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    Hey guys, I'm doing English Language tomorrow, and it's about 'Grouping Texts' and 'Language and Power, Gender & Technology'

    Was wondering if there is some quick tips/structure in answering the essay questions.

    Would be helpful if there is anything I need to remember for each section.

    Thanks.
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    Hiya, I'm an English Language student who's taking this exam tomorrow morning as well. I've been consistently getting A's throughout the year in practice essays, so I hope I can give some helpful advice (going through it will help make it clear in my mind as well!).

    Grouping

    - Spend as much time as you need annotating the texts and arranging the texts into groups. Personally I write each letter at the top of my page and cross them out once I've grouped them so I'm 100% sure I haven't missed any.
    - Ensure you have every text in at least one group. Personally I like to do four groups, you usually get 6 or 7 texts and examiners like it when you place a text in more than one group.
    - I'd advise having 2 texts in each group, 3 at the most, but I think it's much better to limit your groups to 2 groups.
    - Be sure to talk about the similarities and differences of the texts in each group. However make sure you give enough of a reason - backed up by evidence - for grouping the texts together. You get into higher bands when you start talking about how and why they are different.
    - Relating to my previous point, for each point you make about language, relate it back to the GAP (genre, audience, purpose) of the text and how it differs from the other text in the group.
    - Try to vary your groups. So one group may be due to it's purpose, another based on a language feature (e.g imperatives), a third based on the mode (e.g spoken, very visual) and a final based on the tone or pragmatics. As long as you don't have four based on purpose you should be fine though as that looks very lazy.
    - If there is a text - or group - you aren't too confident writing about, leave it until last and make up for it by writing a little more in each of the other groups. As long as all texts are included and there is a good amount of content in the majority, you won't be penalised too harshly.

    Gender

    - Context, context, context. In your opening paragraph, establish the genre, audience and purpose. This sets the tone for your essay and context is a huge, huge part of section 2.
    - Relate each point you make - or at least most - back to the context. Make it very obvious you appreciate the language features (or features of speech) are a result of more than just the gender of the participants, e.g age, relationship, personality.
    - Don't make sweeping statements or sound sexist in any way. Use phrases such as "research suggests" and "stereotypically", as opposed to "This is a feature of female language". It clearly says in mark schemes and examiner's reports this is a bad thing to do.
    - Refer frequently to research, such as the four D's: Deficit, Difference, Dominance and Diversity. I think if you can remember these Gender is the best question to do because they are four basic concepts that can be applied to most pieces of spoken language.
    - Don't include research that isn't relevant, it will seem like you're just putting it in to get marks when really you can't relate it to the text.
    - I like to structure my essay firstly talking about features of male speech and then features of female speech (in either order). If it is same sex speech then talk about the discourse of the text, e.g adjacency pairs, holding the floor, in the second part of your essay.

    Power

    - Use ideas from language and gender (the four D's again) and how contextual factors affect the power relationships in the text. It's harder to do for written texts as opposed to speech so don't panic.
    - Before you get into the language, begin with an introduction that establishes context - just like in gender - and for the first paragraph I'd recommend summarising the power relationships using concepts such as instrumental power and position power.
    - Consistently refer back to the context and power relationships in the text. You'll get a lot of marks for this, similar to in gender.
    - When it comes to organising your essay - if it is spoken - I prefer to analyse the more powerful participant first and then analyse the second. Unless you're very good at annotating and quickly arranging language features into categories e.g lexis, grammar, discourse.

    Technology

    I haven't done as much revision on technology, I only really see it as a scapegoat if the texts for gender and power aren't to my liking. Here are my thoughts, though.

    - If it is a website or a social media text, you can gain a lot of marks purely talking about graphology, discourse and the features of webpages e.g search functions, hyperlinks.
    - Chances are it will be some form of online communication (or texting), so comment on the constraints and opportunities of the medium, using examples from the text to back up your points.
    - Think about how the communication may be different had the conversation been spoken in person, and then include how technology and the constraints present have forced the author to adapt their language.
    - Features such as homophones are obvious and you should really only use them to give examples of how the constraints of the medium affect language. Instead focus on grammatical features such as ellipsis, elision and non-standard English is used as these show a better understanding of language. Compressed grammar is very common in most technology texts and is a good thing to note.

