Saturday, May 12, 2007

Exams, exams, exams

The exams are approaching, but I’m not going to do loads of revision posts as in years before: not because I can’t be bothered, but because you can just click on the links to the other posts here and the advice remains the same.

Here are some little extra bits that might help you though, along with my top tips with what I think could appear (last year I was completely wrong about these, so whatever…):


Remember that question 1 is all about a mix of engaging with what the text is all about and how it represents its subject (be that a person being described like the Shaun Wallace text last year, a person being interviewed like the Peter Fox text of 2005, or a job/idea/product) and labelling word classes. We’ve done nearly all we can on this in class, so what you can now do yourselves is practise past papers (available as hard copies in the LRC, or via the AQA website linked off the side bar) and make a point of reading a few broadsheet style articles. You can revise word classes by using the Internet Grammar of English site here. But remember, you mustn’t go too far with grammar on this unit: you don’t need to cover clauses or sentence types (simple, compound, complex), but you must look for sentence functions, tense & aspect, active/passive voice and those lovely word classes.

My top tip for the type of text this time is a piece of instructional or advice writing. If I’m right I will award myself a packet of Haribos.

The essay questions should be very familiar to you by now, but remember to use the feedback sheets I’ve done for you and which are available on the w drive in college or from Teachit as pdfs here and here. Also, there is loads of stuff about CLA available from the ENA1 revision tips post last year, while for Language & Representation, I like this site. I also like this site, but that’s another story…


All the advice I can give on this comes from Beth Kemp’s rather splendid A Level site here so just go here and visit it.

All I’d add is that we’ve covered Deborah Cameron’s recent material on social constructionist theories of male female conversation for a reason, so make sure you use it, if you can find room for it in the gender essay question.

My top tip for the type of transcript this time is an extract of someone telling a story and the listeners’ interaction with the storyteller. If I’m right I will award myself another packet of Haribos. And a bottle of wine.


Once again, we’ve done loads on this in class and you have a mini-text analysis along with a copy of the mark scheme to help you revise. You’ve done 5-6 textual analysis past papers since November (more if you’re Angelica, Sherelle or Romaine!) but there are a couple more in the LRC that you might not have done. My tips for revising this are to use the brilliant British Library Texts in Context site here to take a tour of writing 1600 – 1945 and sample various genres such as recipes and travel writing, before looking at this bit of the site for a wider view on language change and the BBC Voices site for more on varieties and change.

For the essay questions, Raj has given you powerpoints on how to write essays on Varieties and I’ve done the same for Change. Check the w drive next week and we’ll make sure we’ve saved them all there for you.

My top tip for the type of text in the texts from different times is an example of a recipe. If I’m right I will award myself another packet of Haribos. And another bottle of wine. Hic!


The daddy of all exam papers and one that should suit the creative writers of you out there (hello Kwame) as well as the analysis heads too (bonjour Evelyn, Delphine and Joss).

We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the individual questions but maybe not quite as much time as I would have liked on actually writing the 2a answers, so there’s your top tip – do some writing for different audiences. My advice to some of you has been to use the blog and particularly the links to broadsheet articles about language issues such as attitudes to change, punctuation and accents, and to get hold of e magazine from the LRC (or the e mag website – see me to get the password). Look at the ways in which sometimes rather dry language topics can be injected with a bit of humour and accessibility.

My top tip for the topic on this paper this year is a hedged bet: either it’ll be language change and attitudes to it (prescriptivist/descriptivist debates) or recent accents and dialects (MEYD/MLE etc.). If I’m right I will award myself yet another packet of Haribos. And another bottle of wine. And a spell in rehab.

Good luck, anyway. Please post comments to the blog if you want help. I’m happy to take emails but it might be more useful to all students if you post any ideas, worries or questions here so everyone can chip in.

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