These sources may be functional, such as information texts, or they may be texts you read in every day life, travelogues and biographies. Often these sources are linked by a theme.
Each of the four questions tests a different skill – you must attempt each question
The key words are common throughout the reading exam, however the skills are different. It is important to remember what is being assessed in each question.Insightful - sustained
Top Tips: for a Band 4 you need to discuss all aspects of the issue or issues in detail – work your way through the text in the order in which things happen – use the intro – two/three key points in the article and the conclusionIf there is a picture or headline – DO NOT comment on it – use it to help you to understand the textYou should not comment on the use of language for this question – it will not gain you any marksUse the phrases: This suggests, This means, This lets us know, This implies to show the examiner that you are interpreting.
Top Tips: for a Band 4 both the headline and picture need to be discussed. You don’t have to link the picture and headline togetherSometimes students say – ‘this is effective because it creates a picture in your mind’ or ‘this is effective because it makes you want to read on’ – these comments are too general – they could apply to any headline or picture. The effcts of the words you select need to be connected to the article you are reading.Explain = give reasons
The headline is from an article about a range of toy crabs. They have been a huge hit with children in America and are due to be launched in the UK in time for Christmas.What do you notice?
List six detailsExplain why the writer has chosen a picture with these particular details.What effect is the writer trying to create?How do they add to your understanding of what is happening?
Identifies detailsExplains the importance of tehse detailsExplains the effct of these details in relation to the text
How = identify the writer’s techniquesCAN SKIP THE NEXT THREE SLIDES
Top Tips: for a Band 4 you need to explain a range (3 or more different feelings/thoughts – often it is possible to comment on more than one feeling from just one part of the text – look for layers in meaning) of thoughts and feelings in detail – relating to the whole text. It is best to work through a source in the order in which things happen, so that you can explain the thoughts and feelings in a logical way.Phrases such as – ‘which implies’. ‘which means’, ‘which indicates’, ‘which suggests that’ shows the examiner that you are beginning to interpretYou should not comment on the use of language or the effect on the reader for this question.
Give out hand outs: Education for the Nation and First Day Nerves
Comment – analyse something and read between the lines.Analyse – look closely at the effect of particular words and phrases in order to better understand the meaning of a text. ZOOM in to comment on the specific effect it has on the reader and PAN out – how does this link to the overall text and its purpose – why have they chosen that particular word and how does it add to your understanding of the text.The way language has been used may also tell you the writer’s attitude towards what is happening.
However this should not be the focus of your response – it can be referred to to explain the choices the writer has made
Unit One Section A Higher revision
Unit One, Section AHigher
Unit One, Section A• This section is worth 40 marks• It is where you are the reader and your abilityto understand a range of non-fiction texts isassessed• There are four questions based on threereading sources
Using your time• Question One – read source one then answerquestion 1– 8 marks = 15 minutes• Question Two – read source two then answerQuestion 2– 8 marks = 15 minutes• Question Three – read source three then answerQuestion 3– 8 marks = 15 minutes• Question Four– 16 marks = 30 minutes
Question One• Question 1 is based on source 1 and is worth 8 marks. Youare given 3 pages in the answer booklet, and should aim tofill at least two of these. The question is testing your abilityto read and understand a text, backing up your points withquotations. It is a fairly easy opener to the exam paper. Youare being asked to summarise the text in your own words,pointing out subtleties or inconsistencies if you can spotthem.• Although this is a fairly simple question, there are still a fewpitfalls you need to avoid. To begin with, this is not alanguage analysis question. You should not be picking outDAFOREST techniques and commenting on their effect onthe reader. In fact, all you are being asked to do issummarise the text in your own words.YOU SHOULD SPEND AROUND12 MINUTESAnswering THIS QUESTION
What do you understand fromthe article about…?You are being asked to retrieve theimportant information and ideas inan article. To retrieve somethingmeans to find it in the text.You are being asked to support theimportant information and ideasthat you retrieve. Back up whatyou say with embeddedquotations.You are being asked to interpret theimportant information and ideas that youretrieve. To interpret means readbetween the lines. It’s what you can workout from the text without actually beingtold.The rest of the questionwill depend on what thearticle is about.To interpret means to infermeaning from a text; tocomment on parts of thetext using your own words.
