GCSE English Language Paper 1 Question 2 RESPONSE

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Report Thread starter 3 months ago

I'd really appreciate if someone could read my response to p1q2 lang paper. If you could grade it and give it a mark with some feedback that would be AMAZING!!


SOURCE: Mr Fisher remembered a time – surely, not so long ago – when books were golden, when imaginations soared, when the world was filled with stories which ran like gazelles and pounced like tigers and exploded like rockets, illuminating minds and hearts. He had seen it happen; had seen whole classes swept away in the fever. In those days, there were heroes; there were dragons and dinosaurs; there were space adventurers and soldiers of fortune and giant apes. In those days, thought Mr Fisher, we dreamed in colour, though films were in black and white, and good always triumphed in the end.

The writer uses metaphors to describe Mr Fisher’s perception on books of the past. For example, “when books were golden”, this implies that books were once valued, high quality and treasured by many. When we think of the adjective “golden” we think of high class luxury and quality, therefore associating these qualities with books of the past makes the reader feel that Mr Fisher believes the books were once valued so much, to the point where they could be considered “golden”. The fact that the word “were” is used clearly denotes that Mr Fisher believes that books today are not of such ilk to be considered “golden”. The writer then goes on to use a simile to liken the books of the past to a gazelle, “stories which ran like gazelles”. Gazelles are light, fast-paced, and agile animals, this comparison to such an animal could infer that Mr Fisher believes that the stories of the past were fast-paced, energetic and graceful which further implies that they were engaging and interesting. . This makes the reader believe that the books of today are no longer like the ones of the past, and instead, they are the polar opposite.
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Report 3 months ago
Hi! Not qualified enough to give you a mark but I do have some feedback. Absolutely lovely analysis and descriptions of the quotes you have selected. You also kept clarifying and relating to your point which is what people forget to do so well done!! If I were you I'd separate each point into its own paragraph e.g:
Paragraph 1 - High class/luxury/'golden' para
Paragraph 2 - Gazelles/fast paced para

And elaborate on these points a little bit more and reinforce them with another quote from the rest of the text. "This idea is reinforced by.." However sometimes that can be difficult to do and so you could just talk about the tone (reminiscent tone but also quite powerful with the imagery like the verb "pounced"). For some extra points you could also say that anaphoric ideas are presented in the "when books were golden, when imaginations soared, when the world was filled with stories" to reinforce the emphasis on... etc

Honestly, your writing is so clear and it was a lovely read so please dont worry just a little bit of constructive criticism!!! Hope this has helped and if you have any other questions please say!! (
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Report 3 months ago
I completely agree with the feedback above. In case you wanted any tips for English Language and Literature, I have included them here.

To succeed in GCSE English Language, you have to understand the assessment objectives like the back of your hand; what they mean and how you can work with them when answering exam questions. As aforementioned, the key to getting a 9 is in the assessment objectives, here’s the summary:

 AO1 is all about extracting information from the text.
 AO2 focuses on analysing language and structure.
 AO3 wants you to show you can compare and contrast texts.
 AO4 requires in depth evaluation of a text.
 AO5 measures your creative writing.
 AO6 is about your vocabulary and grammar.

AO1 is the first assessment objective for GCSE English Language and is used to mark these questions:

 AQA – Paper 1, Question 1
 AQA – Paper 2, Questions 1 and 2
 OCR – Exploring effects and impact, Questions 1a and 1b
 OCR – Communicating information and ideas, Questions 1 and 2
 Edexcel – Paper 1, Questions 1 and
 Edexcel – Paper 2, Question 1 and 4

AO1 is the simplest assessment objective and is used for the first questions in your paper. Although the rewarded marks aren’t high, it can make the difference between an 8 and a 9 so you really need to get full marks on these questions. To achieve AO1, you have to read the given text and extract the information relevant to the question. You don’t have to provide an in-depth analysis, you just need to show the evidence, so this question style is pretty straight forward. However, many students make simple mistakes and miss out on marks.

Don’t give overly long quotations, you only need to include the relevant words or phrases otherwise it’s not clear that you actually know what information to extract. If a metaphor has been used by the writer to describe something, don’t write the metaphor but say what it is actually describing. An example of this was in the 2018 AQA Paper 1 extract; the writer described pterodactyls as ‘flying tents’ but if you wrote that there were ‘flying tents’, you would not get the mark. If the question says ‘explain’, you can’t just use the quote as you need to explain what it means. It is very important to take time to read the question properly.

AO2 – “Explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to support their views.”

AO2 is the second objective for GCSE English Language and is relevant to these questions:

 AQA – Paper 1, Questions 2 and 3
 AQA – Paper 2, Question
 OCR – Exploring effects and impact, Questions 2 and 3
 OCR – Communicating information and ideas, Question 3
 Edexcel – Paper 1, Question 3
 Edexcel – Paper 2, Questions 2, 3 and 5

AO2 is all about taking examples of language and structure from the extract and analysing their effect. The best way to structure your answer for this style of question is P.E.E which stands for Point, Evidence, Explain. This structure will probably be very familiar to you since most teachers use it but it is the best way to demonstrate AO2. The harder part is the actual analysis of the language and structure but, with practice, this will become much more intuitive. To achieve the highest marks, you need to give really detailed analysis which goes beyond the surface level meaning.

