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OCR – Revision for A680 GCSE English Language (OCR, Unit A680) • You will sit this paper – Information and Ideas paper - on Tuesday 29th May, 2012 in the morning •The paper is 2 hours long half the marks test reading (Section A); half writing (Section B) • It counts for 40% of your final English Language grade • You have all been entered for Higher Tier What the Board says about timing Section A Practising for Section A: a test of reading Two unseen passages Q2 & 3 analysis Non-fiction and and media evidence Q1 is re- 3 questions focused on purpose summary Types of text One of the reading texts at Higher tier will be a ‘media’ text, the other a ‘non-fiction’ text. No rigid distinction between genres is needed. What will be important - and should be clear to candidates who read with due attention - is the purpose of each text. Media texts are likely to be those in which the writers set out to promote their own ideas or points of view in order to provoke a response from their readers. In general, they will seek to ‘sell’ a point of view, to argue a case, to persuade and convince the reader. Non-fiction texts are likely to be more informative in approach in which writers convey facts, opinions, thoughts and feelings. The purpose of this type of text may be more subtle, perhaps with the intention to entertain the reader or explore various aspects of an idea. The questions set on the texts will, in the main, focus candidates on showing understanding and appreciation of the key points mentioned above. How to begin You will need to read the passage first then read the questions and then re-read the passage before you write anything. Q1 will be on the first passage Q2 will also be on the first passage Q3 will be on the second passage Remember Q1 is based on WHAT is said while Q2 and Q3 look at HOW points are made Q2 and Q3 are worth more marks because you have to analyse and explain the language used Q1 It may be supported by visual cues when such features support the writer’s purpose. In the first task candidates will be asked to offer an ‘outline’ of the information and/or ideas within the text. Strong answers will show ability to select those key points and summarise, without ‘lifting’ from the text. Rules for Summary The mark scheme identifies ’understanding’, ‘overview’ and ‘focus’ Use of significant detail will show understanding, as will secure focus on the given task. Repetition or personal comment on the subject matter has no relevance here, Nor should there be comment on the style of the text - that belongs in Q2. The examiner will be looking for a ‘range of points’ and the ability to rearrange material to suit the requirements of the question. (excessive length indicates poor focus), Q2 This will use the first passage and build on what you have looked at in Q1. This will explore CONTENT and PRESENTATION Remember GAP Genre -What is the text? How do you know? Audience – Who is the text aimed at? Purpose –What does the text want you to do? (Remember all documents have a purpose – to inform; entertain; persuade and so on.) Q3 This question will focus on the second passage so re-read it before you start The exam board says ‘Thoughtful commentary that consistently links technique to the writer’s purpose will score highly. Comment on the writer’s use of language, tone of voice and rhetorical devices, for example, will be relevant here.’ Q 3 – further advice from OCR ‘the key discriminator that rests between band 4 and band 5 concerns ability to analyse and explain rather than merely describe - these are not exercises that will reward candidates for simply saying what they see on the page. Observations that are made about, for example, size of photographs, headings etc. are only of relevance if the candidate can tie observations to the writer’s purpose and say how this was intended to shape the reader’s response’. Remember LIST L – LANGUAGE I - INFORMATION S - STYLE T – TONE Use all of these to shape your analysis LANGUAGE – what sort is it? • Is the language persuasive, informative, descriptive, childish or adult? Is the language emotive? Does it make you feel angry or sad? Does the writer address you directly? • To get high marks in an exam, you have to understand how language is used, because when it comes to non- fiction text every word is designed to achieve a specific effect. So how do you go about unpicking the language of a text? Check is the language EMOTIVE – is it trying to manipulate your response? Compare the two passages: • The sight has become all too familiar: drunken yobs, hunting in packs, degrading themselves and shaming the flag of their country. Heavy drinking, violence and racial hatred is all part of the culture of young Britain, and is generally followed by whines and bleats of self pity when those trusted with upholding the law are pushed to take action. • The sight has become familiar: drunken young men, travelling in groups, letting themselves and their country down. Heavy drinking, violence and racial hatred is all part of the culture of young Britain, and is generally followed by expressions of self pity when the local police take action. INFORMATION • Non-fiction text often uses informative language, which is simply language that gets across the facts. • You will need to check if the information in the passage is factual, a series of the writer’s opinions, or a mixture of the two? When reading a non-fiction text, you need to be able to assess whether the information in the text is fact or opinion. You will also need to be able to comment on the writer's line of thought or their argument. Quick tip • If you want to check how a writer makes a convincing argument: • Find the topic sentences. • Look for sentences that reinforce. • Look for sentences that illustrate or give facts. • Look at the ending (conclusion) What are they looking for ? Candidates should be reminded that this is emphatically not an exercise in spotting and naming devices such as similes, rhetorical questions and ‘rule of three’ - although quoting and explaining the effects of examples of such elements, if present, will certainly support a response. Assertions and general personal comment not linked to the text should be avoided. It will not help if candidates simply describe their own feelings – they will need to indicate that they have some sense of what the writer is doing to cause those feelings. Use of quotation is very helpful in answering both questions, but candidates should not merely ‘lift’ chunks of text. Examiners are looking for understanding of the content and appreciation of the technique. The two aspects are likely to be closely connected. What to avoid Q1 – avoid ‘copying out’ large chunks of the passage. Do not give your own opinions Do not analyse the text Q2 – Do not simply point out devices used – you need to analyse the effects on a reader Avoid empty comments like ‘It draws you in.’ Q3 – Make sure you do not comment on passage 1: you must focus on passage 2 Summary of Section A Q1 is WHAT happens. You are making a summary Q2 is HOW does the writer present his/her views. Mind the GAP Q3 is HOW on the second passage – remember LIST Section B You have a choice out of 2 for this section SPAG is important here You must plan this piece Read the task carefully as it is a directed writing task and part of the marks will be on your interpretation of what you have been asked to do Be careful with timing It is worth 40 marks – the same as Section A Checklist Spend time planning Focus on structure Make sure you have a good opening Think of GAP Bring the piece to a careful conclusion Be aware of your own use of language for effect Remember to write in complete sentences Avoid slang and contractions Write in paragraphs What are examiners looking for? Control of the material and structure will be important. a confident writer and will be rewarded. Effective use of paragraphing often proves a significant discriminator between mark bands. A carefully crafted but relatively brief piece of work will score higher than a longer, less purposeful piece that loses its way. Ability to develop, adapt and sustain the material becomes significant in the higher bands. Above band 4 the examiner is looking to reward some ambition in the writing - a willingness to use language for effect is encouraged. Strong responses will often show some variety in stylistic features – use of direct speech or a direct address to the reader, perhaps. FLAP You know what GAP is – for your own writing think of: FLAP F – form and presentation – what style is it? Eg a leaflet/letter/article L – language – what tone should you use – is it formal or not? A – audience – who is it aimed at? P – purpose – what do you want your reader to think about? Is it to inform/persuade/ entertain? Now you try… Section B tasks Do we worry too much about the welfare of animals? Write your own views/ Or Write an account for a local newspaper of a time when you or someone you know needed help. Remember you need to ‘develop, adapt and sustain’ your writing.
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