how to improve grades ( English language !! ) please help.

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valenctine
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hi!

currently a year 11 student who’s been in a stressed horrible mindset for the past few days. Right now I feel so lost and overwhelmed. I’m sure everyone else is dealing with the Same stress because how we will be graded is still pretty uncertain right now, but I really want to feel grounded and at least have some confidence in myself and the work I’m putting in.

Right now I feel kinda confident in maths as we have been doing some past papers and work for evidence online which I have been getting decent percentages in. Science hasn’t worried me too much yet, However, i I do need to begin gathering evidence and doing more work. My option subjects are fine. English language is not where I would like it to be.

My school have scrapped English lit for this year because of COVID, deciding to focus on just one. At sixth form I want to do combined English and they have said this is okay as long as I have a strong English language grade at around a 6. My current grade however is around a 5 which deeply upsets me because English is my favourite subject and I want to get at least a grade 7/8 to show my sixth and make myself proud. I also want to improve my skills for a levels. We are currently doing lots of past papers in English and I received some feedback on a story I submitted which said I overly used descriptive language, etc. Not to be a snowflake but this upset me as I normally do well in creative writing.

If anyone could give tips on how to approach the creative writing, other questions, analysis, etc it would be SO SO helpful. I struggle with comparing myself and it’s upsetting me that I’m watching others achieve what I want to. I hope that doesn’t sound jealous. It would be super helpful if people could give examples of their work, good phrases, etc.

Thank you.
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Linaaa256
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I got a 9 for GCSE and not everything works for everyone but personally:
- I wrote a creative story beforehand looking up grade 9 descriptions and stuff ( a good website is descriptionari) and then I changed my story to fit the theme but the description and concepts where the same (know it) oh also have a message or use different structures so one thing I always did was a cyclical story because it was safer so remember to include language devices such as one sentence paragraphs, flashbacks etc...
- I wrote down sentence structure ideas for the text analysis questions so when under pressure ik how to answer ( look at mark schemes) and also alternatives to show, implies
- also each question in the paper wants you to focus on different things so know this , I don’t remember now but for example a 3 would be like more language. So you don’t waste time talking about irrelevant stuff
- also you can deffo do better I was getting 5s as well and I pulled it up so you definitely can !

And btw I disliked English language because of how spontaneous it was but now the papers they can give you will be past papers so practice them! Look at what mark schemes like. If you need more help I can send you a pic of my English language paper notes on timing and language devices x
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valenctine
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(Original post by Linaaa256)
I got a 9 for GCSE and not everything works for everyone but personally:
- I wrote a creative story beforehand looking up grade 9 descriptions and stuff ( a good website is descriptionari) and then I changed my story to fit the theme but the description and concepts where the same (know it) oh also have a message or use different structures so one thing I always did was a cyclical story because it was safer so remember to include language devices such as one sentence paragraphs, flashbacks etc...
- I wrote down sentence structure ideas for the text analysis questions so when under pressure ik how to answer ( look at mark schemes) and also alternatives to show, implies
- also each question in the paper wants you to focus on different things so know this , I don’t remember now but for example a 3 would be like more language. So you don’t waste time talking about irrelevant stuff
- also you can deffo do better I was getting 5s as well and I pulled it up so you definitely can !

And btw I disliked English language because of how spontaneous it was but now the papers they can give you will be past papers so practice them! Look at what mark schemes like. If you need more help I can send you a pic of my English language paper notes on timing and language devices x
Thank you so much for replying!!

Please could u explain the structure and flashbacks a little more?
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Linaaa256
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(Original post by valenctine)
Thank you so much for replying!!

Please could u explain the structure and flashbacks a little more?
It’s okay and so basically my knowledge may be a bit rough because I’m in y13 but :
- so a cyclical structure is when the story returns to where it started this could be a setting or a theme or a phrase - I normally go for the phrase e.g darkness surrounded me. Insert story then finish with the same phrase ( remember to plan)
- so flashbacks in a story make it more interesting obviously you have a choice between story or description but I prefer story so for my GCSE it was abandonment so I started mine in a beach setting with someone throwing away a necklace then it went to flashbacks of abuse / her remembering why then back to reality of the beach this can be done with ellipses and a new paragraph
- also metaphors and similes work well and also remember to vary from short and long sentences
- pathetic fallacy is something I highly recommend
- as long as you have a good vocabulary you should be fine ( learn descriptive words for normal things such as the dark, or the sun / sky or different seasons or for a person)
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GhostMonument54
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First of all, jealousy is a natural emotion, but remember that it does come from a place of insecurity. At the end of the day you'll be alone during your exam/whatever assessment will happen, so other people's grades won't mean much at all. However it may be a good idea to reach out to those people who you're comparing yourself to and ask them for help in the things you're struggling with ! Might help you feel better as you'll see that they are also worried and have their own weaknesses just like everyone else.