You could ask yourself these questions when analysing a piece of text:

 Why did the writer use this specific word?
 What is the writer trying to convey?
 How does this make the reader feel?
 What are the connotations of this language?
 Does the structure reflect the content of the extract?
 Is the writer making a reference and why are they doing this?

The main things to avoid when answering AO2 questions is giving surface level analysis, forgetting to comment on language and structure, and using standard phrases like ‘creates an image’.

AO3 – “Compare writers’ ideas and perspectives, as well as how these are conveyed, across two or more texts.”

AO3 is relevant to these questions:

 AQA – Paper 2, Question 4
 OCR – Exploring effects and impact, Question
 OCR – Communicating information and ideas, Question 4
 Edexcel – Paper 2, Question 7b

To achieve the top marks in an AO3 question, you need to look for the similarities and differences across two pieces of text. You must try to write about an equal number of differences and similarities to show that your work is balanced. You also need to have variety in your comparisons so don’t analyse adjectives in every example! The best structure to follow for these questions is to firstly say what point the text is making, how the writer conveys this and then compare or contrast with the other extract.

When comparing and contrasting two pieces of text, you can ask yourself these questions:

 What is the writer trying to convey?
 How is the tone different or similar?
 Do the writers employ particular literary techniques, what is their purpose?
 How will the readers interpret the text?
 What emotion is the writer trying to create and how do they do this?

AO4 – “Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references.”

AO4 is used to mark these questions:

 AQA – Paper 1, Question 4
 OCR – Exploring effects and impact, Question 4
 OCR – Communicating information and ideas, Question 4
 Edexcel – Paper 1, Question 4
 Edexcel – Paper 2, Question 6

With AO4 questions, you will be given a statement relating to the extract and you need to give a response and state how far you agree (for Edexcel, you’ll have to evaluate if the writer’s aim was achieved). These questions are all worth 15 marks or more, so it’s really important that you know how to answer them if you want to get a 9 in your English Language GCSE.

There are two main things to evaluate; you need to assess the source in relation to the statement and consider the writer’s methods. If you follow the P.E.E structure, what the source shows and how it links to the statement will be your point but you still need to evaluate it after your example. The writer’s method will be your evidence, then you must evaluate it.

AO5 – “Communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, selecting and adapting tone, style and register for different forms, purposes and audiences. Organise information and ideas, using structural and grammatical features to support coherence and cohesion of texts.”

AO5 is the assessment objective for the creative writing questions:

 AQA – Paper 1, Question 5 (choice between two tasks)
 AQA – Paper 2, Question 5 (no choices)
 OCR – Exploring effects and impact, Question 5 or 6
 OCR – Communicating information and ideas, Question 5 or 6
 Edexcel – Paper 1, Question 5 or 6
 Edexcel – Paper 2, Question 8 or 9

The creative writing part of your English Language GCSE is hugely important as it’s worth half the marks on your paper (with the exception of Edexcel Paper 2, and AO5 makes up 24 of those marks). Creative writing can be daunting for some as there’s no extract to follow, it’s whatever you decide to write about. With the right practice and preparation, the creative writing questions will be a lot easier to tackle.

There are many techniques to use for creative writing so if you’re struggling, think about extracts you’ve analysed over the two years and the creative skills that they used. It’s important to use structural techniques as well as language if you want to get the top marks, but lots of people struggle with the best structural skills to include.

AO6 is the assessment objective for the creative writing questions:

 AQA – Paper 1, Question 5 (choice between two tasks)
 AQA – Paper 2, Question 5 (no choices)
 OCR – Exploring effects and impact, Question 5 or 6
 OCR – Communicating information and ideas, Question 5 or 6
 Edexcel – Paper 1, Question 5 or 6
 Edexcel – Paper 2, Question 8 or 9

AO6 is dedicated to your vocabulary and grammar and is worth 16 marks in the final creative writing question so it’s really important to perfect this if you want to get a 9 in English Language GCSE. A useful tip for using a variety of punctuation is to write down various forms of punctuation in your plan, then tick them off as you use them – this ensures you have a wide range. The best way to improve your vocabulary is to read more, even if you’re just reading the texts for English Literature. If you ever see a word you don’t recognise, research the meaning and write it down – the more you do this, the greater your vocabulary will be. If you’re really struggling to spell a word in your exam, try and find an alternative that conveys the same meaning rather than losing important marks for your spelling.

English Literature

I’ve always loved English Lit - studying the subject gives you the greater ability to empathise with others: you see yourself mirrored within books and delve deeper into what makes people, people. The modern prose (I did ‘An Inspector Calls’) is especially relatable today, and even Shakespeare’s writing has themes which are still relevant. But, of course, less of the supernatural ghosts! Once you get past Shakespearean language (Sparknotes is great to translate his plays into a more modern English) you can see the destructiveness of greed, what drives ambition, and the undying power of love. The very things that run the world today!

