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Preparing For Your English Exams

By Brentyn, published on 10/01/2019 Blog > Academia > School English > Carefully Preparing For English Exams to Ensure Success

“If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.” -Doug Larson

The English language has had a significant influence on modern-day society. Countless books, movies and television shows have been produced or created in English for the enjoyment of many.

While only Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States have English as a de facto official language, many countries either have it as the de jure official language or have various citizens who speak it as their second language or third language.

Since English is commonly spoken, it can be studied in further detail during primary school, secondary school or at a prestigious university in the United Kingdom. 

The GCSE English Language subject is an excellent option for adolescents to study in their last years of secondary school who wish to improve their language arts skills and pursue a career thoroughly examining the different aspects of the English language.

Superprof is here to demonstrate to curious ones the various topics covered in the GCSE English Language curriculum to prepare for their next exams that will give the learner the needed qualifications to be accepted as a candidate for placement at one of the best universities in the United Kingdom.

non fiction and fiction texts After receiving helpful advice from the GCSE English Language curriculum, students will be able to analyse any fiction or non-fiction text will extreme ease. (Source: pixabay)

Analysing Fiction Texts

The topic of examining fiction texts has seven sections that are further discussed in the GCSE English Language subject. The following list describes in further detail the purpose of each section:

  • Fiction Text Types: students learn the different types of fiction texts available to readers such as prose, poetry and drama. It is important to note that within each category of fiction there are sub-genres. For example, in prose fiction, the three distinct genres of science fiction, historical fiction and romance fiction can be observed in literary works like 1984 by George Orwell, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen,
  • Setting: when studying literary and reviewing fiction texts it is of the utmost importance to determine the context. The setting refers to the place and time used within the document. It may be the past, present or future, a specific time of day or a particular geographic location such as city, country or event,
  • Theme: what’s the main idea of your literary text? It’s the theme. For example, power, love, money, death, appearance and reality, heroism, technology in society and friendship are all common themes that can all be observed in fiction texts. To determine the topic, readers carefully examine the piece of writing and look for patterns that continually occur,
  • Characterisation and Narrative Voice: the characterisation refers to the way a writer creates a new character and makes them believable. When reading a piece of writing it is essential to think about how the character interacts with the other characters since this could suggest some vital details about the theme or ideas in the text. Contrasts and contradictions between characters make the writing more interesting. Next pupils discern the narrative voice used in the novel or short story. The most frequently used narrative voices in fiction include the first person, second person, third person and third person omniscient,
  • Language and Structure: the language used in distinct texts refer to the words and phrases. While, on the other hand, the structure is the order of ideas in a piece of writing. Readers can look for the language used in prose fiction such as literary devices, language techniques and types of words like adjectives, nouns and verbs. Repetition, connectives, sentence types, sentence length, paragraph length and change of tense are all structural devices that can be observed in fiction texts,
  • Annotating Texts: refers to the moment you add notes or comments to the literary text you are examining. It is essential to focus on specific points instead of over-annotating the text. Some suggestions to follow include using abbreviations for longer words, use marks that you will later understand and notes should be legible,
  • Responding to a Fiction Text: readers are expected to focus on a particular area of the text when responding to a fiction text. Exam questions about responding to a fiction text may include characters, narrative voice, themes and ideas, language or structure. Pupils may review previous exam questions to fully understand what they will be asked on an official examination.

All of the above sections aid students in reviewing fiction texts for pleasure or for the specific purpose of succeeding on an examination.

Analysing Non-Fiction Texts

Non-fiction texts tell the truth in a variety of ways. They are the opposite of fiction and can be found in the following examples:

  • Biography: writing that is based on someone’s life. If the person of interest writes their own stories, it becomes an autobiography. A memoir can be about famous individuals or normal people with extraordinary stories,
  • Letter: intended for many audiences and has various purposes such as to keep in touch with friends and family, express disappointment or provide information. Open letters are not meant for an individual; rather they are intended for a broader audience and are published in newspapers,
  • Blogs: entirely personal, language is creative, and tone can either be formal or informal. Blogs express the opinions of the author and respond to current events rapidly since blog articles are published quite often.

When analysing a non-fiction text, readers should remember the following acronym:

  • T = Text Type: an author may write a text type with the purpose of entertaining, persuading, advising, analysing, arguing, describing or explaining,
  • A = Audience: the best writers constantly keep their kind of audience in mind to affect the reader. Experienced auteurs know how to tailor their writing to an audience by adapting language, style, layout and organisation,
  • P = Purpose: to correctly identify the purpose of a text, students can look at the content, tone, structure and its language to determine if it’s formal or informal. Books can be compared from different periods to identify the purpose of the text and to instruct students how to summarise and synthesise.

Pupils are also expected to examine speeches, poems and open letters to analyse the use of language that was utilised to deliver the desired message. Commonly used language features may include nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, pronouns and prepositions.

It is also important to note that literary devices such as simile, metaphor, personification and hyperbole are used in non-fiction texts even by the least experienced writers.

The structure is different from language and refers to how the text fits together. Non-fiction texts can be structured in a variety of ways such as chronologically, separated into blocks by subheadings, question and answer or letter format.

When finishing the analysing non-fiction texts section, there is a response that needs to be done to test the overall understanding of pupils. The concepts of analysing an extract, annotating, understanding the question, structuring a longer answer and using quotations and close analysis are necessary to grasp to ensure success.

