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AQA English Literature- To Kill A Mocking Bird Watch

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    Heyyy everybody!

    Im doing To Kill a Mocking bird for the novel, but to be honest Im really struggling with what you are meant to include in your answer? Are you meant to retell the story in your own words ? do you write part a and b in one essay ? do you include all the key episodes in one answer even though they would give you an extract ??
    Im aiming for a minimum of an A. Thanks alot
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    (Original post by mandy123mandy123)
    Heyyy everybody!

    Im doing To Kill a Mocking bird for the novel, but to be honest Im really struggling with what you are meant to include in your answer? Are you meant to retell the story in your own words ? do you write part a and b in one essay ? do you include all the key episodes in one answer even though they would give you an extract ??
    Im aiming for a minimum of an A. Thanks alot
    I'm writing this with the assumption that you're doing AQA English Literature.

    Retelling the story is precisely what you're not meant to do. Your job is to answer the questions, which are very specific. Whilst you probably want to situate the paragraph briefly in your introduction, simply paraphrasing the story is a part of Unit 1 English Language, not English Literature. If you want more detailed information, you can take a look at the general markscheme here but here's a quick synopsis of what you're meant to do.

    In section A, you're simply analysing the given passage -nothing else. The question changes from year to year, but it generally is along the lines of "How does Lee use details in this passage to present...", followed by a theme or a character. Your task is to do precisely that, to analyse details in the passage. The top band in part A says you need to give an "insightful and exploratory response to the task and text", but more importantly you need to give "close analysis of detail" and give an "evaluation of the writer's uses of language and/or structure and/or form and effects on the readers". You're going to want to pick out relevant quotations to support your argument and you need to not only analyse what techniques are being used but the effects they have on the reader. The final criteria for section A is a "convincing interpretation of ideas/themes", so you do need to link your answers back to the key themes of the novel. However, you must remember that section A is focused on the paragraph. Do not go off talking about the use of techniques in other parts of the novel, because it's completely irrelevant in this section. Also, context isn't part of part A. You're more than welcome to talk about it if it supports your point, but you'll get no credit for context alone; that's in part B.

    Section B is generally related to the passage in Section A, asking you to expand on an idea of character throughout the novel. For example, I'm looking at a past paper where part a) asks you to show how Miss Maudie presents her view of Maycomb and part b) asks you to show how life was like in a small town such as Maycomb in 1930s America. Part B is actually pretty similar to Part A, there are just a few more things you need to add. Just like in Part A, you need a "close analysis of detail" which means picking out quotes, identifying techniques and explaining the effect on the reader. However, you also have to remember to relate what you're talking about to the context, which you'll hopefully know all about. This isn't too difficult since the questions generally relate quite obviously to the context. You just need to find convenient points to say "Indeed, in 1930s America... ".

    Remember that you only have 20 minutes for each section (plus 5 minutes of thinking time), so there's absolutely no expectation for you to come up with an incredibly complex, 10 page essay. You're not going to be able to analyse every detail in section 1, nor are you going to be able to give every instance of the theme/character you're supposed to write about in section 2. The important thing is that you're ticking the boxes, and that you're packing in enough detail so that you're explaining the impact on the reader rather than just identifying which techniques are being used.

    Hope this helps!
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    ugh this exam is going to kill me
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    (Original post by Chlorophile)
    I'm writing this with the assumption that you're doing AQA English Literature.

    Retelling the story is precisely what you're not meant to do. Your job is to answer the questions, which are very specific. Whilst you probably want to situate the paragraph briefly in your introduction, simply paraphrasing the story is a part of Unit 1 English Language, not English Literature. If you want more detailed information, you can take a look at the general markscheme here but here's a quick synopsis of what you're meant to do.

    In section A, you're simply analysing the given passage -nothing else. The question changes from year to year, but it generally is along the lines of "How does Lee use details in this passage to present...", followed by a theme or a character. Your task is to do precisely that, to analyse details in the passage. The top band in part A says you need to give an "insightful and exploratory response to the task and text", but more importantly you need to give "close analysis of detail" and give an "evaluation of the writer's uses of language and/or structure and/or form and effects on the readers". You're going to want to pick out relevant quotations to support your argument and you need to not only analyse what techniques are being used but the effects they have on the reader. The final criteria for section A is a "convincing interpretation of ideas/themes", so you do need to link your answers back to the key themes of the novel. However, you must remember that section A is focused on the paragraph. Do not go off talking about the use of techniques in other parts of the novel, because it's completely irrelevant in this section. Also, context isn't part of part A. You're more than welcome to talk about it if it supports your point, but you'll get no credit for context alone; that's in part B.

