English Language GCSE: Creative Writing in an Exam

Storyteller Sophia Thakur and performance poet Solomon O.B. sit a mock English language GSCE exam to demonstrate approaches to creative writing tasks.

Under exam conditions, Sophia and Solomon attempt a writing task.

They explain to students how to use thinking time to allow for creativity when it comes to story writing, and explain that planning is key at the start of an exam.

Sophia and Solomon read out and discuss their opening paragraphs with each other.

They move onto structure and examine techniques such as the zooming in, to explain to students how they might set out their stories.

Sophia and Solomon explain what similes, metaphors, personification and onomatopoeia are and apply these to the pieces that they have written during their exam experience.

At the end of the film Sophia and Solomon explain to students that they must check their grammar and spelling carefully and recommend that they give themselves plenty of time to read over their work both for clarity, accuracy and to make sure they haven’t missed anything.

This short film is from the BBC series, GCSE English Language.

Teacher Notes

Before watching

First, show your students the exam question used in the film and ask them to work in pairs to come up with ideas about how they might approach this question in an exam.

Encourage them to work individually to plan an answer using a mind-map, bullet points or other technique.

During viewing

  • Watch the film together and see how students’ ideas compare with those of the professional writers.

Suggestions of Pause Points

Pause point: 0:53

  • How would you approach this task? Which question would you choose? What would you do first?

Pause point: 02:52

  • What do you think is effective about this writing? What is working well? What would you do to improve it?

Pause point: 03:36

  • Try out this zoom technique in your own writing.

Pause point: 04:16

  • What do you like about this final sentence? How effective is it as an ending?

Pause point: 05:18

  • Which other examples of onomatopoeia can you think of?

Pause point: 05:41

  • What technique is used here?

Next steps

At the end of the film, ask students to make a 'how to' guide for their writing exam.

This short film should also help students think about the sorts of questions they may be asked during their exam.

They could invent potential questions of their own and challenge each other to respond to these new tasks.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching English language at GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4 and 5 in Scotland.

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