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    (Original post by MSB)
    If, hypothetically, you were to subscribe (by using riches, for instance), you could find out who it was.
    Thanks a lot for the... advice
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    Who was it?
    I'm betting on English_Applicant.
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    (Original post by alecangeltess)
    Who was it?
    I'm betting on English_Applicant.
    No, A-Man!, it wasn't me. 35mm has done nothing to annoy me: why would I do something so vindictive?
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    Joking dearest.
    So, ELAT, yes. Probbaly will go with poems, don't feel as comfy with prose.
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    will there be 3 pieces of prose and 3 poems??
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    (Original post by jack/ten)
    will there be 3 pieces of prose and 3 poems??
    Not necessarily, young Jack.

    @A-Man! I would agree, but in the sample paper I thought the poems were horrible, and the prose actually quite good.
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    Is the That Reverend Shade still in the sample paper? I really liked that. I remember quite liking most of the poems in there. I probably had more of an issue with the prose.

    Aren't we an eclectic bunch.
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    (Original post by English_Applicant)
    Not necessarily, young Jack.

    @A-Man! I would agree, but in the sample paper I thought the poems were horrible, and the prose actually quite good.
    What things did you point out in the sample paper? by the way was that the one with views on fathers?
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    Yo OP, you could attach the links to the ELAT threads of the past 2 years. It'd help people see what kind of responses people gave, etc. Though being wary that it was still its prototypey stage, as it were, in the first year, two years ago.
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    (Original post by Sanyore)
    Yo OP, you could attach the links to the ELAT threads of the past 2 years. It'd help people see what kind of responses people gave, etc. Though being wary that it was still its prototypey stage, as it were, in the first year, two years ago.
    I've attached a thread from last year. A quick search brings up hundreds of threads, though.
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    Hurray for remembering key words like psychogeographical.
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    What?! Thanks for the link though.

    Guys, if you tell me what colleges you're applying to, I can put details in the Original Post. Will be nice to see how people have got on in a couple of months' time.
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    Haha. You're going to regret asking. but okay. Mansfield, ol' chap.
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    And for goodness sakes, I'm not "A-MAn!". This debate got old ages ago.
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    (This is my super informative post. Since I am sure most of you will know most of the information herein - as I am, after all, only getting it from the website - the main intention of this post is more to allay any worries you might have about it.

    N.B.: None of the advice contained here is in any way authoritative, because it only comes from me. To minimise the possibility of my bad advice leading you astray I've stuck like a limpit to the information given by Cambridge Assessment.
    )

    From the ELAT website:

    ELAT is designed to assess close reading, including paying attention to the language, imagery, allusion, syntax, form and structure of the passages set for comment.
    ...
    ELAT is a 90-minute test, candidates write one essay comparing two or three passages. This is not a test of wide reading, nor is it based on the assumption that there are certain texts that all students should have read by this stage in their education. Marks will not be awarded for reference to other texts or authors, nor will candidates be expected to try to apply any theoretical frameworks to their essay.
    ...
    Candidates will be given six poems or passages from prose and/or drama. The prose may include fiction and non-fiction. The six passages will be linked in some way, and this link will be made explicit in the introduction to the passages.
    ...
    There will be a single task worded as follows:

    Select two or three of the passages (a) to (f) and compare and contrast them in any ways that seem interesting to you, paying particular attention to distinctive features of structure, language and style. In your introduction, indicate briefly what you intend to explore or illustrate through close reading of your chosen passages.
    The other important resource on the website is the sample test, which can be found here. If you have not done so already, I suggest that you take the time to sit it as if it were the real thing (don't cheat, in other words), and then ask a teacher in school very nicely if they can mark it for you. I am going to be using it as an example from now onwards, so if you are yet to do it stop reading, otherwise I'm going to be giving you ideas.

    You have an hour and a half in which to write one essay. The sample paper says: "You should spend at least 30 minutes reading and annotating the passages and in preparing your answer." Obviously, the first thing you need to do is read over the extracts carefully. It will help if you immediately note anything interesting that you spot at this point. They will all be "linked in some way", and the "link will be made explicit in the introduction to the passages". With the sample paper, we are told: "The following poems and extracts from longer texts present views of fathers, mainly as seen by their children". As you read through them, think about this "link" and which passages you think would work well being 'compared and contrasted'. There may also be links between some of the extracts which are more subtle than the main link stated at the start of the question paper. For example, in the sample paper, within the "link" of "views of fathers", we can see that in b), d) and f) (and possibly e)), the 'father' has died. If you look closely, none of them is solely about "views of fathers", so doubtless there are further thematic links between the extracts in the sample paper that could be drawn out.

    You need to "select two or three of the passages" to "compare and contrast...in any ways that seem interesting to you". The last part - "any ways that seem interesting to you" - has a freedom that is both daunting and exhilarating. Essentially, it means you can use the vehicle of the "compare and contrast" exercise to bring out any aspect of your chosen passages that interest you. It doesn't have to be crazy or completely original. Read the passages carefully and choose something that you think you can talk about confidently and that you think will allow you to say something interesting. With a "compare and contrast" exercise, you have the freedom to draw passages together that are actually quite different, and since the passages in your question paper are carefully picked, it is likely that any combination of two or three passages will have the potential of bringing out something interesting. With that in mind, I don't think there is anything wrong with limiting your extracts to help you choose. If, for instance, you're not very confident talking about prose, stick to comparing the passages of poetry.