    I hope I helped, if you've any other comments or anything you disagree about then feel free to post. If not, good luck tomorrow, let's hope we get texts we're comfortable with!
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    Ahh, thank you for the detailed information about each one.

    The hardest part I think is the grouping questions, sometimes when I get a set of groups I can't find any groups, so I lose marks in my Mocks.

    But for the GPT questions, they're alright.
    Although, I don't like Power that much so I probably won't be doing that one.

    And yep, I think technology is quite easy as you can talk about the graphology, and affordances and constraints which is basically common sense.
    Gender is mostly about stereotypical views of males and females. But the main thing is definitely to relate it back to context as my teacher said try not to talk about theories that much and miss out the context bit.
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    I think it takes practice and just composure - especially in exam conditions don't panic and don't go into the exam with pre-determined ideas of what your groups will or should be.

    They can be absolutely anything. I think if you have six texts and do only three groups you're making it hard on yourself. I use the fourth group to give me breathing space if there's a text I really can't think of much to say about.

    If all else fails group the text based on purpose. If it's a poem then it is to entertain, so it can be grouped with anything from a comedy script to a children's book. Then just find one or two things to say about it and make up for the lack of detail/length in your other three groups.
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    (Original post by MarkProbio)
    I think it takes practice and just composure - especially in exam conditions don't panic and don't go into the exam with pre-determined ideas of what your groups will or should be.

    They can be absolutely anything. I think if you have six texts and do only three groups you're making it hard on yourself. I use the fourth group to give me breathing space if there's a text I really can't think of much to say about.

    If all else fails group the text based on purpose. If it's a poem then it is to entertain, so it can be grouped with anything from a comedy script to a children's book. Then just find one or two things to say about it and make up for the lack of detail/length in your other three groups.
    Would you be able to offer any advice on sub-grouping? I'm not particularly sure how this is meant to be done.
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    (Original post by Reluire)
    Would you be able to offer any advice on sub-grouping? I'm not particularly sure how this is meant to be done.
    I'm not sure what you mean by sub-grouping. If you mean how to include a text into two two groups:

    *First Paragraph grouping texts A with B because they include imperatives*
    ...I would also group text B with C because they use direct address.


    This gives your essay fluency. Not sure if I answered your question, if not then feel free to explain and I will try again
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    (Original post by MarkProbio)
    I'm not sure what you mean by sub-grouping. If you mean how to include a text into two two groups:

    *First Paragraph grouping texts A with B because they include imperatives*
    ...I would also group text B with C because they use direct address.


    This gives your essay fluency. Not sure if I answered your question, if not then feel free to explain and I will try again
    That's not quite what I meant but thanks for the reply.

    Well, for instance, on one of the examiner's reports, it says successful responses tended to 'consider sub-groups and differences as well as similarities within the texts in the chosen group.' I read something else, but I can't find it now. I think sub grouping is when you have a group, but then you briefly add another group within that group. So you start with something like A and C but then briefly link in D or something.
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    I think you'll find that's what was in my post. You make a group, then follow it on by linking another text to one of those texts.
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    How do you know what is going to be on the exam?
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    Does anybody have any last minute tips for this exam?!
    I'm really worried that I'm going to go into the exam, read the texts and my mind will go blank!
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    Nobody knows what will be in the exam.

    Its easy to panic the night before the exam, but once you open the page and see a big juicey imperative you will soon be relaxed.
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    Say if I were to finish the exam and then draw say, a unicorn on the next page, would the examiner penalize me?

    Because I am going to draw unicorn, maybe some men in swimming googles and very possibly some rogue utensils.


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    I drew unicorns in the answer booklet



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    How did everyone's exam go? The grouping text question went well, but I found it hard to write about the language and gender text! It was a piece on "Wellman" products on their website. Did anyone else do it?


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