How to write a solid grade 6 ENGLISH HL A1 Commentary Watch

MOORE_LAWSTUDENT
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Any innovative ideas? How long to plan etc.
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~Lc~
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well you have to be more specific... do you meen unseen paper 1, or oral commentary?
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MOORE_LAWSTUDENT
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unseen commentary
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~Lc~
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ohhh.... wait I have a link for this...
here's one for poetry: http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/hando...plication.html
but it pretty much covers prose as well I think.
A good way is to discuss the following for both prose and poetry:
Ambiguities, Diction, Imagery, Tone, Mood, Structure, pattern, voice, synatx.
for prose particularly:
plot, narrative point of view, charecterization, chronology, setting, and paragraphing.
for poetry: layout, stanza's metre and sound
Because ur HL, discussin literary features is VERY IMPORTANT. for example if a SL student just wrote one paragraph discussing rhyme, rythm and meter in unseen poetry commentary they'd get a better mark than if a HL did the same. HLs are given 30 minutes extra to analyse structure and literary devices! so use them wisley.

As for planning dnt take more than 30 minutes of the exam to understand the text, and have a clear outline in ur head. Allways have an essay thesis statement. I usually never do (even though I'm SL) and that's what kills my grade. If you don't have enought time to discuss more, don't! writing a firm conclusion is better than discussing more ideas and not having a conclusion at all...
I dunno what else to tell you, if u have any other questions just ask:p:

good luck
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IB-more
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My best advice is that they like to see you "struggle" with the text. That means you can be unclear about it. You can write that it "seems to" do this, or that "perhaps" the author's meaning is this. Just make sure you approach the text from many, many angles. If its a poem, and I have time, I usually read each stanza/section independently and try to find out why it's significant and needs to be there. Don't jump into analysis the first time through; read the piece and absorb it, and then go in and find out why you liked it/disliked it.
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W.O.N.D.E.R
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try to be as objective as u can and express personal interpretation rather than your opinion.
Gd luck
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W.O.N.D.E.R
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(Original post by zackinbaltimore)
My best advice is that they like to see you "struggle" with the text. That means you can be unclear about it. You can write that it "seems to" do this, or that "perhaps" the author's meaning is this. Just make sure you approach the text from many, many angles. If its a poem, and I have time, I usually read each stanza/section independently and try to find out why it's significant and needs to be there. Don't jump into analysis the first time through; read the piece and absorb it, and then go in and find out why you liked it/disliked it.
Zack i think it is set in the guide not to write your personal opinion, and avoide praising the text but analyze it instead :rolleyes:
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IB-more
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Hmmm... It seems to me that it's hard to remain completely objective when reading a piece of literature; it all comes down to whether you liked it or not. What I'm saying is that you don't have to write about WHETHER you liked it or not, because that's irellevant: who cares about the opinion of some grade 12/13 diploma kid? But the fact that you were able to formulate some opinon about it is a telltale sign that there was some thought put into the work, and that there's something to analyze.

So what I'm saying that formulating an opinion will guide you to the fodder you need for a good commentary. I mean, literature is meant to formulate opinions, else IB would be giving out passages from cookbooks for us to analyze for structure, tone shifts, diciton, and meaning. (Though it might as well be for some of the things I get for practice commentaries .)

Don't shy away from opinions! They make the world go 'round!
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o.Ob
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Using big, coherent words + considering every minute detail to the extract = 6+.

I'm not much of a literature person but it seems that it's been working well for me. HL A1 English is after all focused on the effect of all the techniques the author uses and looking at little details help contribute to the overall effect. Still, I don't know what distinguishes a 6 from a 7. I've written only one commentary that was got a 7 and I have no idea how it differs from all my other ones ... Argh.
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HMSChocolate
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The big literature question is the So what? question

Every time you mention a lit technique, or any devices/imagery/metaphor etc etc used in the text always comment on the So what. What does that do to the text? Why is it used? Dont just state what the technique is and give an example and leave it at that. Comment on the significance of it. If you find a technique but can't explain its significance, DONT mention it. Go talk about something you can explain and analyse. Its not necessary to list every single thing but rather you must be able to comment on what the things you do mention do to the text.

I agree though with Zack that you should even refrain from using definite statement. Always use 'perhaps' and 'this suggests that' because lit is all about different interpretations. by using these 'maybe' words you're showing the examiner that youre aware that this is only your opinion and not necesarily what hte author intended at all.
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plocketyplock
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(Original post by HMSChocolate)
The big literature question is the So what? question

Every time you mention a lit technique, or any devices/imagery/metaphor etc etc used in the text always comment on the So what. What does that do to the text? Why is it used? Dont just state what the technique is and give an example and leave it at that. Comment on the significance of it. If you find a technique but can't explain its significance, DONT mention it. Go talk about something you can explain and analyse. Its not necessary to list every single thing but rather you must be able to comment on what the things you do mention do to the text.
What she said. It's always important to follow any point you make to its intellectual end. When you write, ask yourself, what does this literary device do and how does it contribute to the meaning of the text? How does it contribute to theme and your understanding of character, of the situation, etc.?

There is no one formula for a good unseen commentary. You definitely need an introduction -- where you suggest the idea that is being elucidated by your passage (there is always one!) but don't develop it any further than that.

Some people like using the SCASI method to analyse the text -- setting, character, action, style and ideas, where you go into detail about each component and the literary devices that contribute to the meaning of each. However, this method is rather "wooden" and doesn't allow for much leeway, so you might be better off structuring your essay linearly/analysing the text chronologically; OR according to what strikes you as most important about the passage, which you mention in your introduction...

