Higher English Exam 2011 Coming Up!! Watch

joshuaC
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The exam is three weeks today! Arghhh!
My folio's all done and I'm feeling fine about close reading, however, I'm now starting to panic about the critical essays.

I've been trying to study my texts all day (Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale"; John Stallworthy's "The Almond Tree; Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House; Kesey's "One Flew Over..." and "Macbeth") and I feel that I've made absolutely no progress whatsoever. My teacher is good at teaching CR techniques and with folio but not done a lot for the critical essay side of things.

Can anybody please please please suggest what I could do to prepare myself for the critical essay exam. I am going to be writing loads and loads of timed essays in the coming weeks but before I do so, I need to study my texts. But how do I do this?

Any help is greatly appreciated because I'm really starting to worry now
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NaturalDisaster
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Who's bright idea was to put our exam on Friday the 13th? Damn you SQA!! :lol:

I looked at my texts and copied my notes out again, but using loads of different brightly coloured pens so I could visualise them more easily in the exam. Also added some more notes of my own and some pictures for the imagery questions, and I think that worked out quite well for me, even though it seems girly and childish. You could always give that a go I suppose. But if you learn better by listening to things then maybe you could try recording yourself saying the notes out loud and listening to them? And yeah, practising is going to help too. I'd better get down to some English!!

I'm doing William Aggeler's translation of "Spleen" by Charles Baudelaire, "Home from Abroad" by Laurie Lee and "A Fairy Tale" by John Glenday for my poems, "A View from the Bridge" for my drama text, and then we also studied Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech which apparently comes under prose non-fiction. I hate Home from Abroad though so I'm determined not to use it if I can help it.

Hope there's some useful information in there. I'll try and remember what my english teacher said about Critical Essays and see if she gave me any good advice. Good luck for your exams by the way. Also, what was your discursive essay on, just out of curiosity? Mine was "Are Men more intelligent than women?" I'm a bit of a feminist. :lol: But I ended up saying that they were equal but different.
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ilovelife1234
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I know how you feel .... I hate both close reading and the critical essays, what i have done for the critical essays is that i did essays a couple of weeks before the easter and i got them marked by my teacher (i got around 17/25 for them which for me is preety good because english is not one of my strongest subjects) and so what im doing is highlighting all the quotes/ analysis i used for them and learning that. Remember for the drama questions you just need to know the key scenes, like the end of the play, turning point, beginning, main character i think thats it, i would advise you to seriously write as many essays as you can and ask your teacher to mark them to see if your structure is right and overall if they are at a good standard. I read my play again yesterday and what i did was for every scene i just wrote the main points that are relevant just to re cap what i already know but just to make it clear in my head. I find poetry a bit easier, im doing 3 Norman Mac Caig poems and The Almond Tree which i havent started studying yet :/..... Hope i kinda helped there lol

Except for doing close reading past papers, what else are everyone doing to help their grades for close reading go up? (HATE close reading so much agghh)
Good luck to everyone sitting the exam
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joshuaC
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(Original post by NaturalDisaster)
Who's bright idea was to put our exam on Friday the 13th? Damn you SQA!! :lol:

I looked at my texts and copied my notes out again, but using loads of different brightly coloured pens so I could visualise them more easily in the exam. Also added some more notes of my own and some pictures for the imagery questions, and I think that worked out quite well for me, even though it seems girly and childish. You could always give that a go I suppose. But if you learn better by listening to things then maybe you could try recording yourself saying the notes out loud and listening to them? And yeah, practising is going to help too. I'd better get down to some English!!

I'm doing William Aggeler's translation of "Spleen" by Charles Baudelaire, "Home from Abroad" by Laurie Lee and "A Fairy Tale" by John Glenday for my poems, "A View from the Bridge" for my drama text, and then we also studied Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech which apparently comes under prose non-fiction. I hate Home from Abroad though so I'm determined not to use it if I can help it.

Hope there's some useful information in there. I'll try and remember what my english teacher said about Critical Essays and see if she gave me any good advice. Good luck for your exams by the way. Also, what was your discursive essay on, just out of curiosity? Mine was "Are Men more intelligent than women?" I'm a bit of a feminist. :lol: But I ended up saying that they were equal but different.
That's exactly what I said when I found out the date! I'm just hoping it turns out a lucky day for all of us..!

I am good at learning visually also, that seems like a great idea. Thanks very much!

That would be great if you could think of anything she said because I know mine is unlikely to come away with anything! Haha

I can't remember the exact title, we did it so long ago but in it, I discussed if the use of genetic testing and diagnosis of an embryo with the intent of creating a "designer baby" is ethical. Yours sounds really interesting though! Fingers crossed everything goes okay, thanks for the help so far Good luck with your exams!

