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The last Exam question a week post- AQA

You are now 6 weeks away from your exam - have completed your Controlled Assessments and three mock exams and you now are fine tuning your skills for the main event.

Hopefully you've looked at any disappointing results as positives and worked out where you went wrong and how to put things right.

At this point I can point you to this post  on marginal gains and remind you that an improvement of one mark per question is an improvement of a grade when you add these together.

The last post has the questions you should attempt and some tips no mistakes I have seen from your mock exams.

First of all here are your sources:

Source 1 - Kenya To Deploy Drones in All National Parks

Source 2  - Google Glasses

Source 3 - The Toughest Expedition of my Life

Question 1 - What do you understand about the issue of Poaching in Kenya's National Parks? (Source 1)

This question is gradually improving. Remember 3-4 quotations with inferences linked to the key words in the question.

Key Mistake from Mock - Inferences should be in your own words not repeating the words from the text and for the sophisticated band your inference should make a connection that is not expressly written in the text.

Question 2 - Explain how the Headline, the sub-headline and the picture are effective and how they link to the text. (Source 2)

You need to anlayse one or two features of the Headline and the picture. Each point your make should have a specific link to a quotation from the text.

Key Mistake from the Mock - Not linking your analysis to specific quotations from the main text and jumping straight to colour in the picture. Remember only use colour if it is a clear choice of the article - don't forget scale is also important.

Question 3 - Explain some of the thoughts and feelings of the writer about his Atlantic rowing adventure.

3-4 Quotations needed here. Link your inferences to thoughts and feelings.

Key Mistake from the Mock - Not covering thoughts and inferences simply re-stating what is in the text. Sophisticated tip - if your quotation has a device in it, mention it!

Question 4 - Compare some of the ways the writers use language for effect. (Source three and either Source 1 or Source 2).

This question has seen the biggest improvement. Remember you need 3-4 quotations from each text analysed focusing on effect and evaluated for the top band.

Key Mistake from the Mock - The device is not important the effect is. Don't technique spot, tell the examiner what the language suggests. Sophisticated Band tip - Only focus on individual words; you don't have to write down lengthy quotations.

Question 5 - Describe an experience where you had to show mental toughness and explain how you overcame it for an online teen blog.

5 - 6 paragraphs needed here. Remember your variety hand to ensure you include all the relevant details of writing.

Key Mistake from the Mock - Remember your purpose(s). Your writing needs to be decriptive, informative , explanatory or a combination of purposes. Tick each purpose in the question as you meet it.

Question 6 - 'If we continue to take nature for granted, we will soon be the only living organisms left on the planet'.

Argue for or against prioritising nature for a newspaper article.

Here you need 7-8 paragraphs. Remember your variety hand to ensure you include all the relevant details of writing.

Key Mistake from Mock - Not showing balance in your argument. Even if it asks you to argue for or against, the purpose of Argue means you still need to show balance.

Remember your exam questions are due in every Wednesday.

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7 May 2014 at 17:56

I am going to do your questions later, before the mock, but I have made up my own Question 5, and was hoping if you could take a look at it?

Hi everyone,

Sorry I haven’t blogged recently – I have experienced my epiphany about the reality of the minuscule time I have until my exams, and I am trying to cope with this predicament; the pressure is really starting to incline to its climax, which I am not too sure will be the climax that I hope for…

Today, however, I won’t be solemnly speaking to you about my exams; instead, I will be telling you all about myself: the young, cute and hard-working ‘boy’ that blogs every so often. That’s me, right?


Light blue eyes, like the soft, indulging waves of the oceans, topped up by my – sometimes annoying – curly, brown hair, almost chestnut. Like jewels that slice light, my physiology is sharp, allowing me to swing my arms frantically at the frenzied laughs that I often wail, which my friends say “allow me to have an exuberance within the realms of my personality”.

Of course, you want an example of this enthusiasm: well, GCSE Drama really allows me to express my (slightly) inhumane nature: once, we were asked to devise a duologue on an issue of our choice, so I decided to create a duologue where we criticised animal captivity in zoos, though – ironically – the animals weren’t the crazy ones. We were! I played the role of a monkey, doing…

I don’t even know if it can be described!

Hopefully now, you know the reality that I am not merely the hard working ‘boy’ that you thought I was from my blogs. According to my teachers, I’m “extraordinary” and “wild”, while my friends describe me as “weird – but ‘in a good way’”.

That’s it really. Unfortunately now, I must return to the menacing world of books, revision guides and stress, but why don’t you tell me about yourself, so when I – albeit rarely – have the time to check the blog, I might be able to find a way to turn my stressful-frown upside-down.