    Once you've picked your passages and decided on what you "intend to explore or illustrated through close reading of your chosen passages", you can write your introduction. Read over the passages again, noting anything significant. Remember, with a "compare and contrast" exercise, you are looking at both features that are similar and features that are different, so don't get so caught up on explaining how they are similar that you miss out on how they differ. Also, remember that there is no merit in merely spotting things or naming features; you need to go further and say what the feature does. In d), we could talk about the idea of objects taking the place of the absent father: we have "I have the things you made/and she has made us see you in them./I have the ivory statues and the pictures/telling stories of African ancestors,/a birth, flights into Egypt". Following the final line of b) ("take a life immortal from my verse"), which has the idea of a poem itself out-living its subject or its author to be a 'memorial' to them, you could link that with those ideas of the father being remembered in objects, in saying how the passages themselves are memorials to their author's fathers. The timelessness common in those passages seems to work well with this idea, especially with the repeated 'circle' image in d). This idea of literature defeating mortality isn't a particularly new one in literature, but since marks "will not be awarded for reference to other texts or authors", you needn't go out of your way to list other texts you know of that feature it.

    Try to be thorough, but, as I said before, don't needlessly point features out simply for the sake of it. In literature, we are looking for how form and content work together. For instance, in b) from our example, if we look at the last two lines:

    For my life mortal, rise from out thy hearse;
    And take a life immortal from my verse.
    It is not enough to say: "The last two lines rhyme. This is called a couplet." You should say "The last two lines form a rhyming couplet, which gives a sense of resolution to the end of the poem. In rhyming 'hearse' and 'verse', the poet shows the change in location of his father, going 'from out' of the 'hearse' to 'take a life immortal' in the 'verse'." or something like that.

    The websites mentions that you should be looking at "language, imagery, allusion, syntax, form and structure". (There is a possible issue with "allusion" (with regards to the complete eschewal of references to external texts in the mark scheme), but if there is an obvious reference to another text (such as Biblical references) there's no harm in briefly pointing them out and saying what they achieve.) It really doesn't matter if you don't know your anapaests from your anaphora, just stick to which features you think are interesting and relevant, and how they achieve what they do. There's only an hour, so try to stick to the important bits.

    Keep an eye on the time as you work. Try to stop at about five minutes before the end, and bring your essay towards a close. When you've been frantically scribbling to get as much down as you can it's easy to wander away from a logical flow of ideas (not if you made a good, well thought-out plan at the start!), but try to bring it to a conclusion. Almost any conclusion will be better than writing right up to the time limit and then just st...

    If you have a bit more time at the end, go back over your essay, correcting any errors you can see with the spelling or grammar. Then you're done. Easy.


    You have two weeks until the test, so there is still time to prepare. If you have not done the sample test yet, why not? Having done that, you could sweet-talk your English teacher into finding a few more unseen pieces of poetry with a common facet that you could look at then give to them to mark.

    You can do some reading to improve your close reading. At the least, there are plenty of articles on The Internet that purport to explain how to do a close reading (such as this, or this, or this, or this). Like most things, there is no authoritative method to a close reading, so looking at more than one will help you get an idea of the common, essential features. If you want to do more than this, you could try a book on the subject. Some have been mentioned previously in this thread, such as How to Read a Poem by Terry Eagleton.

    Even if you don't get time for much preparation in these final weeks, don't worry about it. Close reading is a skill that, without really knowing it, you've been learning in your English lessons throughout school, and even just in your everyday reading (since, as a good English applicant, you will always be reading with A Critical and Incisive Mind). The ELAT isn't set by the nasty Oxford to trick you out. Oxford can only get the best applicants if they provide you with a platform to really show off your skills, even if you didn't know you had those skills. You will find, as we did very briefly in my cursory and scattered observations about some of the poems of the sample paper, that the passages have been put together to provoke a good result from you. Even if you think it's going really badly, the chances are you've produced something more interesting than you think.

    That said, doing badly on the ELAT is not the end of the world:
    a) because, although it is important, it is not the only factor in your admission
    b) because, although it is quite nice, Oxford isn't the only university in the world in which it is possible to have fun and from which it is possible to get a good degree.

    Gosh, that was long. I hope this is useful in some way. I hope it makes sense, even. I'm exhausted.
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    J'adore la MSB. :love:

    I like the fact your post makes it sound easy. Personally I like to mentally prepare myself for challenges by telling myself they're straight-forward and that they have little reason not to turn out well.
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    (Original post by MSB)
    **Incredibly useful post**
    On behalf of everyone who reads this, thanks, it's really useful!
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    Let's play guess the topic.
    I predict 'evening', or 'night'.
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    Exile!
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    Oxford.
    Death.
    Homes and houses.
    Literature.
    Travel.
    Sexy time.


    Today I wrote about a side and a half comparing Hardy's and Armitage's 'The Convergence of the Twain' and then I got bored and started listening to French CDs.


    e - I just remembered the look of my head of year's face when he asked me what the paper was about when I came out the exam last year. Kind of like this: :lolwut:
 
 
 
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