For example...
Introduction: This passage, taken from Joseph Heller's novel, "Catch-22", depicts a conversation between the protagonist, Yossarian, and his psychiatrist, Major Sanderson. Through this conversation... the reader is able to get a sense of Heller's stance on armed conflict. These ideas are imparted through the paradox, contrast and irony evident in the dialogue, and the active role of the narrator.

Second paragraph: The narrator of this play is an omniscient one, yet very partisan too! However, he unusually plays a large role in this passage. Instead of narrating events merely as they happen, he sets the scene. His is an active voice, not a passive or a neutral one.

I hope this helps!
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W.O.N.D.E.R
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(Original post by me)
try to be as objective as u can and express personal interpretation rather than your opinion.
if you would kindly take another look at the above statement...

(Original post by zackinbaltimore)
So what I'm saying that formulating an opinion will guide you to the fodder you need for a good commentary. I mean, literature is meant to formulate opinions, else IB would be giving out passages from cookbooks for us to analyze for structure, tone shifts, diciton, and meaning. (Though it might as well be for some of the things I get for practice commentaries .)
you will notice that it agrees with everything u said here...

(Original post by HMSchoclate)
I agree though with Zack that you should even refrain from using definite statement. Always use 'perhaps' and 'this suggests that' because lit is all about different interpretations. by using these 'maybe' words you're showing the examiner that youre aware that this is only your opinion and not necesarily what hte author intended at all.
And I didn't disagree with zack... I calrified his point so that the OP will not express personal opinions in their commentary, it is allways better to express interpretations. you are right zack, the examiner won't care about what a year 12/13 student thinks about the text... so all I said was that the OP shouldn't express personal opinions but rather interpretations...

sorry for the misunderstandiong...
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HMSChocolate
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(Original post by WoOoW)
And I didn't disagree with zack...
I didn't say you did, I'm just emphasising Zack's point of using words such as 'perhaps'.
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angel_with_horns
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I have good advice that has always worked for me here. The thing is, examiners love to see you struggle so you better show them you're struggling. When interpreting a sentence whether it be from prose or poetry always suggest different interpretations, point out ambiguities and basically look like a fool who can't make up his mind. They sure love the word ambiguity. Also, try to give plenty or personal response, but not through using the word "I" because thats just primitive. Instead, say "the reader feels" or "the reader experiences". you can even use the word "we".

try to carry through a point in the whole of your essay. make sure you have excellent and coherent paragraphs that start with a topic sentence and end with a clincher. examiners are only human, and psychology claims you forget what you read in the middle, but not whats at the beginning .so sum up your paragraph's point in a nicely written clincher, which doesn't repeat exactly what you have said before, but rather says it in a different way.

lastly, a strong conclusion always mentions literary terms. good luck!
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Misleading
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Content deleted as not in English.
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stormiski
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choose an aspect of theme/content/author's intent or all three mixed for a super thesis and support the presence of these things by style features.
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ExitMusic
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No examiner would admit it, but as has been mentioned, the opening & conclusion is what really pushes up your marks because it leaves the lasting impression. If they re-read it, they would still have that impression. So during your planning, go through the passage/poem picking out literary features and their effects, and then plan well the introduction and the conclusion. Don't start before you've done this because you have to make it clear where you're going in your head, so that it comes out in your structure.
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ELIS
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#18
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Just go to dictionary.com and memorize as many hard word as possible and write them one after another in your introduction, if you know what they mean or not doesnt really matter.
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cothm88
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Well, I think the biggest mistake a lot of people make is stating the obvious. If you're writing a commentary about the Life of Pi (that was our practice one), don't be stupid and say the tiger seems scared and so does the kid. Analyze the reasons for what's going on in the excerpt.

Going into the paper, expect that you won't know the novel the except is from or what's happening in a broader sense in the novel. As a result, don't make generalizations. Heck, those generalizations aren't important. Being psychic and predicting what happened before the excerpt doesn't demonstrate your intelligence. However, analyzing does.

This is how I like to think on English papers. It's like links in a chain:

link 1: the boat is sinking and tiger is too (obviously)
link 2: the tiger is scared (clearly implied by text)
link 3: fear is an emotion, therefore the tiger is experiencing human emotions (low level thinking)
link 4: if the tiger is experincing human emotions, the author is trying to humanize the tiger (slightly higher level thinking)
link 5: why is the author humanizing the tiger? perhaps the tiger is supposed to be a metaphor for a concept (higher level thinking)
link 6: what is the concept and what are the author's reasons? (thesis statement)
link 7: since these emotions are humans, there is personification going on (more higher level thinking)

^Go from there.

It's not easy, but it works.
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IB-more
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(Original post by cothm88)
Well, I think the biggest mistake a lot of people make is stating the obvious. If you're writing a commentary about the Life of Pi (that was our practice one), don't be stupid and say the tiger seems scared and so does the kid. Analyze the reasons for what's going on in the excerpt.

Going into the paper, expect that you won't know the novel the except is from or what's happening in a broader sense in the novel. As a result, don't make generalizations. Heck, those generalizations aren't important. Being psychic and predicting what happened before the excerpt doesn't demonstrate your intelligence. However, analyzing does.

This is how I like to think on English papers. It's like links in a chain:

link 1: the boat is sinking and tiger is too (obviously)
link 2: the tiger is scared (clearly implied by text)
link 3: fear is an emotion, therefore the tiger is experiencing human emotions (low level thinking)
link 4: if the tiger is experincing human emotions, the author is trying to humanize the tiger (slightly higher level thinking)
link 5: why is the author humanizing the tiger? perhaps the tiger is supposed to be a metaphor for a concept (higher level thinking)
link 6: what is the concept and what are the author's reasons? (thesis statement)
link 7: since these emotions are humans, there is personification going on (more higher level thinking)

^Go from there.

It's not easy, but it works.
I like your thought process. I'm going to use that, actually.
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