    Section B is generally related to the passage in Section A, asking you to expand on an idea of character throughout the novel. For example, I'm looking at a past paper where part a) asks you to show how Miss Maudie presents her view of Maycomb and part b) asks you to show how life was like in a small town such as Maycomb in 1930s America. Part B is actually pretty similar to Part A, there are just a few more things you need to add. Just like in Part A, you need a "close analysis of detail" which means picking out quotes, identifying techniques and explaining the effect on the reader. However, you also have to remember to relate what you're talking about to the context, which you'll hopefully know all about. This isn't too difficult since the questions generally relate quite obviously to the context. You just need to find convenient points to say "Indeed, in 1930s America... ".

    Remember that you only have 20 minutes for each section (plus 5 minutes of thinking time), so there's absolutely no expectation for you to come up with an incredibly complex, 10 page essay. You're not going to be able to analyse every detail in section 1, nor are you going to be able to give every instance of the theme/character you're supposed to write about in section 2. The important thing is that you're ticking the boxes, and that you're packing in enough detail so that you're explaining the impact on the reader rather than just identifying which techniques are being used.

    Hope this helps!
    Thanks alot !!! that was really helpful. But I also wanted to ask, do you answer part a) and b) in one essay in section B or seperately? and how many points would you need to expand on in each section???

    Thanks
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    (Original post by mandy123mandy123)
    Thanks alot !!! that was really helpful. But I also wanted to ask, do you answer part a) and b) in one essay in section B or seperately? and how many points would you need to expand on in each section???

    Thanks
    You can either answer them is one essay, or do them separately. Personally I like to write them as one longer essay because the two parts are generally quite similar so it's fairly easy to link them together and I just think it's more stylish, but there's no definitive reason why you shouldn't write them as two different essays. Just make sure that, if you write it as one essay, you make the distinction between the two parts clear.

    There's no specific number of points that you need to expand on because it depends on how much detail you put into it. I think I remember my english teacher telling us that you should aim for around 3 detailed paragraphs in each part but quality is more important than quantity. You'd be able to get full marks with two paragraphs as long as there are enough top-band features there. The most important thing is that you get the essay finished, so write as much as you can in 20 minutes, and then move on to part b.

    Also remember that as well as the 45 minute essay on Mockingbird, you've also got to do a 45 minute essay on the other text you've been studying. A good tip is to start with the one you find hardest because you're always more pressurized at the end of an exam, and having an easier text will ease the pressure a little.
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    (Original post by Chlorophile)
    You can either answer them is one essay, or do them separately. Personally I like to write them as one longer essay because the two parts are generally quite similar so it's fairly easy to link them together and I just think it's more stylish, but there's no definitive reason why you shouldn't write them as two different essays. Just make sure that, if you write it as one essay, you make the distinction between the two parts clear.

    There's no specific number of points that you need to expand on because it depends on how much detail you put into it. I think I remember my english teacher telling us that you should aim for around 3 detailed paragraphs in each part but quality is more important than quantity. You'd be able to get full marks with two paragraphs as long as there are enough top-band features there. The most important thing is that you get the essay finished, so write as much as you can in 20 minutes, and then move on to part b.

    Also remember that as well as the 45 minute essay on Mockingbird, you've also got to do a 45 minute essay on the other text you've been studying. A good tip is to start with the one you find hardest because you're always more pressurized at the end of an exam, and having an easier text will ease the pressure a little.
    Thanks alot !!! sorry for asking so many questions but I've been looking for exemplars for this part of the exam or even sample paragraphs so I get an idea of how and what im meant to write , would you know any websites or revision guides that are helpful ??? thanks
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    (Original post by mandy123mandy123)
    Thanks alot !!! sorry for asking so many questions but I've been looking for exemplars for this part of the exam or even sample paragraphs so I get an idea of how and what im meant to write , would you know any websites or revision guides that are helpful ??? thanks
    I have the "York notes for GCSE: To Kill a Mockingbird" revision guide. Having said that, I don't think it's brilliant since the exam section isn't for AQA. You'd be better off going to your teacher.

    NB: Sparknotes.com has a lot of detailed notes on To Kill a Mockingbird, although I'm not sure if it's 100% relevant to AQA.
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    (Original post by Chlorophile)
    I have the "York notes for GCSE: To Kill a Mockingbird" revision guide. Having said that, I don't think it's brilliant since the exam section isn't for AQA. You'd be better off going to your teacher.

