And now question three. You little tricky brute. It should be so simple! Teach structural devices, and how to analyse them, chuck in a couple of nice sounding technical terms to boost their confidence, and voila! Eight out of eight? NO.
‘It makes you want to read on,’ they write.
Part of the blame must be placed with the irritating phrasing of the question. ‘How has the writer structured the story to interest the reader’. As if on cue, a billion churlish teenagers start complaining how it isn’t interesting at all…
What counts as structure on a whole sentence level is a bit of sore point too. Sentence construction isn’t, well, not unless it is repeated throughout the text. And if it is done deliberately. Oh, and if is worth analysing, with some kind of discernible deliberate effect. So, yeah, don’t mention sentence structure.
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The language analysis in question two is a tricky little gem of a question. Most students feel pretty confident attacking this one, and usually even weaker students can pick up one or two marks. I’m going to split this into advice for those who are aiming for each separate ‘level’, because the advice I would give is quite different.
Of all the challenges in the English Language exam, question one fades into the background when compared to the complexities of question four, or the mental gymnastics for the analysis in questions two and three. Question one sits there. Unobtrusive. Inoffensive. Nonchalant. A little dream of a question, really. “Find four things…”. Can’t go wrong, right?
What is the problem with question four? It should be as simple as teaching the difference between analysis and evaluation, point them in the right direction, and watch them go. But it isn’t.
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