TOP TIPS FOR QUESTION 1Make a range of points which summarise all partsof the text.Comment on how the text begins, what it issaying in the middle and how it ends.Use your own words – don’t just copy out thetext.Back up your points with appropriate quotations.• Look for subtleties such as inconsistencies orcontradictions.
Item 1: Education for the Nation• Q: What do you learn from the article aboutthe ways students are revising?What = describe something
The article ‘Education for the Nation’ shows us that students are revising in a numberof different ways. To begin with, they are revising through watching online videos,such as those recorded by Andrew Bruff. We know this to be true because the videoshave been ‘been viewed nearly half a million times’. This is a staggering statistic whichmust represent a massively part of the population who take exams. Considering such agreat number is being achieved by just one teacher, we can hypothesise that themajority of students are now using this method of online videos to revise.Another way students are revising is through downloading eBooks. Again, AndrewBruff’s eBook has been downloaded over 10,000 times in a month which suggests thatthere is a big call for this type of revision material. The beauty of eBooks is that theycan be downloaded not only onto PCs but also iPad, iPhone and the like. This suggeststhat students are revising ‘on the go’, at times and places where they want to revise.This perhaps shows that students are no longer just revising at home or school, butare utilising their mobile technology to revise whenever they can fit it in – during cartrips for example. If an actual print book sold 10,000 copies it would be considered abestseller, so clearly this huge figure points to the fact that students WANT to reviseon the move.Students are also revising through podcasting. Podcasts are a relatively newphenomenon, but clearly students revise through them as Andrew Bruff has seen theneed to create the ‘walk to school’ podcast. Again this suggests that students want torevise on their own terms, at times and places that are convenient for them.The final thing we learn about student revision is that students want instant feedbackand results. Andrew Bruff has 1,000 followers on Twitter and gets asked questionswhich he responds to ‘in real time’. This shows that students want 24/7communication with teachers and are utilising technology to achieve this. They don’twant to have to wait until they get to their English lesson to speak to their teachers.
QUESTION 2• Question 2 will ask you to explain how the writer usespresentational devices to engage the reader. Thisquestion is worth 8 marks, meaning you should spendaround 12 minutes on it. You are expected to analysethe presentational devices mentioned in the questionand comment on their effect on the reader. Unlike inthe foundation paper, there will be a second part to thequestion, usually asking how the presentationaldevices relate to the text itself.• The best way to approach this question is to imaginethat the sources began as blank white pieces of paper.Every single colour, image and font was thereforechosen with purpose, and the placement of theseelements was also a deliberate choice. That means youwill have plenty to choose from.This means everything exceptwords, so you should bethinking about images, fonts,pictures, photos etc.
Explain how the headline andpicture are effective and how theylink with the text.You are being asked tocomment on the effect ofthe words used in theheadline.You are being asked to selectactual words and phrases fromthe text and explain how theylink with the headline.You are being asked tocomment on the effect ofthe details used in thepictureYou are being asked to selectactual words and phrases fromthe text and explain how theylink with the picture.
