Cambridge modern and medieval languages assessment

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esor123
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Hi guys, I'm not sure how many other people are applying to read MML at Cambridge (I'm going for Spanish and Russian ab initio). Since we would get tested at interview (if we get one!) then we have more time to revise than the Oxford MLAT. I'm wondering how other people are preparing for it? I find the part b when you have to answer in English quite tricky. I've had a look at the sample assessments they released online and I often find the texts really hard!
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redmeercat
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Heya! So I'm starting MML at Camb this year, so I did the assessment in December! The main thing I'd say about the English part, is that there isn't time to write a huge amount, and so it's mainly a case of identifying the main themes, and relating different techniques/phrases the writer uses to those themes. (Should mention here that you're not required to know the names of literary devices, I seem to remember... They're just useful to know!) For example, if a text is confusing and it's about... Dinosaurs, for instance, you could say that
a) long sentences make the text seem confusing -> dinosaurs are presented as unknown, poorly understood and exciting.
You get marks for organising your response as well.
The main thing is to focus on what you do know, not what you don't. My text felt really confusing, and no one said that they really understood it, but as long as you can identify a few ideas, you'll be ok
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esor123
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(Original post by redmeercat)
Heya! So I'm starting MML at Camb this year, so I did the assessment in December! The main thing I'd say about the English part, is that there isn't time to write a huge amount, and so it's mainly a case of identifying the main themes, and relating different techniques/phrases the writer uses to those themes. (Should mention here that you're not required to know the names of literary devices, I seem to remember... They're just useful to know!) For example, if a text is confusing and it's about... Dinosaurs, for instance, you could say that
a) long sentences make the text seem confusing -> dinosaurs are presented as unknown, poorly understood and exciting.
You get marks for organising your response as well.
The main thing is to focus on what you do know, not what you don't. My text felt really confusing, and no one said that they really understood it, but as long as you can identify a few ideas, you'll be ok
Thank you! This is so helpfu l. I was under the impression that in the english part, you would sort of work through the text methodically and comment on the most important rhetorical devices/things that help the writer get his points across. I'm just a bit worried as I don't do English at A-level and I'm scared they're expecting a really erudite and eloquent response :confused: For the part in the foreign language, how did you practice this? Do your writing skills have to be amazing? I still find it difficult to write in Spanish and am far from fluid when approaching an essay question.
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greta.madi
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Hi, do you know where i could find the information on the assessment for Cambridge MML? There's very little information that I could find online.
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esor123
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(Original post by greta.madi)
Hi, do you know where i could find the information on the assessment for Cambridge MML? There's very little information that I could find online.
Hi, I will attach the links below! It should guide you to the page with the sample assessments. Might I ask how you're planning to prepare?
https://www.mmll.cam.ac.uk/applying/how#written
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greta.madi
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(Original post by esor123)
Hi, I will attach the links below! It should guide you to the page with the sample assessments. Might I ask how you're planning to prepare?
https://www.mmll.cam.ac.uk/applying/how#written
Thank you. It seems quite similar to the GCSE Englisg language assessment with the unknown texts, perhaps the best way to prepare would be writing an practise essay to one of the given specimens in the same style as that (just in a more advanced level).
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redmeercat
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(Original post by esor123)
Thank you! This is so helpfu l. I was under the impression that in the english part, you would sort of work through the text methodically and comment on the most important rhetorical devices/things that help the writer get his points across. I'm just a bit worried as I don't do English at A-level and I'm scared they're expecting a really erudite and eloquent response :confused: For the part in the foreign language, how did you practice this? Do your writing skills have to be amazing? I still find it difficult to write in Spanish and am far from fluid when approaching an essay question.
You're not expected to write lit A level standard analysis... It's mostly about showing that you can write and that you can notice things about the text which form it's meaning. And you will probably start the question by quickly reading through and perhaps underlining certain techniques that you want to talk about. But it's not a long essay - the exam's very short, and so personally I didn't even bother with a real intro, and each of my paragraphs was probably 3-6 sentences long. I'd definitely suggest reading the mark scheme (I think it's at the bottom of the document with past papers) and practicing a bit so that you know how you're going to approach it (everyone does it a bit differently!) And perhaps practicing annotating texts a little bit (I reckon you'd have more than enough to talk about if you found maybe 9-10 examples that you could use, even if they're parts of the same quote!), But it is really just to show them that you are able to deconstruct meaning in texts, and structure essays logically.

With the foreign language bit (again, I advise reading the mark scheme, I found it quite reassuring!) You don't need to be perfect... You need to try to use some fancy grammar where appropriate, show an understanding of the question itself, and show an ability to discuss a topic you're likely not to be confident in. For instance, I seem to remember that I wanted to use the word in french 'to go back in time' but couldn't remember the word, so I used the word for 'formerly' instead to get around the word I didn't know. They're only expecting decent A level standard essays, not the work of fluent speakers. Vocab revision and practice at writing paragraph should help, and planning the essay beforehand so that you know what your argument is, is really necessary! But yeah, read the mark scheme and it'll become clearer
It's only one part of the process, and it's just a case of doing your best and showing off your ability to argue, use language and structure your thoughts. Everyone does it differently, and everyone thinks that they didn't do it right, but that's not reflective of how people do in the end! You're preparing well in advance, so you have time to work out what you have time to write and what you're prioritising in your answers.
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