Edit: just remembered that's not the one I submitted. I discussed the future of fuels and talked about the gulf coast oil spill and Japan's subsequent nuclear disaster.
(Original post by ilovelife1234)
I know how you feel .... I hate both close reading and the critical essays, what i have done for the critical essays is that i did essays a couple of weeks before the easter and i got them marked by my teacher (i got around 17/25 for them which for me is preety good because english is not one of my strongest subjects) and so what im doing is highlighting all the quotes/ analysis i used for them and learning that. Remember for the drama questions you just need to know the key scenes, like the end of the play, turning point, beginning, main character i think thats it, i would advise you to seriously write as many essays as you can and ask your teacher to mark them to see if your structure is right and overall if they are at a good standard. I read my play again yesterday and what i did was for every scene i just wrote the main points that are relevant just to re cap what i already know but just to make it clear in my head. I find poetry a bit easier, im doing 3 Norman Mac Caig poems and The Almond Tree which i havent started studying yet :/..... Hope i kinda helped there lol

Except for doing close reading past papers, what else are everyone doing to help their grades for close reading go up? (HATE close reading so much agghh)
Good luck to everyone sitting the exam
You definitely helped, thanks for the advice! I think I'm going to have a look through my previous essays and do what you did too, highlight and learn quote/analysis, that sounds like a good idea!

The Almond Tree is okay, only thing is it's really long and never seems to end lol but the ideas are quite simple in it and it can be split up easily into different moods.

For close reading, I have rewrote our class notes, using different colours of pens and drawings (just like NaturalDisaster did for the texts). I find it helps cement what the examiners are looking for in my head and I can remember each part in colour which helps too.

I hope that made sense Good luck with your exams
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truthandtragedy
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Ooh, I'm so glad that I'm not doing Higher English anymore!

Good luck everyone. :yes:
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Quick-use
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Hey guys. My texts are:

"A View from the Bridge" by Arthur Miller - Drama
"The Cone-Gatherers" by Robin Jenkins - Prose
"Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus" by Sylvia Plath - Poetry

What I've done is read through my Drama text and get quotations from cover to cover and revise the themes. I'll be doing the same for the novel and poetry texts as well! I'm worried about the essays though. My teacher usually gives me 21s or 19s but what if the examiner doesn't agree with my point? I mean surely the examiner will be biased, and mistakes can be made when marking: we are humans after all! My teacher says "not to worry" as they'll still mark it if your own point is good, but surely they'd be biased, if a little!

I'm quite worried about Close Reading, too. This has never been a strong point . I get pretty random marks. I hope the text is interesting in the exam, and it's on a reasonably known topic!
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ilovelife1234
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(Original post by joshuaC)
That's exactly what I said when I found out the date! I'm just hoping it turns out a lucky day for all of us..!

I am good at learning visually also, that seems like a great idea. Thanks very much!

That would be great if you could think of anything she said because I know mine is unlikely to come away with anything! Haha

I can't remember the exact title, we did it so long ago but in it, I discussed if the use of genetic testing and diagnosis of an embryo with the intent of creating a "designer baby" is ethical. Yours sounds really interesting though! Fingers crossed everything goes okay, thanks for the help so far Good luck with your exams!




You definitely helped, thanks for the advice! I think I'm going to have a look through my previous essays and do what you did too, highlight and learn quote/analysis, that sounds like a good idea!

The Almond Tree is okay, only thing is it's really long and never seems to end lol but the ideas are quite simple in it and it can be split up easily into different moods.

For close reading, I have rewrote our class notes, using different colours of pens and drawings (just like NaturalDisaster did for the texts). I find it helps cement what the examiners are looking for in my head and I can remember each part in colour which helps too.

I hope that made sense Good luck with your exams
Same, im not a big fan of The Almond Tree, im considering not doing it but because questions do come up on it i think i am. Undecided .... Im glad i helped, yeeah deffo do that im telling you it helps, my grades started getting a bit better when i memorised good analysis. Thank you, yeah it made sense haha and good luck to you too
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NaturalDisaster
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(Original post by joshuaC)
That's exactly what I said when I found out the date! I'm just hoping it turns out a lucky day for all of us..!

I am good at learning visually also, that seems like a great idea. Thanks very much!

