How to Pass GCSE English Language 9-1: How to Avoid Boring Exam Phrases

Sometimes students have to be encouraged to be a little more ambitious with their exam responses.  In GCSE English Language (Grade 9-1) this is particularly true when it comes to the language questions, not to mention the critical appreciation question in Paper 1 (question 4).  Altogether these represent a lot of marks and therefore quite a big percentage of the overall marks available.  Responding well to these questions can without doubt mean the difference between one grade and another (not to put too fine a point on it).

Many learners follow the PEE structure that they have been taught to respond to language questions.  However, they give as much effort to explaining as they do to pointing out and evidencing.  For example, a student might say that the writer uses a metaphor and then quote the metaphor.  That could be done in a single sentence, two at a push.  Then they only spend a further sentence explaining the impact that this metaphor had on the reader.  Frankly this is only enough for a grade 4 at best.

If students wish to do better they must properly explain.  The examiner will award more marks to two well explained points than she will to three which are poorly explained - it makes sense.  So things like it makes the reader want to read on should be avoided at all costs!  This video shows some of the common boring sentences written by exam candidates and offers a few choice alternatives.


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