J351/01 Tackling the Exam (Mastersheet)

Below you will find a comprehensive overview of the Paper 1 Language exam, including advice on tackling each task. Look closely at the Assessment Objectives for each question, the recommended timings and the demands of each task.

If you want a word document version of the information, you can download it here.

 

J351/01 Communicating Information & Ideas

(English Language Paper 1)

Tackling the Exam: Master Sheet

 

Exam paper format:

The exam is 2 hours long: Section A assesses reading skills and Section B assesses writing skills.

You will be presented with two passages of unseen non-fiction writing.

These could be letters, extracts from articles, journal entries or similar.

One will be 19th Century in origin (text 1) and the other will be 20th or 21st Century (text 2). The materials will be thematically linked.

You will also have a question paper with space provided for your written answers. Additional blank pages are provided at the back of this booklet, should you need it for your extended answers.

 

Assessment Objectives:

AO1:       (i) Identify & interpret explicit/implicit information

               (ii) Select & synthesise evidence from different texts

AO2:       Analyse how writers use language/structure to achieve effects and influence readers

               Use relevant terminology to support your views and ideas

AO3:       Compare how writers present their ideas

AO4:       Critically evaluate texts with appropriate textual references

AO5:       Communicate clearly and effectively, using relevant tone, style & register

               Organise information & ideas coherently

AO6:       Use a range of vocabulary & sentence structures for clarity, purpose & effect

               Use spelling, punctuation & grammar accurately

 

Timing & process overview (recommended based on number of marks available):

Read Question 1 & text 1 – 5 minutes

Question 1 – 4 minutes

Read question 2 & text 2 – 5 minutes

Question 2 – 6 minutes

Question 3 – 15 minutes

Question 4 – 25 minutes

Question 5 or 6 – 1 hour

 

Question 1

Assessment Objectives: AO1(i)

Type of question: Three brief answers based on finding relevant words/phrases from text 1 which show that you’ve understood the passage.

Number of marks: 4 (divided between the three parts of the question)

Recommended time: 5 minutes reading time for the text 1/4 minutes for the question

Planning advice:

·       Read the question before reading text 1.

·       Annotate the keywords in the question by underlining them.

·       If asked for a quotation, there is no need to write full sentence answers.

·       Make sure your quotations are brief – marks will be lost for overlong quotations.

·       If asked to explain, use your own words rather than quote from the text.

 

 

Question 2

Assessment Objectives: AO1(ii)

Type of question: This task requires you to compare text 1 and 2, finding either similarities, differences or both, using a topic focus.

Number of marks: 6

Recommended time: 5 minutes reading time for text 2/6 minutes for the question

Planning advice:

·       Read the question before reading text 2.

·       Annotate the keywords in the question by underlining them.

·       To secure high marks, your comparison must be thorough, while remembering that time is restricted – aim for at least three good comparisons.

·       Make sure you use topic sentences and discourse markers of comparison (both, similarly, neither, while x…y, conversely, etc.)

 

 

Question 3

Assessment Objectives: AO2

Type of question: This task requires a forensic examination of text 2, exploring how the writer has used language and structural choices for effect.

Number of marks: 12

Recommended time: 15 minutes including planning time

Planning advice:

·       Annotate the keywords in the question by underlining them.

·       Plan your answer by underlining key language and structural features in text 2 and then making brief marginal notes – do not try to write your response without doing this first!

·       Aim to make 2 structural points and 4 language points – each of which require topic sentences.

·       Use embedded quotations to support your ideas.

·       Use relevant terminology, suited to analysing text.

·       Use paragraphs

·       Check your work for technical accuracy

 

 

Question 4

Assessment Objectives: AO3, AO4

Type of question: This task presents you with a statement about the topic shared between the texts and asks you to evaluate the degree to which you do, or do not agree, justifying your answer with evidence from both texts.

Number of marks: 18 (AO3 – 6 marks, AO4 – 12 marks)

Recommended time: 25 minutes including planning time

Planning advice:

·       Annotate the keywords in the question by underlining them.

·       Pay particular attention to the three bullet points which must be addressed in your answer – AO4 will be signposted in the first two bullet points (‘discuss’/’explain’ by way of exploring how far you agree with the title statement) & AO3 will be signposted in the third bullet point (‘compare how the writers present their ideas’)

·       Use discourse markers of evaluation (‘x is arguably more effective’, ‘y is, in my opinion, more successful in…’)

·       Use discourse markers of comparison (both, similarly, neither, while x…y, conversely, etc.)

·       Make sure that by the end of your answer you have stated the degree to which you do, or do not agree with the title statement.

·       Use paragraphs

·       Check your work for technical accuracy

·       One approach to planning this task is as follows:

 

·       Paragraph 1 – briefly state your position (agree/disagree) 

·       Paragraph 2/3 – explore the first two bullet points

·       Paragraph 4 – explore bullet point 3

·       Paragraph 5 – conclude with a more developed evaluative statement about the your position

 

Question 5 or 6

Assessment Objectives: AO5 / AO6

 

Type of question: This task offers two questions – ONLY ONE should be attempted (‘Either / Or’). You are invited to produce an original piece of non-fiction writing.

The question format will clearly state the required form, purpose and intended audience. While the exam board has not provided a definitive list of these, the following list should inform your preparation:

Form – leaflet, letter (formal/informal), report, journal entry, article (newspaper, magazine, online),

Purpose – argue, persuade, inform, advise

Audience – your class, your school, local newspaper, people you live with, local council, local businesses

Number of marks: 40 (AO5 – 24, AO6 – 16)

Recommended time: 10 minutes planning, 40 minutes writing, 10 minutes checking

Planning advice:

  • Select the question you feel best able to tackle
  • Annotate the key words in the question
  • Plan by jotting down the language and structural features of the target form / purpose
  • Plan the order and content of your answer – make sure you seek to employ a rich range of vocabulary and sentence structures, even if the intended audience is your peers.
  • Use paragraphs
  • Check your work for technical accuracy (this is vital for this task, given that 16 marks of the 40 are based on accuracy f spelling, punctuation and grammar)