original post by evantej)
Like many English students looking for help on this forum, you are not clear nor are you concise in your requests, which makes it very hard for people to help you. In addition, the feeling you have about an inability to 'write an essay to save my life after two years on this spec' is a good thing, trust me. You cannot write essays, and the study of language has stripped away any illusion you may have had, as you attempt to synthesise this new knowledge and approach to your essays; if you had taken literature then you would have merely kept up the illusion that you could write. Anyway, I will take a stab at answering your 'question' based on the question in this exam paper; I am only going to answer the first because I am being lazy.

“Explore the ways in which Shakespeare portrays conflicting relationships in this passage. / In your answer you must consider how he uses literary, linguistic and rhetorical devices and conventions to create specific dramatic effects.”

Firstly, the question in itself is fairly straightforward, but the sub-section is an atrocious piece of unnecessary intellectualism that will only confuse students. I would go into the exam and do the following: spend the first 30 minutes reading and writing up a plan for both questions, which leaves you with 45 minutes to write an answer for both. At first, I would look at the questions and underline the verbs; this is how they want you to frame your response. 'Explore' and 'portrays' are terrible verbs to use in an essay question, but that is the exam board patronising you; just assume they mean 'show' all the time (I would also suggest using the verbs they give you in your answer to make things as clear as possible). Secondly, I would look at the meat of the question 'conflicting relationships' and identify what the question is actually asking you to look at. In this case, the question suggested that here is a relationship but it is 'conflicting'. You will be marked on your ability to comprehend the material, that is, identify the relationship they are suggesting is conflicting. In most cases, the example they give you will be a trick question, that is, there may be more than one relationship, and you begin to appreciate how the better students are separated from those below who are only highlight one relationship, no matter how good their answer is. In summary, you are in a planning stage and I would be as clear as possible in this part so the markers can give you credit. For example, I would draw a line from the question and write 'relationships' then write the relationships that I find under this; if you are struggling then just write all the characters out and simply work through the relationships until you find out which ones work and which do not.

Relationships
Hamlet – Queen (son - mother)
Hamlet – Ghost (son - deceased father)
Ghost – Queen (deceased husband – living wife)
Real (Hamlet/Queen) - Unreal (Ghost); simplistically, 'Alive - Dead'

You should then look at these relationships and consider - what conflicts? The answer: Hamlet and the Queen are both alive, but only one of them can see the Ghost. You should then consider the implications of this answer; that is, that the deceased husband cannot (or does not) “contact” his former wife but he can contact his son. Well, what is so significant about this? What does the Ghost say to Hamlet? Why is the Ghost be unable to talk to his former wife? What does this say about the Queen?

If you manage to write this type of thing down in your notes you will get extremely high marks even if you run out of time and do not necessarily answer the question, because you are displaying really good critical skills.

Eventually, you will come to some sort of answer (premise) in your head as to why Hamlet can see the Ghost but the Queen cannot, and I suggest that this is what you should use as a unifying idea that will structure your essay. For example, if you suggested that the Hamlet was able to see the Ghost because he, unlike the Queen, had no part in his father's murder then you can start to answer the question, taking into consideration the sub-section; that is, which literary devices does Shakespeare use to suggest that the Queen is implicit in the former kings death; which linguistic devices... etc., etc.. Again, 45 minutes is not a long time to answer a question and you should avoid being too ambitious, and try to stick almost exclusively to the extract given to you unless, like in this case, you need to go back to the text to justify your premise and strengthen your argument. In this case, you would go back and justify your premise by suggesting that the Queen's guilt is implied through her quick marriage to the murderer of King Hamlet, and even if the Queen is not guilty her inability to see the Ghost suggests a nativity in her character as she is unable to see the 'truth'; the second part here shows you are considering the strength of your own argument, and it is something that most university students fail to do so... I would structure the essay like this:

- Introduction
- Paragraph 1 – Text specific (Topic sentence – Development – Evidence ); fairly short
- Paragraph 2 – Extract specific (Topic sentence - Development – Evidence); detailed and longer
- Conclusion


Introduction – …

Paragraph 1 – Aristotle wrote that one of the definitions of tragedy was the 'imitation of an action that is admirable'. In the context of Hamlet, Hamlet's revenge on the murderer of his father is an admirable action, and the Ghost is used as a literary device to imply the guilt of the characters directly and indirectly involved in the murder.