Comparing Texts

Part of the GCSE English Language requires students to analyze texts. English literature can be compared in the following three methods:

  • Comparing by Purpose and Form: the form is the type of writing and well-known examples include an article, a blog, a letter, a diary or a newspaper. The purpose of the writer depends on what he wishes to achieve. It is essential to keep in mind when analysing texts what is similar and what is different about them. By asking pointed questions, students can accurately compare texts by purpose and form,
  • Comparing a Writer’s Method: all seasoned authors use different methods to achieve their overall goal. Focusing on a writer’s use of tone, language and structure is extremely practical when comparing works of writing. Pupils studying the English Language GCSE subject are required to complete an assignment of comparing two texts and pointing out the differences and similarities from different periods and literary genres,
  • Comparing Literary Non-Fiction with Non-Fiction: non-fiction and literary non-fiction texts are quite similar and are often compared. Students carefully review the texts to focus on the writer’s viewpoint, perspective, attitude and ideas.

To effectively compare texts, students plan their ideas using graphic organisers such as a spider diagram, tables and Venn diagrams. Before settling on the first graphic organiser that comes across your path, it is highly recommended to try a few options to determine the one that best suits your needs.

Writing Fiction and Non-Fiction

becoming a better writer Writing does not come naturally to all. However, learning more about writing by following a familiar pattern will ensure success. (Source: pixabay)

The love of reading and writing is not a gift everyone possesses. Nevertheless, with extensive instruction and helpful advice from the writing topic of the English Language GCSE, all pupils can pen something remarkable.

Before writing a work of fiction or non-fiction, students need to firmly understand who their audience is, what their purpose is and what their form is. After the audience, purpose and form have been decided, students can make logical choices about language, tone and structure.

Fiction

Writing fiction allows the imagination of pupils to run free and create some beautiful. Noteworthy examples of fiction include poetry, plays, novels and short stories.

Pupils learn from the best writers who know that an engaging opening will capture the attention of any reader skimming through the pages of a short story or novel.

The five-stage story arc of fiction includes an exposition, rising action, climax or turning point, falling action and resolution. In addition to following the formula of the five-stage story arc, pupils include a convincing close that leaves readers feeling satisfied.

Students also acquire knowledge about when it is necessary to start a new paragraph. A change of time, place, topic and the dialogue of a different person, requires the start of a new section.

Non-Fiction

Literary works of non-fiction deal with facts and real-world events. Students reviewing this section of the GCSE English Language curriculum are confronted with helpful advice on writing attractive non-fiction texts such as speeches, letters and articles.

According to the content and suggestions from the curriculum, speeches should have an opening that captures the attention of listeners, a well-organised argument with several main points and a memorable conclusion that leaves the audience wanting more.

Letters should be written using a useful structure in which the first paragraph outlines the overall aim of the letter, and the concluding paragraph summarises the main points that were discussed throughout the letter.

Articles should be approximately 800-2000 words in length and offer a balanced view of a subject that is not too slanted or biased. Travelling, sports, history, music and famous figures are all typical subjects include in articles. The structure of a column always has a beginning, a middle and an end.

Before writing a non-fiction text, it is vital to decide upon a planning method to organise thoughts and to include critical details. There have been many planning methods developed for all learning styles such as mind maps, bullet points, flow charts and tables.

Planning methods aid novice writers to fabricate texts that are straightforward and easy to read. When writing a well-organised literary work, paragraphs should logically follow each other and include linking words such as besides, furthermore, likewise, on the other hand, in summary, and overall.

Students analysing this section are also instructed about the importance of using descriptive and persuasive language effectively and the necessity of using precise verbs and lively words as part of a rich vocabulary.

Spoken Language

speeches are intimidating Presenting a speech in front of a large audience can be very intimidating. Using appropriate body language can show those watching that you are confident and know what a lot about the subject you are discussing. (Source: pixabay)

The spoken language topic of the GCSE English Language qualification aids students in becoming better listeners and speakers. The course material is designed to improve face-to-face communication among youngsters.

Distinguishing the audience and purpose while speaking creates meaningful conversations and influences the student’s speech to be more exciting and convincing. Asking questions about your oral presentation before presenting will improve effectiveness.

During classroom discussions, students are taught to express their opinions and build on their classmates’ conversations by listening, and all of this creates a judgement-free zone where intellectual exchanges can be experienced.

It is important to remember that Standard English is recommended for use and highly appreciated by educators during classroom conversations. 

Students acquire essential knowledge about how body language plays a fundamental part in our day-to-day communication with other individuals. Eye contact, posture and gestures can speak volumes to an audience and, if used well, can improve the overall message of a speech or classroom presentation.

While presenting a presentation in front of a group of people, it is important to remember that meaning of the words we speak is affected by the way we use our voice. The tone, pitch & volume and enunciation modify the impact of our words and are necessary to become a seasoned speaker.

Pupils are expected to demonstrate an individual researched presentation in front of their teacher, who will be grading, and fellow peers. The performance is challenging for students since it requires strenuous preparation and in-depth research about a particular topic.

All of the necessary information from the topics of the GCSE English Language syllabus that was briefly discussed prepare students for future examinations that will bring them one step closer to their secondary education diploma and offer valuable instruction to possess a solid base of the English language.

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