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BHCS AQA GCSE English Language paper Q1-4

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Tom Allen

on 17 January 2015

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Transcript of BHCS AQA GCSE English Language paper Q1-4

English Language Exam - June 2012
The best way to answer each question...
...and how not to do it.
Question 1
To get 7/8 you need to make perceptive comments.

This means you need to show you can infer meaning (read between the lines) from what you are being told.
e.g. What do you learn about the Beach to City programme from the facts/information presented?
Basically: reading between the lines. What do they (the writers) want you to think? They are positive about the programme and want you to be impressed. What do they say that's impressive?
Question 2
The question will always be: Explain how the headline and picture in source 2 are effective and how they link to the text.
The key thing here (surprise surprise) is to answer the question. There are three parts:
How is the headline effective?
How is the picture effective?
How does each one link to the text?
Question 3
This is the 'feelings' question. You will be asked to show you can identify feelings expressed in source 3 and explain how you know they feel that way.
The question will always be something like: Explain some of the thoughts and feelings the writer has in source 3.
Question 4
The language question.
Find techniques used by the writer and explain their effects and, crucially, how they help the writer achieve their purpose.
The key to this one is compare EFFECTS achieved. The focus MUST be on words used (language).
e.g. how the sense of relief is conveyed through language.
Common mistakes include:
Not focusing on the question e.g. providing unnecessary information e.g. “I learn that RNLI stands for …”
Not making inferences from the details provided.
There are two parts to this question; one to get a C with the other required to get an A.
All parts can be answered starting with part three but you could also treat each one as a separate paragraph.
Common reasons for dropping marks include:

• Not answering one of the parts, especially how the headline or picture link to the text.

• Not providing enough details to explain the effectiveness of headline or picture

• Not supporting/fully explaining statements of effect – for example, "The clown represents a media circus." Or, "There are a lot of colours which have an effect on the reader."
What really needs to be done here is to find sentences or phrases in the text which link to some part of the headline or the picture.
You then link these up and explain the intended effect of this part of the headline or picture.
For example:
'65 days' in the text links with the phrase 'at last' in the headline as both tell the reader that this situation has been going on for a long time. 'at last' also provides a sense of relief that is echoed by the comment that the 'nervousness has gone' in the text. The overall effect of this is for the reader to share in some of the feelings of the families, increasing the impact of the text as a whole.
Common mistakes include:
Stating the obvious e.g. "Parrado was curious. I know this because it says he was, “spurred on by his curiosity.”"

Not focusing on the question (i.e. not writing about the writer's feelings) and writing about the use of language in general e.g. “The title introduces tension to the reader and indicates that this will be a rescue story.”

Not covering the whole text and focusing only on one part.

Not using quotations and just referring to the text in general.

Generic comments e.g. "this is powerful," or, "this has a strong impact on the reader," without explanation of what the impact was intended to be or how it was achieved.
You have to identify feelings and then focus on the key words or phrases that convey them.

You have to ensure you mention the first and last feelings in the text to get A/A* then cover as many as you can from the middle in the time available.

Marks are given for interpretation and inference NOT retrieval. If you just identify feelings that are expressed you can't get more than 3/8. You must explain your interpretation and no state the obvious.

Language analysis is NOT required but will be rewarded if it enhances the answer i.e. it's not about techniques, it's about effects.
Common mistakes included:
Not providing examples to support points made.
Forgetting to compare.
Choosing to focus too much on contrast and not enough on similarity.
Wasting time writing about irrelevant things e.g. structure (remember this is the language question).
Wasting time structuring your paragraphs into long-winded PEE statements. Brevity please! Practice embedding quotes.
For the rest of your answer you need to identify language techniques used in each of the texts
e.g.
personification.
Find three examples of different techniques from each text.
Ideally there will be at least one technique used in both.
• The project is successful – 30 schools visited, fourth city being added to the tour, plans for more.
• The project is well-conceived and planned – they used research to target a group, their audience was considered in planning sessions.
• It is considered very important – real lifeguards delivering the training.
‘forest of TV antennas’ – media circus in picture
‘begin to smile’ – clown in picture, look of happiness on face of journalist
‘refuge’ – links with ‘shelter’ in the text. A place to escape from danger; emphasises their vulnerability. Contrasts with the ‘media onslaught’ that will hit the miners on release.
The sense of relief felt by the climbers in source 3 and the miners’ families of source 2 is achieved using description of physical reactions – ‘beginning to smile’, ‘tears of joy’.
Use of metaphor to describe the surroundings in both source 3 and source 2 – ‘forest of TV antennas’, ‘Garden of Eden’ makes the environment more significant and exaggerates its importance to the people involved.