Paragraph 2 - The ghost of the former king is used to create the specific effect of guilt. As a consequence, the Queen's inability to see the Ghost in the extract suggests her implied guilt in the former king's murder. First of all, she remarries Claudius, who is revealed to be the murderer of the king later in the play, and when she is first introduced in act x part y, she does not appear affected by her former husbands death as she attempts to cheer Hamlet up. Second of all, in the extract the Queen's inability to see the Ghost, remembering that the Ghost revealed the truth that he was murdered to Hamlet in the earlier in the play, suggests her guilt, but not only is she unable to see the truth of her former husbands death she chides Hamlet for his ability to see the Ghost, suggesting that he is crazy [insert textual examples from extract and justify your claims (i.e. mention literary/linguistic/rhetorical - the queen suggesting Hamlet is crazy would be rhetorical in the sense that she is being 'untruthful') etc., etc..

Conclusion - …

I hope this helped a little.
I appreciate your answer, but what a shame you felt the need to be patronising and, frankly, rude about it. I'm an A-Level student, I'm worried about my exams and have been taught very little in this subject over the past two years. Why do you want to make me feel worse? Still, thank you for making the effort and for the detailed answer.
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evantej
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(Original post by Plasmatic)
I appreciate your answer, but what a shame you felt the need to be patronising and, frankly, rude about it. I'm an A-Level student, I'm worried about my exams and have been taught very little in this subject over the past two years. Why do you want to make me feel worse? Still, thank you for making the effort and for the detailed answer.
Oh, grow up. If I wanted to make you feel bad I would not have bothered answering your question, and if anything it is you who is being patronising and rude, because you suggested that you did not know anything and feel like cannot write an essay but you are sitting on an A.
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A level Az
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Thanks for the explanation on how to answer the question. I had a go at the very same question a week ago and just managed a B, so hopefully with your advice I can push it up a bit
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A level Az
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(Original post by Plasmatic)
I appreciate your answer, but what a shame you felt the need to be patronising and, frankly, rude about it. I'm an A-Level student, I'm worried about my exams and have been taught very little in this subject over the past two years. Why do you want to make me feel worse? Still, thank you for making the effort and for the detailed answer.
I have to agree with evantej; you're aiming for an A* and yet you act like you have no knowledge of English whatsoever. Get some balls
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narusku
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(Original post by evantej)
That is how you answer questions properly; the quicker you get into the habit the better!
when you say, 'how you answer questions properly' do you literally mean any question?
As I am new to critical analysis and my As english is so dependent on the ability to do so properly.
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evantej
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(Original post by narusku)
when you say, 'how you answer questions properly' do you literally mean any question?
As I am new to critical analysis and my As english is so dependent on the ability to do so properly.
Generally, yes. When you move up to a higher level you find that most lecturers care more about your logic and sign-posting (i.e. the words and phrases you use to help people follow the argument); that is, them being able to follow your complex arguments. In fact, you will be surprised just how many different types of approach people take to their criticism at this level. But at lower levels the reason why answers tend to be so formulaic is because it helps pupils construct answers in the first place.
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narusku
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(Original post by evantej)
Generally, yes. When you move up to a higher level you find that most lecturers care more about your logic and sign-posting (i.e. the words and phrases you use to help people follow the argument); that is, them being able to follow your complex arguments. In fact, you will be surprised just how many different types of approach people take to their criticism at this level. But at lower levels the reason why answers tend to be so formulaic is because it helps pupils construct answers in the first place.
Okay. Thank you
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katyboydsmith
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wow. that's why i hate the internet. what a douche
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katyboydsmith
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wow. that's why i hate the internet. what a ****
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