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HIGHER PERSONAL / REFLECTIVE ESSAYS: WHAT ARE THE MARKERS LOOKING FOR?

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    Posted by bitesize_english_teacher (U15197928) on Thursday, 21st February 2013

    What is expected in a Higher personal/reflective piece of writing?

    The key point is THE MORE REFLECTION, THE BETTER.

    There will be some narrative as you will have to explain the experience first before you can reflect on it.

    SQA markers are looking for in-depth reflection. More detailed reflection on one incident is better than superficial reflections on several incidents.

    However, at Higher level a structure of (1) narrative of an experience followed by (2) reflection on it is too simple.

    In the best essays there will be so much reflection that it is difficult to separate it from the narrative.

    In a good reflective piece you should not simply describe or state your feelings but analyse them. For example, there should be questioning of motives, an examination of your feelings to see if these are genuine, or whether you are aware that at some point of the experience you were not being honest with yourself or with other people.

    Another key idea is DEVELOPMENT. How did you feel at the time? How did you feel later on? How do you feel now?

    Try to stand back and look at your feelings with a degree of detachment.

    In a top class personal/reflective essay, markers will be looking for a strong sense of mature reflection; the writer’s personality and individuality should permeate the ideas and use of language.

    In other words, could this essay only have been written by you? Or is it just a series of commonly held feelings that anyone who had undergone the same experience could have written?

    A bare pass essay, on the other hand, will have a limited sense of reflection and there will not be a very strong sense of the writer’s personality.

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