(although you don't need to spend time naming techniques it can be rewarded if related to effect)
Contrast of purpose – no dates, times, statistics just description in source 3, plenty of this in 2. This helps the writers achieve their respective purposes by...
Tone of danger set at outset but with hint of relief – title of source 3 = “saved,” headline of source 2 includes “refuge…rescue.”
As soon as you infer by saying, 'this suggests,' or 'I can infer from his that...' they HAVE to give you at least a 'C' (5 marks)

So: use quotes and explain what you learn.

For example: An accurate number of rough sleepers in any city ‘can never properly be known.’ This tells me homelessness is obviously a big problem in cities and it suggests it could be a bigger problem than we realise because we can't measure it accurately.
Examples of inference
could include:
'However' linking two generalised, unsupported paragraphs will not be rewarded.
e.g. In source 1 you can tell the mood is one of relief from the language used however, in source 3, the mood is more tense.
Examples of how language (word/phrase) is used to achieve this is essential.
This is worth 16 marks, double that available in all previous questions.
If you don't attempt this question it is almost impossible to get a 'B'.
Plan your time wisely!
"Successful candidates select appropriately and look at the effects of specific words and phrases, in context, in two texts."
"Many students successfully identified language devices - triplets, onomatopoeia, alliteration - but offered no specific examples or offered no comment on any linguistic effects these devices might have had on the reader.
If effects were considered, they were again too often generic, for example, ‘it paints a picture in your mind’ or, ‘it increases the worry’."
1st, 2nd or 3rd person (narrative viewpoint)
Directly addressing the reader
Imperatives
Rhetorical questions
Formal/Informal language
Diction - Simple/Complex vocab
Figurative Language & Imagery:
Word play & puns
Alliteration
Rhyme & Rhythm
Common linguistic devices
Language is highly descriptive, with adjectives such as “golden” and “spectacular” conveying the writer’s appreciation for his surroundings.
The writer uses dramatic and violent language in order to describe the horror of the attack at the end of the extract. Phrases like “chill horror”, “sudden fear” and “thunderous crack” portray the fear and terror experienced by the Indians who are attacked.
The writer uses a chatty, informal tone, using contractions like “I’m” “don’t” and “can’t”.
Powerful words such as “war”, “huge” and “ruining” emphasise and perhaps exaggerate the seriousness of the issue.
Language is always used for some kind of effect or other. Often, without commenting on specific linguistic devices, you can talk about the kind of language a writer uses, noticing what kind of words are used, or what kind of tone or style is created by language and structure. Look at these examples…
How is language used for effect?
Question 4: A Model Response

The purpose of Text 1 is to inform Daily Echo readers about the achievements of Holly Budge and impress them with information about her accomplishments. Text 2 is a descriptive piece which tells readers about a significant event in the life of the narrator: an Apache Indian. Readers will empathise with the narrator and respond with sympathy to the awful event described in the extract.

Facts and statistics are used in Text 1 in order to stress the significance of Holly’s achievements. They serve an evidential purpose. Holly climbed “29,500 ft”; she has made “more than 2000 jumps”; she intends to “raise £30,000” for charity. This information impresses readers as the numbers involved are large and significant. These facts portray Holly as a brave and remarkable young woman who has singlehandedly achieved great things. The figures suggest that her feats are extraordinary.

The superlative “highest” is repeated throughout the article. Holly climbed the world’s “highest mountain” as well as achieving the “highest drop zone” by a parachutist. The repetition of this word reinforces the idea that Holly’s exploits are unique and admirable.
The article uses complex vocabulary: a diction exclusive to Holly’s profession which the reader may not be familiar with. The article uses terms such as “high altitude”, “free fall” and “oxygen cylinder”. These technical terms are not common phrases, so they give further authenticity to the report.

Unlike Text 1, Text 2 uses figurative language in order to describe the setting in the story and the narrator’s relationship with it. In her first-person account, Landman talks of how a tree “lowers itself to greet me” and refers to its “spirit singing”. This use of personification suggests that the narrator has a close, deep relationship with her environment; it portrays her as at peace with her surroundings. This contrasts sharply with the distressing events later in the extract.

In contrast to Text 1, Text 2 uses a list in order to portray the Apache Indians as admirable, multi-skilled people who are in sync with their environment and daily lives. As well as “tending the fire, stirring a cooking pot”, a mother is stitching fabric and looking after her children. Again, this harmonious description makes later events seem even more shocking and heightens the reader’s sympathy.