7 May 2014 at 20:49

You've got some nice imagery and changes of tone in this piece. Your using a range of sophisticated vocabulary but not always in the appropriate context. Your use of 'incline' and 'inhumane' don't really make sense in the context of your writing.

That said, you match purpose of describe and explain (I presume this was your task??) and you have excellent variety in your structures, devices, paragraphs and punctuation.

I'd give this 9/10 for content and 5 / 6 for accuracy.

Well done.

8 May 2014 at 19:56

Thanks! How about this Question Four? (The sources are from a revision book)

Both of the writers convey a sense of the unknown, though while the unknown is presented as something that can be amazing in Source 3, it is presented as something that can have horrific consequences in Source 2. In Source 3, the writer successfully employs a simile, in which he compares the mountains to a "dark pyramid". The word "dark" brings in the connotations of mystery, while the juxtaposition between this mysterious mood and the idea of sensation, with "pyramid", suggests that it is the beauty of the mountains that is the mystery we fail to realise. This makes the reader realise how they have been obvious to the beauty of these "white" mountains.

Although Source 2 also conveys a sense of the unknown, it doesn't suggest that this leads to an oblivion of unknown beauty, instead, it conveys how we are obvious to the consequences of our actions. The word "intelligent" is used to describe the human species, making the reader feel proud, though its use in conjunction with the superlative "more" suggests that our intelligence is unable to recognise that these robots we are creating can become a whole other species - "more" powerful than us. Hence, through Source 2's superlative, it successfully conveys how humans can be obvious to consequences, contrasting Source 3's suggestion that we can be obvious of things that are good, like the beautiful mountains.

While both of the sources depict a sense of fascination, Source 2 uses facts to create this sense, unlike Source 3, in which the writer uses a semantic field of huge size. The words "long", "big" and "wide" create an image of majesty, reinforcing the mountain's beauty, making the reader feel amazing by the thought of them. Additionally, the writer combines this with his subtle use of sibilant 's' sounds, in "snow slope", which create an image of whispering, as if the writer feels that the mountains are his and their beauty is his secret.

Contrastingly, Source 2 uses a range of facts with high magnitudes to reinforce the brilliance of these robots. The "35 per cent" increase in demand, as well as the "9.8 million units" sold, makes the robots seem extraordinary, as if they represent the remarkable ability of mankind. Furthermore, the word "hunger" is used implicitly by the writer to conjure images of malnourishment and need, which one reader could interpret to represent how modern society need these robots. However, the writer really wanted to use this for another reason: another reader might feel slightly guilty at this image, as the direct comparison of our need for advanced technology with starving children is a subtle metaphor the writer uses to represent the greed isolated within modern society.

9 May 2014 at 17:36

Without really seeing the texts it is difficult to give marks. I would say that the skills you show would be top band but you could cement this with some evaluative comparison at the end of each paragraph.

1 June 2014 at 16:08

Hi Sir,

Please could you look at the past paper I did - I made up the past paper - and have attached the insert? I would really appreciate it.

Question paper with response:




Thank you so much for all of your help! I hope I am able to use all of your tips on Tuesday

1 June 2014 at 20:26

Question 1 - 7/8

You have enough material here but remember for all Reading sections to write in the third person to add sophistication to your expression.

Question 2 8/8

Strong Answer - Keep throwing in those evaluative phrases and links to the text to convince the examiner of the sophistication of your thought.

Question 3 - 5/8

Remember this tests inference as well as analysis so you perhaps have over-analysed here. The question covers Thoughts as well so ensure you mention these in your answer and add depth but ensure you move on to cover all content.

Question 4 14/16

Great content but remember to sue those evaluative phrases to show the highest level thinking skill.

Question 5 - 8/10 6/6

Your accurate enough with the more complex elements of the SPAG to gain full marks though there is the occasional mistake. Your writing is very formal but I'm not sure it has the 'flair' in the mark scheme for 9/10 marks. It's difficult to define but usually something to catch the attention in the opening. It can be anything really - some lovely ones I've seen have anecdotes or popular culture references.

Question 6 14/16 8/8

The accuracy is as above. This does have more of the 'flair' in the top band of the mark scheme. I like your use of cyclical structure and the development of your argument. The penultimate paragraph rambles slightly with the complexity of the structures your using. It might be more effective or punchy broken down but a good script.

70 - Great paper. You've done a huge amount of work for this exam. Your efforts will bring rewards no matter what happens with your result. Good luck for Tuesday - spend some time relaxing tomorrow and let me know what you get in the summer.

Mr Milne

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