    NB: Sparknotes.com has a lot of detailed notes on To Kill a Mockingbird, although I'm not sure if it's 100% relevant to AQA.
    thank you !! im so scared for this exam as im not prepared at all !
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    So, is there only two questions on To Kill a Mockingbird? Also are these grade boundaries set just as harshly as Language?


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    (Original post by BLTontour)
    So, is there only two questions on To Kill a Mockingbird? Also are these grade boundaries set just as harshly as Language?


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App

    Well the grade boundaries change every exam. I cant remember what the boundaries were but i think it was something like 40 out of 60 was an A* (in raw marks not ums) but check the aqa website to make sure.
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    Do you guys wanna share ideas and themes about the novel ?
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    (Original post by mandy123mandy123)
    Do you guys wanna share ideas and themes about the novel ?
    hell yeah!!
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    heyyy everybody does anyone have some tips on how to analyse language in the extract ?? i find it really diffcult on what to pick out and what to say ?? thanks
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    (Original post by mandy123mandy123)
    heyyy everybody does anyone have some tips on how to analyse language in the extract ?? i find it really diffcult on what to pick out and what to say ?? thanks
    I might do!
    try to spot metaphors, similes, humor, irony,and the other classic language devices.Now once you pick them out try to link them and state their effect.
    like...
    .the writer's craft
    .the humor
    . child's perspective (e.g to highlight in justice).
    .try to relate to the themes (e.g attitudes to women)
    .look for what it tells you about the character
    .it might be related to the social historical context (when it was written)
    .it's important to look at the effect on the reader

    hope this helps
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    (Original post by theslowbaker)
    I might do!
    try to spot metaphors, similes, humor, irony,and the other classic language devices.Now once you pick them out try to link them and state their effect.
    like...
    .the writer's craft
    .the humor
    . child's perspective (e.g to highlight in justice).
    .try to relate to the themes (e.g attitudes to women)
    .look for what it tells you about the character
    .it might be related to the social historical context (when it was written)
    .it's important to look at the effect on the reader

    hope this helps
    Thank u!!

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    This is a really helpful thread, but there were a couple of other things I hoped to find out.

    If a question asks about how Lee 'presents' a certain character in the extract, as they have done previously, would it be the case that you should talk mainly about how the dialogue and action/reaction descriptions give you an idea of the person's character or instead put the focus on how the language itself makes them seem? (Silly question, perhaps, but that style of exam question is a tad vague for my liking.)

    Also, are there any particular parts of the book or characters that are more likely to come up, based on what's already been on in the past? It's just that I feel like no matter how much I revise the book I can only be so prepared.
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    (Original post by lofticries)
    This is a really helpful thread, but there were a couple of other things I hoped to find out.

    If a question asks about how Lee 'presents' a certain character in the extract, as they have done previously, would it be the case that you should talk mainly about how the dialogue and action/reaction descriptions give you an idea of the person's character or instead put the focus on how the language itself makes them seem? (Silly question, perhaps, but that style of exam question is a tad vague for my liking.)

    Also, are there any particular parts of the book or characters that are more likely to come up, based on what's already been on in the past? It's just that I feel like no matter how much I revise the book I can only be so prepared.
    I'll try to help you - answer your second question first
    (for higher)

    • Dolphus Raymond= Jan 2013 + attitudes to blacks
    • Aunt Alexandra + Francis = June 2012 + attitudes to women(position of women)
    • Ms Maudie=Jan 2012 +Life in a southern small town during the 1930s e.g depression + segregation
    • Atticus (+ Tim Johnson the dog) = June 2011 + injustice + Bravery (+possible parallels to draw to bitter intolerance)
    • The Ewells + Mayella as question b = Jan 2011 class + intolerance or prejudice against one's class.


    To conclude, i believe that growing up might come up or Bravery, even though, it only vaguely came up before and it is not as vast as the other themes. Leading me to believe that an extract to do with jem, maybe taking his trousers back; might appear. Don't take my word for it. Even Boo could come or maybe cal - they might be sneaky and give us MR Underwood or the sheriff...Any one who has not appeared.

