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Posted by IndieErin (U15497393) on Saturday, 10th November 2012
Hi my 3 english prelims are on wednesday and i was wondering if you had any advice
Posted by bitesize_english_teacher (U15197928) on Tuesday, 13th November 2012
There's good advice on each section of the Standard Grade and Higher paper on the Bitesize site.
Here a few last minute tips:
(1) In the exam, ensure you watch your time and try to leave a minimum of five minutes to proof-read what you've written at the end. Poor expression, spelling and especially PUNCTUATION are all taken into account in the Writing paper at Standard Grade and in the Higher / Int 2 critical essay paper.
(2) Above all, avoid the most common error, the 'comma splice', where two sentences are merged together with a comma instead of a full stop. This error seems to occur particularly with the word 'this' as in the following example:
We arrived too late, this was a great disappointment.
You must EITHER put a full stop:
We arrived too late. This was a great disappointment.
OR use a linking word:
We arrived too late which was a great disappointment.
(3) When writing a short story or reflective piece, concentrate on the thoughts and feelings of your characters rather than on actions. It is much better to have a simple plot with few events and to concentrate on the feelings and reactions of the characters while the events are happening. Remember: CHARACTER IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PLOT.
(4) Use a variety of sentence lengths to vary the pace of the story. The occasional short sentence is dramatic if it provides a contrast. If you write the whole story in short sentences, you will lose the effect.
(5) In Close Reading papers, look at the number of marks given: two marks mean more has to be said than for one mark. Answer IN YOUR OWN WORDS where this is required. If you are stuck and you cannot think of another word that means the same as the given word, try thinking of the opposite and build your answer around that. For example, If you are asked to explain in your own words that someone was poor, and you cannot think of a way to do this, say 'he was not rich'.
(6) Revise your list of technical terms (metaphor, simile, alliteration, etc) as you should use these in answers which ask you to 'comment on the language/style/sentence structure, etc'. I recently posted a checklist of these: scroll back on the Message Board to find this list.
(7) If you are writing Higher critical essays, remember to structure your answer around the QUESTION. Words of the question should be picked up in the introductory paragraph and in a topic sentence at the start of each paragraph.
The rest of each paragraph should expand the topic sentence by detailed reference to the text (i.e. quotations and comments). Ensure that each point relates back to the theme of the question.