Directed Writing, Assignment-writing and vocabulary

The two writing elements at Higher

There are two writing items which, combined, make up 40 marks, 25% of your final Higher Gaelic (Learners) mark:

  • Reading and Directed Writing: (Exam Question Paper 1)
  • Assignment-writing: (Coursework Writing task).

You need to use detailed and complex language in both.

This guide covers:

  • what is Directed Writing?
  • What is Assignment-writing?
  • Structures, tenses and verbs to help your writing.

Let's deal with Directed Writing first.

What is Directed Writing?

This is the writing exercise you will complete in Paper 1 of the final exam. It carries 20 marks.

You will cover Directed Writing in the same question paper as you do Reading. The two elements together come to two hours, so try and split the time evenly.


Directed Writing will be based on the two contexts not covered by the Reading and the Listening papers. So if, for example, Reading is about Employability and Listening is about Society, then you will have two stimuli - one about Culture and the other about Learning.


Directed Writing is marked out of 20, and you can achieve one of six marks:

  • 20/20
  • 16/20
  • 12/20
  • 8/20
  • 4/20 or
  • 0/20

Tips to help you with Directed Writing

Read through these notes to help you master the skills required for the Directed Writing paper.

The Scenarios

You will have to choose one of two scenarios. These will give you a scenario as a stimulus that you have to write about and six bullet points that you must address, along with any other information that you think is appropriate to the scenario.

The Bullet points

  • There will be six bullet points.
  • The first bullet point is always combined and will ask for two pieces of information, eg where and when you went somewhere. You need to answer both parts of it.
  • The other five only ask for one piece of information.
  • All six bullet points are 'unpredictable' - if you remember National 5, the first four were predictable.

Use the stimulus in the scenario to guide your response. It isn't in Gaelic like it was at National 5, so this makes it more challenging, but use it. Look at the verbs used in the bullet points.

The suggested word limit is 150-180 words.

Answer the bullet points

Make sure you answer all the bullet points. If you don't address one bullet point, the maximum mark you can get is 16 out of 20, no matter how good the rest is. If you don't address two bullet points, the maximum mark you can get is 12 out of 20. If you don't address three bullet points the mark will be zero.

A nice tip is to write in bullet points yourself. This lets both you and the marker see where you have covered the content.

A good thing to try is to make sure you have at least two sentences per bullet point. You will see example bullet points in the Writing Revision Guides.

Proofreading is key

Re-read what you have. Does it sound right?