    Now for question 1.
    You are right about dialogue and actions but i think you should try to analyse the speech on a microscopic level, by looking at a single word from your chosen quotation phrase. According to Mr Bruff, (from Youtube) this puts you into the higher bands.Not only that, you might want to suggest what this may tell you about the writers themes and ideas (e.g growing up) , and remember to identify the language device from your chosen quotation some may be obscure ones like euphemism or irony - so keep your eyes pealed. In addition, the key word in the question is LEE, so remember to highlight her craft of inviting us the reader to consider something (e.g the gap between an adult's perspective and a child's perspective) or what the character may symbolise, this is an opportunity to include the themes or ideas about the social historical context...

    For instance...

    ms Maudie...

    May symbolise Bravery because she says "always wanted a smaller house", when she witnesses her home burning. Lee uses a pun to illustrate her mental strength against the destruction of many of her possessions at a time of financial despair.By using a pun she shows how tolerant and well mannered she is as a character like a "sunbeam", that will light up even the most dismal situations, in a similar way to a pun can.

    Here i couldn't use analysis on a single word level but do you see how you could link to themes, if the passage was on the night of the fire and on bravery.
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    (Original post by theslowbaker)
    I'll try to help you - answer your second question first
    (for higher)

    • Dolphus Raymond= Jan 2013 + attitudes to blacks
    • Aunt Alexandra + Francis = June 2012 + attitudes to women(position of women)
    • Ms Maudie=Jan 2012 +Life in a southern small town during the 1930s e.g depression + segregation
    • Atticus (+ Tim Johnson the dog) = June 2011 + injustice + Bravery (+possible parallels to draw to bitter intolerance)
    • The Ewells + Mayella as question b = Jan 2011 class + intolerance or prejudice against one's class.


    To conclude, i believe that growing up might come up or Bravery, even though, it only vaguely came up before and it is not as vast as the other themes. Leading me to believe that an extract to do with jem, maybe taking his trousers back; might appear. Don't take my word for it. Even Boo could come or maybe cal - they might be sneaky and give us MR Underwood or the sheriff...Any one who has not appeared.

    Now for question 1.
    You are right about dialogue and actions but i think you should try to analyse the speech on a microscopic level, by looking at a single word from your chosen quotation phrase. According to Mr Bruff, (from Youtube) this puts you into the higher bands.Not only that, you might want to suggest what this may tell you about the writers themes and ideas (e.g growing up) , and remember to identify the language device from your chosen quotation some may be obscure ones like euphemism or irony - so keep your eyes pealed. In addition, the key word in the question is LEE, so remember to highlight her craft of inviting us the reader to consider something (e.g the gap between an adult's perspective and a child's perspective) or what the character may symbolise, this is an opportunity to include the themes or ideas about the social historical context...

    For instance...

    ms Maudie...

    May symbolise Bravery because she says "always wanted a smaller house", when she witnesses her home burning. Lee uses a pun to illustrate her mental strength against the destruction of many of her possessions at a time of financial despair.By using a pun she shows how tolerant and well mannered she is as a character like a "sunbeam", that will light up even the most dismal situations, in a similar way to a pun can.

    Here i couldn't use analysis on a single word level but do you see how you could link to themes, if the passage was on the night of the fire and on bravery.
    Thanks a lot for your response! And it would certainly be plausible for those themes to crop up. (Not sure whether it's worth thinking about but I believe the Jan. 2013 Foundation paper had a question on Scout and Jem's relationship, with Jem getting his trousers back as the extract. Whilst it was foundation, it was still very recent.)

    My teacher was pretty vague about what might come up, mentioning Dill and Cal but not really going into who'd already been on, so it's great that you layed it all out like that; it makes it a lot easier to spot gaps

    As for the analysis I can definitely see how tying in the themes and analysing on a single word basis would enable you to extract more from very little and possibly rake up more marks. This was a great help in making me feel a bit more comfortable about my exam on Monday.
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    lofticries: if i may add

    It might be good to do a double interpretations and maybe try to be more original with your responses, is something i would recommend. (mr bruff recommends as well)

    double interpretations is trying to add a second meaning to your quotation, it may be beneficial if you also relate this interpretation to a theme.

    also, are you doing crucible for section a.
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    (Original post by theslowbaker)
    lofticries: if i may add

    It might be good to do a double interpretations and maybe try to be more original with your responses, is something i would recommend. (mr bruff recommends as well)

    double interpretations is trying to add a second meaning to your quotation, it may be beneficial if you also relate this interpretation to a theme.

    also, are you doing crucible for section a.
    Thanks for reminding me; it's definitely good to get more than one interpretation in where possible, even if it's not the most convincing (which you could also mention). Did that a fair bit for the poetry and it seemed to pay off.

    And nope, I'm doing An Inspector Calls for a.
 
 
 
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