Crawling crabs slide into UK to pinchfestive salesThe writer uses two puns in this headline, partly to make it fun for the reader butalso to hint at something more devious. ‘Slide’ is used to represent the sidewaysmovement of a crab, ut it also suggests the almost unnoticeable movement of thetoys as they enter the UK. It’s like they’re creeping in and sneakily taking over thetoy market. This is reinforced by ‘pinch’, which is less subtle than ‘slide’ and is aquick, sharp word. As well as indicating the characteristics of a crab, it implies thetoys are powerful and are confidently going to steal all the sales at the shops.Next you would need to link the headline with the contents ofthe text.Link this quotation to the headline:One is sold “every seven seconds in America”
The use of scale and colour in a pictureis often worth mentioning, and cameraangles can also be important. Try toconsider the less obviousfeatures, such as a person’s facialexpression or what is happening in thebackground.This is from an article about a streettheatre company who visited Liverpoolon the anniversary of the sinking ofthe Titanic. There were three giantpuppets and this one is called LittleGirl
Band 3• The picture shows Little Girl, one of the giantpuppets that was part of the street theatrecompany visiting Liverpool. We can see thehuge crane holding her strings and the peoplewatching in the background look tiny toemphasise how big the puppet is. There isalso a real girl staring up at her who looksextremely small and the effect of this is toreinforce the scale and show that Little Girlreally isn’t little at all!
TOP TIPS FOR QUESTION 2• Make a direct reference to illustrate thedevice. Obviously you can’t quote a picture orcolour, but you can refer to it like this: ‘thecolour pink is used for the magazine title’.• Explain why the writer has used this device.• Comment on the effect on the reader.YOU SHOULD SPEND AROUND12 MINUTESanswering THIS QUESTION
Q: How are the headline, subheading andpicture effective. How do they link to thetext?• There are basically 4 different parts to thisquestion:1)How is the headline effective?2)How is the subheading effective?3)How is the picture effective?4)How do they link to the text?
The headline of the article ‘Education for the Nation’ is effective for two reasons.To begin with, it does what every good headline should do – it hints at the topic ofthe article and it is catchy and memorable due to the use of rhyme. It is alsoeffective because it summarises the most important part of the article: thatAndrew Bruff’s online resources are teaching students across the country. It links tothe text because the text goes on to explain just how Andrew is educating thenation, e.g. ‘Andrew created over 200 videos’ [on YouTube].The picture is effective because it really symbolises so much of what Andrew Bruffdoes. The photo shows Andrew smiling and laughing. The connotation here is thatAndrew is a fun person who has a good sense of humour which is likely to be usedin his revision materials. This would appeal to students who may think revising isboring; if Andrew makes it fun then that would certainly make them want to lookat his resources. This links to the text because Andrew himself says “I try to throwin some humour where I can, just to keep things lively”.Also, the ‘Education for the Nation’ image shows Mr Bruff wearing a pair ofsunglasses. The connotation and the effect on the reader is that they thereforethink Mr Bruff must be ‘cool’. For teenagers (Mr Bruff’s target audience), image isvery important – as is street cred, so appearing ‘cool’ would be very important toattract the right target audience. This ties in with the text because the text goes onto explain how Andrew uses YouTube, Twitter and iTunes: all sites which are verypopular with young people. Through utilising sites which are popular with youngpeople, Andrew is, as suggested in his pose in the photo, contemporary andrelevant to young people.
My final point about the photo is that Andrew is faced away from the camera.This symbolically refers to the relationship Andrew has with his audience: theywatch him but he cannot see them. It shows that the responsibility lies with thestudent to make the effort to watch his materials. This is different to school lifewhere the teacher will be checking up on the class. In the online world whereAndrew Bruff operates, the onus is on the student to watch the teacher, not theother way around. This links to the text because in the text we see that Andrewuses Twitter to ‘answer questions’. The focus here is on students coming toAndrew and Andrew responding, not the other way around.Finally, the subheading is effective because it summarises the whole article in ashort space. This is the purpose of a subheading – if the headline has grabbedthe reader’s attention, the subheading will then show them whether the articleis going to be of interest to them. When we read ‘An English teacher fromDevon is revolutionising the way students learn, utilising web2 technologiessuch as YouTube, iTunes and Twitter’ we have a full understanding of what therest of the article is going to be about. It links to the text because there is aparagraph in the article about each of the points mentioned in the subheading:one on YouTube, one on iTunes and one on Twitter.The subheading is also effective for another reason. Through the use of emotivelanguage. One example can be found when he states that the work Mr Bruffcompletes is ‘revolutionising’ learning. The word ‘revolutionising’ conjures upimages of something grand and historical. The effect on the reader is that theythink the work Mr Bruff is doing is absolutely amazing, and therefore it makesthe reader want to read on to find out just what is so stupefying.