That would be great if you could think of anything she said because I know mine is unlikely to come away with anything! Haha

I can't remember the exact title, we did it so long ago but in it, I discussed if the use of genetic testing and diagnosis of an embryo with the intent of creating a "designer baby" is ethical. Yours sounds really interesting though! Fingers crossed everything goes okay, thanks for the help so far Good luck with your exams!
That sounds like a really good topic. All I can remember of my teachers advice at the moment is her insistence that we have a huge breakfast before the exam. :lol: Really hope the exam goes well for all of us. Good luck.
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NaturalDisaster
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(Original post by Quick-use)
Hey guys. My texts are:

"A View from the Bridge" by Arthur Miller - Drama
"The Cone-Gatherers" by Robin Jenkins - Prose
"Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus" by Sylvia Plath - Poetry

What I've done is read through my Drama text and get quotations from cover to cover and revise the themes. I'll be doing the same for the novel and poetry texts as well! I'm worried about the essays though. My teacher usually gives me 21s or 19s but what if the examiner doesn't agree with my point? I mean surely the examiner will be biased, and mistakes can be made when marking: we are humans after all! My teacher says "not to worry" as they'll still mark it if your own point is good, but surely they'd be biased, if a little!

I'm quite worried about Close Reading, too. This has never been a strong point . I get pretty random marks. I hope the text is interesting in the exam, and it's on a reasonably known topic!
I'm doing "A View from the Bridge" as well. I quite liked it actually, went to see it in Edinburgh a couple of months ago and it was quite good, although Eddie wasn't passionate enough and I think it ruined my image of him a bit, which is a shame. :lol: I seriously need to start learning up the scenes and stuff for it. I think I've got the whole Eddie-Catherine relationship down, but I'm not very good with key scenes and turning points etc. Themes aren't a strong point either. As long as the question targets obsession and jealousy then I think I can write a fairly good essay, but if they start asking about specific scenes I'm screwed. :lol:

And I don't think the examiners will be biased, English is subjective after all, and as long as you argue your point well enough they'll give it a good mark I think.
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angelbaby91
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I have just tried to memorise the quotes from play and novel by highlighting and writing down the analysis and techniques/key points etc etc.
I have a help book for the close reading which I use.
I really do hope that the close reading is not too difficult in the final exam, and that the essays will fit with my questions/book/play :s
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catmandoo
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do mind maps they help alot get a sheet of paper n write down allthe essential quotes n make sure u learn them i do mind maps then the day after attempt an essay it helps
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joshuaC
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Thanks for all the help so far everyone!

Do you think it would be a good idea to have a plan for each of my texts for each of the possible categories of questions?

For example ... Say I was to do a character development for the main character in my prose, take key quotes and sort of have the "body" of the essay learned off by heart along with the quotes I would use. Then do the same for themes, setting in time and place, characters in conflict etc. Would that help me for the exam or would it not really?
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Hype en Ecosse
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(Original post by joshuaC)
Thanks for all the help so far everyone!

Do you think it would be a good idea to have a plan for each of my texts for each of the possible categories of questions?

For example ... Say I was to do a character development for the main character in my prose, take key quotes and sort of have the "body" of the essay learned off by heart along with the quotes I would use. Then do the same for themes, setting in time and place, characters in conflict etc. Would that help me for the exam or would it not really?
I wouldn't say have a plan for each type of question...but more of...know WHAT parts of your text are relative to the question.

for example, I'm doing quite similar things to the lads in the thread.
"The Cone-Gatherers" by Robin Jenkins
"All My Sons" by Arthur Miller
"The Almond Tree" by Jon Stallworthy

My advice would be to know your texts in and out, so I'll refer to the Almond Tree since you can relate best to what I'm saying then.

If the question asks about a poem which explores feelings of say...anguish, stick to anguish. Don't even touch on the Rebirth, or the writers ecstasy in the beginning. I said "At the beginning of the poem, Stallworthy feels overwhelming feelings of joy which sharply contrasts with his feelings of anguish throughout the poem." I thought using it for the purpose of contrast was appropriate to such a question, but I was wrong. Teacher marked me down for it.

Honestly, know your texts like the back of your hand, and when you see a question you should be able to pick apart what parts of your text are relevant to answering a question. As the cone-gatherers guy can probably sympathise with me. Asking about how the character's fate casts light on the theme. Straight away you think "Calum's death. Good vs Evil." And talking about his death should make up a paragraph, and other parts can consist of analysing other examples of Good and Evil, such as Duror slaughtering the deer and Calum trying to protect it. "Screaming in sympathy, he threw himself upon the deer heedless of the danger. He clasped his arms around its neck, as if to try and comfort it."
Or even in the beginning with Calum trying to put the rabbit out of its misery where "he had not decided on the base of right or wrong; he had merely yielded to instinct."