Other people have given great advice here so I'll just add: if you're not reading already, read more. Maybe read some short stories (Roald Dahl's book 'Kiss Kiss' has some nice short ones) to get used to the way they fit everything in and keep it all well-paced etc. Read articles to get used to their structure and tone - it'll make it much easier to write them yourself.

In terms of writing nonfiction in general, being concise is really important. Say everything you want to say and nothing more, this is what makes your work look "sophisticated" as it really makes you seem like you know what you're doing if you're not going on any tangents.

Good luck ! Remember not to be so hard on yourself x
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valenctine
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(Original post by GhostMonument54)
First of all, jealousy is a natural emotion, but remember that it does come from a place of insecurity. At the end of the day you'll be alone during your exam/whatever assessment will happen, so other people's grades won't mean much at all. However it may be a good idea to reach out to those people who you're comparing yourself to and ask them for help in the things you're struggling with ! Might help you feel better as you'll see that they are also worried and have their own weaknesses just like everyone else.

Other people have given great advice here so I'll just add: if you're not reading already, read more. Maybe read some short stories (Roald Dahl's book 'Kiss Kiss' has some nice short ones) to get used to the way they fit everything in and keep it all well-paced etc. Read articles to get used to their structure and tone - it'll make it much easier to write them yourself.

In terms of writing nonfiction in general, being concise is really important. Say everything you want to say and nothing more, this is what makes your work look "sophisticated" as it really makes you seem like you know what you're doing if you're not going on any tangents.

Good luck ! Remember not to be so hard on yourself x
Thank you so much I appreciate it immensely and will practice all of this!! Jealousy is a natural emotion that is really dominating everything I do right now, being entirely honest.what you said about people’s grades not mattering really has put things into perspective because I’ll be moving on soon and they truly won’t. In the moment when I feel insecure and stupid I just can’t realise that. I’m trying hard to work on this.
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valenctine
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(Original post by Linaaa256)
It’s okay and so basically my knowledge may be a bit rough because I’m in y13 but :
- so a cyclical structure is when the story returns to where it started this could be a setting or a theme or a phrase - I normally go for the phrase e.g darkness surrounded me. Insert story then finish with the same phrase ( remember to plan)
- so flashbacks in a story make it more interesting obviously you have a choice between story or description but I prefer story so for my GCSE it was abandonment so I started mine in a beach setting with someone throwing away a necklace then it went to flashbacks of abuse / her remembering why then back to reality of the beach this can be done with ellipses and a new paragraph
- also metaphors and similes work well and also remember to vary from short and long sentences
- pathetic fallacy is something I highly recommend
- as long as you have a good vocabulary you should be fine ( learn descriptive words for normal things such as the dark, or the sun / sky or different seasons or for a person)
Oh my god!! thank u so much for taking the time to write all of this down for me. It has definitely helped and I will be putting it all to use. What are you planning to do after year 13? I wish you the best of luck < 3 pure angel.
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maja w
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hi! i recently got a grade 9 in english lang in my mocks and here are some things I would recommend:
-make structure plans and templates for the different questions, based on exemplar answers. practice lots of questions using the templates and when you feel stronger try adding new things and being more creative
-for things like creative and persuasive writers I honestly thought my teachers just want you to use as many literary devices as possible so make lists of the features you want to include in your writing
-practice annotating. just print out random articles and annotate as much as you can
I'm sorry if this wasn't very helpful! I'm sure you'll do amazing!
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Linaaa256
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(Original post by valenctine)
Oh my god!! thank u so much for taking the time to write all of this down for me. It has definitely helped and I will be putting it all to use. What are you planning to do after year 13? I wish you the best of luck < 3 pure angel.
I love helping Andd I currently study English lit, history and politics and I am planning to do history and politics for uni thanksss ! If you need any advice or help lemme know x
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lilyytka
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I got a 9 on my english language mock so this would be my advice:1. This is really simple but for question 1, just quote directly from the extract and you will be guaranteed to gain four marks. (ik it's a small thing but those four marks can make a real difference)2. For structure, make sure you talk about beginning, middle and the end of the extract, how they contrast and the implications you can draw from these contrasts.3. For the creative writing, I didn't write out a full story but I had already thought of an idea that luckily for me, aligned with the theme that we were supposed to write about. I would write out a story before the exam so even if what you write is completely irrelevant for the theme, you can still use the language you used in your pre-written story which will probably be better than writing everything on the spot as you've had more time to think about.I don't if this was helpful at all but good luck on your exams! I'm sure you'll do well <3
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