QUESTION 3• Question 3 is based on source 3. It is a difficult question in that it appearsto be quite vague. It will ask you to explain – to make clear andunderstandable, something you have read about in the source. Thequestion is, once again, worth 8 marks. It will often, but not always, bebased on a non-fiction text such as a journal or autobiography piece.• Like question 1, this question will be testing your ability to understand andinterpret meaning, this time in source three. Again, it is not a languageanalysis question, and language should only be analysed if it specificallyanswers the question. You should not write about the effect on the readerin this question (that comes in question 4).• As with question 1, you should aim to make a range of points which coverall parts of the text. Comment on how the text begins, what it is saying inthe middle and how it ends.
Explain some of the thoughts andfeelings … has when …¥ou are being asked to select parts of atext which convey some of thethoughts and feelings of a character/s.These parts may include what ishappening, what the character issaying or what the character is doing.You are being asked to interpret –this is the most important part ofthe question. You need to ‘readbetween the lines’.You are being asked to identifythe thoughts and feelings of acharacter/s from the parts ofthe text that you select.The rest of the questionwill depend on theevents in the text.
TOP TIPS FOR QUESTION 3:Write about all parts of the text – beginning,middle and endBack up your points with quotations from thetextDo not write about the effect on the reader.YOU SHOULD SPEND AROUND12 MINUTESanswering THIS QUESTION
QUESTION 4• This is the trickiest question in section A, in that it will require you tochoose which sources you will write about. You will be asked to comparethe language use in two texts – one is set and the other is to be chosen byyou. This question is worth 16 marks and requires a very detailed answer.• A lot of students struggle with this question, particularly with the idea ofanalysing ‘language’ which seems like such a vague term. The exam boardshave stated in their examiners’ reports that many students struggle withthis question because they do not have a tool-kit to analyse language.Well, I have got a toolkit for you, and it’s called DAFOREST. I will happilyshare it with you but I must make it clear that it is not going to get you anA or A* - it is a good building block to start with, and I include it here forthose of you looking for a starting point when it comes to languageanalysis, but I will give some more sophisticated techniques afterwards.
• There is no quick way around this other thanto say you will need to memorise DAFORESTand be able to spot it in the two sources. Thegreat thing about it is that the effect it has onthe reader is always the same, so if you canmemorise it now you pretty much have youranswer ready for question three. Here isanother table explaining the effect of eachtechnique:
Read the two sources, highlighting theDAFOREST techniques as you find them. Youmay not find them all, but there should alwaysbe at least five of them.
Compare the ways in which language isused for effect in the two texts. Give someexamples and analyse what the effects are.¥ou are being asked to compare theuse of language in two texts. Tocompare means to look at thesimilarities and differences.You are being asked to comment onthe effect on the reader of using thesewords, phrases or language features.This is the most important part of yourresponse.You are being asked to selectactual words, phrases or languagefeatures that have beendeliberately chosen to create aneffect in the reader.
Compare• You are not comparing content or structure• You should not comment on the absence of a languagefeature– E.g. analysing the effect of alliteration in one source andsaying it has not been used in the other is not a clearcomparison• It is a good idea to use words that indicate similaritiesand differences between the text in your comparison– ‘both’, ‘is similar to’, ‘on the other hand’, ‘however’,‘whereas’– ‘more’ and ‘less’ can also be useful to compare– ‘darker language’, ‘sharper vocabulary’
It is important to consider the purposeand audience…• A simple comparison:• The writer of source 3 and source 2 both usefacts but the effects are different.• Could become:• The purpose of Source 3 is to entertain, so thelanguage is mostly positive and facts are usedto engage the reader, whereas Source 2 has awarning tone, meaning the facts are usedmore to scare than entertain.