Have a couple of FLEXIBLE quotes, and a couple of specific quotes ready! Straight from reading the question, if you know your text you can come up with a plan for the entire essay in about thirty seconds. As well, do past papers so its easier to come up with plans for you essay, so you'll know generally what the marker is looking for when you walk into the exam hall.

I don't like to think of it as writing an essay...I prefer to think of it as writing a large answer. You wouldn't talk about phagocytosis if you were asked a question about alpha amylase in Biology would you? :P
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Albertine
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Lets just hope there is a question about revenge (Drama) and unrequited love (Prose) and I'm sorted! Pretty much the only things I feel confident about writing about at the moment!!
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chr1stopher11
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This year I studied:

Prose
The Telegram - Iain Crichton Smith
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey

Drama
The Crucible - Arthur Miller

Poetry
Iolaire - Iain Crichton Smith
Old Woman - Iain Crichton Smith

Lol as you can see my english teacher must love Iain Crichton Smith

For the exam I really hope I can do something with The Telegram and The Crucible. I think I'd only do poetry if it was my only option for my second essay And I think I'd be ok doing an essay on One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. But I am far better at close reading than essays. For my essays I usually get about 32 and for close reading I get around 38.

Also I really hope that the grade boundaries stay as they were for last year:

A1: 71%
A2: 64%
B: 55%
C: 47%
D: 43%

Good luck everyone!
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burial
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Jeeez. I thought reading this thread would make me feel better. It didn't.

I have a Politics prelim on Tuesday, and pretty much HAVE to get an A if I am to have any hope of an appeal (apparently Politics appeals are fairly common as it is a fairly new Higher). I haven't looked at my texts for English for about a month... I did get an A in the prelim and the teacher did say he was strict so I guess thats good.

I prepared write ups of key scenes, plot summaries and techinques for my texts but haven't looked at them for ages either. I know my play (Macbeth) and novel (Color Purple) very well as it is, but my poem (Shooting Stars) I'm not so sure about. I kind of just want to focus on my novel and play to the point where I can shape any question to fit them.
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daviddoubleyoo
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Hey everyone!
How are you all feeling about this years Higher English exam?
I'm really scared about it as I need a C to meet my Conditional Offer for the BEd Primary Education at the University of Aberdeen. I got a B for my prelim and I still nervous about it as it's on Friday 13th May :-o. I hope it's a good omen!
Anyway, what texts are you all doing? How do you feel about Close Reading?
Hope to hear from you Englishers soon!
David Wilson
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ilovelife1234
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(Original post by daviddoubleyoo)
Hey everyone!
How are you all feeling about this years Higher English exam?
I'm really scared about it as I need a C to meet my Conditional Offer for the BEd Primary Education at the University of Aberdeen. I got a B for my prelim and I still nervous about it as it's on Friday 13th May :-o. I hope it's a good omen!
Anyway, what texts are you all doing? How do you feel about Close Reading?
Hope to hear from you Englishers soon!
David Wilson
Heya im feeling very nervous to be honest , needing a B for english and i got a C in the prelim . I hate close reading and also hate drama essays (even though i know the play really well , i still find it DIFFICULT to actually write an essay), the only thing im preety confident about is the poetry just going to write as many drama essays as i can and then get them marked and do some more close reading practise.
Im doing The Almond Tree, Sparrow and Visiting Hour (poetry) and The Crucible by Arthur Miller (Drama)
You will get a C , Do you think your folio is off a high standard?
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username356927
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(Original post by ilovelife1234)
Heya im feeling very nervous to be honest , needing a B for english and i got a C in the prelim . I hate close reading and also hate drama essays (even though i know the play really well , i still find it DIFFICULT to actually write an essay), the only thing im preety confident about is the poetry just going to write as many drama essays as i can and then get them marked and do some more close reading practise.
Im doing The Almond Tree, Sparrow and Visiting Hour (poetry) and The Crucible by Arthur Miller (Drama)
You will get a C , Do you think your folio is off a high standard?
Sounds like a pretty good plan Most people find essays difficult, it is just a matter of practice. Make sure you know your texts inside out and try not to panic.
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daviddoubleyoo
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I don't know if this years paper will be difficult due to the folio boosting our marks or if the grade boundaries will change haha. I just hope we get an interesting paper as i hate 2008 with a passion - total crap and really hard paper but every other one was good. Yeah my folio is quite good (according to my tutor). How is your folio? Do you think this years paper will be hard? A couple of people i know are revising two good essays off by heart and then gonna twist the question in every paragraph which you could do tbh but they might panic and forget it haha.
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