Another difference between the texts is that Text 2 uses dramatic and violent language in order to describe the horror of the attack at the end of the extract. Phrases like “chill horror”, “sudden fear” and “thunderous crack” portray the fear and terror experienced by the Indians who are attacked. This kind of language evokes sympathy in the reader, and perhaps revulsion at the attackers who have disrupted the Apaches’ harmonious existence.

As both of these texts have such different purposes and evoke very different responses from readers, they use contrasting effects. Text 1 relies on effects which authenticate the story and impress the reader, such as facts, numbers and complex diction, whereas Text 2, which elicits a far more emotional response, employs descriptive, dramatic and emotive language for effect.
Question 4: Language Comparison – Sample Mark Scheme
Anecdote & Allusion
Slogan & Catchphrase
Statistics & Facts
Exaggeration & Hyperbole
Repetition
Humour
Lists
Emotive language
Punctuation type
Expert advice
Short sentences
Superlatives
Some common linguistic devices. What are they?
Now you know what kind of thing you need to write about in your response to Question 4, you are going to see a model answer. Notice:

How the student introduces their answer
How many points about language are made for each text (Highlight language devices analysed!)
When and how the student compares and contrasts

Then, look at the mark scheme and suggest a mark.

Stock question:
Compare the different ways in which language is used for effect in the two texts.
Give some examples and analyse what the effects are.
ALWAYS highlight the key words in the question.

The language question is always the same: It will ALWAYS ask you to compare source 3 with either source 1 or source 2.

You need to be writing about how language is used in the two texts, identifying and analysing language devices.
What are the common purposes and effects of non-fiction writing?
Compare the different ways in which language is used for effect in the two texts.
Give some examples and analyse what the effects are.
Actively read two of the texts (source 3 plus one other)

You are looking for particular parts of the text where language creates a certain effect and/or serves the purpose of the article (e.g. inform, persuade or describe).

Highlight words, phrases, passages, statistics etc. that will help you answer the question.

You might like to annotate the texts very briefly with ideas that will help you answer the question.
Facts and stats give authenticity…

Similarly, expert advice…

We think this is hyperbole…

We noticed…

Language is often emotive, so the reader…

Repetition is used…

IN GROUPS
Jigsaw Activity
You need a clear introductory sentence introducing each article making sure you state its purpose and possibly audience and form, depending on whether or not it has a significant effect on language choices or effects achieved. See the model answer for help.

Then:
Write about how language is used for effect in one of the texts, and then the other (making brief comparisons with the one you’ve already written about).
Conclude by giving reasons for similarities / differences based on the purposes of the articles.
Pepper your points with short quotes which give examples of how language is used for effect. They need to be analysed, as you need to suggest how these effects are created by the writers.
To sum up...
The question will be:
What do you learn/understand about 'X'
from source 1?
4 marks
5+ marks
Information
Colon
alliteration
lexis - rescue, refuge,
at last
Colour
Clown
Reporter
Flag
Background
Facial
expressions

4 marks
5/6 marks
7/8 marks
4 marks
5/6 marks
7/8 marks
Q: How do you judge whether or not something is effective?

A: If it achieves its purpose.

The first thing you need to do is identify the purpose(s) of the two sources you will be writing about. This is your first paragraph - one sentence on each e.g.
The purpose of source 3 is to describe the situation the climbers were in and their feelings. The purpose of source 2 is to inform the reader and help them understand the reaction or feelings of those involved.
4. New paragraph - write about, ideally, the same technique used in the other source in the same way. Just add a bit to show you can tell it has been used for the same purpose or for a different one:
Write about each one like this:
By personifying "Panic" it suggests that the fear they feel has come from outside them and they are therefore not in control of it. The fact it goes to their, "heart," also increases the impact as this is a vital organ and, traditionally, the organ most powerfully connected to our emotions.
3. Explain how the quote achieves the effect you stated in the first sentence:
2. Give a quote:
1. State the technique and the effect achieved:
The writer of source 3 uses personification to help the reader understand the feeling of powerlessness that the climbers had.
"Panic entered the hearts of both of them."
The use of personification in source 3 helps the reader understand the feelings of the climbers and makes therefore helps the reader emotionally invest in them.
5. For band 4 you will need to be clear at the end of each paragraph how the techniques helped the writer achieved their purpose.
Personification is also used in source 2 to help us understand the threat posed to the miners on their rescue. The, "media onslaught," mentioned in the final paragraph indicates the pressure they will be put under by the numerous news agencies who will all want to hear their story and make celebrities of them.
What not to do:
Other points you could make include:
Full transcript