BUILDING ON THE BASICS OFDAFOREST• DAFOREST is a useful starting point but for those of you aiming to achievethe very top grades you will need to do more than churn out simple PEEparagraphs verbatim. For example, you should also try to consider thestructure of a text as seen in this sample answer:The writer uses a mix of fact and opinion to persuade thereader to give up smoking. When we read each cigarettecontains 0.2 grams of asbestos, this fact makes us feel thatthe article is accurate and to be believed; facts give an air ofauthority to a text. By following this with the opinion smokingis a disgusting habit, we are led to believe that this too is afact, like the one that went before it. The effect is that webelieve the opinion to be fact and are therefore persuadedthat smoking is both a dangerous and disgusting habit.
• You should also look for examples ofhumour, irony, satire, hyperbole and othertechniques. When you find these you shouldfollow the same format as stated above: mentionthe technique, back up your point with aquotation and write about the effect on thereader.• Finally, if you are naturally a top level student youshould also be willing to ‘go with your gut’. Ifthere is a word or phrase which seems significantto you then you should write about it.
The writer of ‘Education for the Nation’ uses emotive language throughout thearticle. One example can be found when he states that the work Mr Bruff completesis ‘revolutionising’ learning. The word ‘revolutionising’ conjures up images ofsomething grand and historical. The effect on the reader is that they think the workMr Bruff is doing is absolutely amazing.The writer of ‘First Day Nerves’ also uses emotive language. However, whereas thepurpose in ‘Education for the Nation’ is to present the topic in positive terms, theemotive language used in ‘Firs Day Nerves’ is used to show how awful the studentswere. Describing the group as a ‘rabble’ of ‘yobbish lads’ is clearly used to have theemotive effect on the reader of thinking that these students were incrediblyuncouth. The inconsistency here is that Mr Smith had only just met the class, soclearly these assumptions were being made on first impressions.Another use of language in the ‘Education for the Nation’ is seen through thepersuasive mix of fact and opinion. The writer uses many facts such as ‘half a milliontimes across 179 different countries’. The writer uses facts to make the text soundaccurate and authoritative. Whereas the rest of the article is largely made up ofpositive opinions, the facts and statistics make the reader believe what they arereading is true. It moves away from sounding too much like a fan piece to seeming tobe real ‘news’. This is important as the text comes from a newspaper and shouldtherefore aim to appear impartial. The truth is that the text is not impartial – itclearly aims to promote the online work of Mr Bruff. However, by cleverly mixingfacts and statistics along with the more persuasive opinions such as ‘an Englishteacher from Devon is revolutionising the way students learn’, the reader is inclinedto believe that everything they are reading is fact. The subtle juxtaposition of factand opinion is used to make the reader believe every part of the article is fact.
TOP TIPS FOR QUESTION 4Choose your second source carefully – the easiest thing to dois choose the one which contains most of the DAFORESTtechniques.Read both sources, highlighting the DAFOREST techniques asyou find them. You may not find them all, but there shouldalways be at least five of them.Turn each one into a separate PEE paragraph, using theformulaic answers from the table above.Look for more sophisticated points if you are aiming for A andA* grades.Remember to compare – write about similarities anddifferences.YOU SHOULD SPEND AROUND25 MINUTESanswering THIS QUESTION
Key Words• What – describe something• Why, Explain – explain something through reference to thetexts, and by giving reasons• How – identify the writer’s techniques• Discuss – suggest different meanings• Comment – analyse something and read between the lines• Effective – consider how (or whether) a text conveys itspurpose successfully to its target audience• Compare – look for similarities and differences in the texts• Form and presentation – how the texts are structured andhow they appear on the page• Reader’s response – how the writer intends the reader toreact to the article