As I said before… it’s not easy! A 2 hour 15 minute long exam? 3 essays? I’ve always struggled with timings and structure - but these things can be refined with a bit of hard work. Being a visual learner, making diagrams and using colour helped me remember the key points to mention in each paragraph. For example, using a point, evidence, explain structure and remembering to include context on what the writer is trying to show about society through their choice of language.

I think the most important way to get good grades in English is consistency. Do not underestimate the importance of classwork because, at the end of the day (or two years), that’s the content you’ll be assessed on. What helped me most were practice questions. After you study the text thoroughly: characters, themes, plot, quotes, different interpretations and perspectives - do a practice question so you get used to applying your knowledge - like you would do in an exam.

It can seem quite daunting at first, which is why I strongly recommend getting started early on. Over time, your technique will get better as you apply the teacher’s feedback. For example, once my ideas were perceptive and I explored different views within my text. I also needed to work on my structure in order to make my essays clearer and more precise. This eliminated all the unnecessary waffle so the examiner can match my response to the mark scheme and easily award me marks. Examiners are looking for the quality of the points you make, not the quantity!

English Literature is also all about ideas: the more you read, the better your ideas will become. You’ll start thinking differently about the plot and linking the themes with characters, or even start to see how the author’s life and what was going on around them influences how they write. This is called perception, and it’s a crucial skill to develop in order to qualify for the top grade bands. When you start re-reading your texts regularly, you’ll not only consolidate the key points, but also think differently about what’s going on and be able to approach the text from a broader perspective (knowing how the text will end and what happens next).

Revising consistently is good, but you need to find the right methods. Using a wide range of vocabulary can help explain your ideas in a more sophisticated and precise manner. I find that Quizlet is great for this as it’s easy to do on the go, or, you can make it more fun and visualise it through adding diagrams and using fancy fonts. Sparknotes (No Fear Shakespeare) is also extremely helpful to act as a basic outline for your own notes and revision resources. They include main themes, characters, plot and quotations. That said, don’t make it your only revision resource.

Learning quotes is often overestimated when revising for English Literature, people often spend more time learning how to memorise reams and reams of quotes. What’s more effective is learning a few short quotes which are easy to remember. These are called ‘microquotes’ and linking them to a bigger theme through a character is a great way to show skill. Remember that your quotes should always have a dramatic device to analyse in detail: common dramatic devices are contrast (juxtaposition), metaphors and similes.

Remember that the English Lit (AQA) exam is split into two papers and it’s important to keep going through your plays, novels and poetry throughout the year to keep it fresh in your mind. I started alternating my practice questions from February: going over the one text/section of the paper every couple of weeks. I focused on one text at a time and went through it thoroughly, making sure I understood everything in the texts so that I could make links, parallels and contrasts between detailed scenes/chapters as well as the texts as a whole.

It’s also essential to revise for the mocks as if they’re the real thing. If anything, because I did this, the real exam was so much more relaxing. After I finished every text I made some revision materials to help me trigger my memory and ideas about the text.

When it came to the exam, I used these materials to go over, because making sure you know and understand the text is essential, how else will you be able to be ‘perceptive’ about it? Essay plans are also really good to do when you’re rushed for time. Use an example question and always, always plan out your answer. What is your first paragraph/point going to be? In each paragraph you should link back to the question, talk about language with quotes to support your point. You should also explain why the writer wanted to write about this - what events were going around at that time? For example, in ‘An Inspector Calls’, remembering the audience knew the Titanic sank after the play was set is dramatic irony.

Nonetheless, at the end of Mock paper 1, I thought I had done terribly. After so much revision and preparation, I could only think of what I did wrong. I had a ‘Macbeth’ ‘asses’ question, and although I tried to plan my answer thoroughly, I didn’t have enough time to do a proper counter argument. On paper 2, I was still rushed for time but I made sure I stuck more consistently to timings and planned my answer to every question. Luckily, my poetry question was on the exact same poem that came up in a practice question I did, which is why practice papers are so important (even though it wasn’t the same question).

English Literature is a tough exam and there’s a lot of it, so it’s important to consistently refresh your memory on the texts and revisit them with new ideas over and over again. If you’re not great at timings, first get the skills right. For example, picking specific quotations, analysing them in detail and the linking in what events happened in the author’s lifetime to inspire their point of view. Try and pick apart specific details from a quote and then look at the wider perspective, are there any similarities or sharp contrasts to the rest of the texts? Getting a good grade means you should also persistently look at not only how the author did it (language analysis) but why would they write this novel, play or poem? What is the point they are trying to make to their audience or readers? What is the writer trying to say about human nature, society and the world?

Please find below a Dropbox link to all of my GCSE Revision notes. I hope they help!


If you would like some tips on Business, Drama, History or Computer Science, let me know and I’ll be happy to help.
I hope you found this helpful!

With all my best wishes,

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