One of the things that lets students down is their writing. They can have all the brilliant ideas but when they pen it and put it down on paper, mistakes come in plentiful supply and wallop, a huge set of points is lost and those points can be the difference between an A and a B, or a C and a D.
This is what AQA ask you to do in anything you write. Let’s look at them one by one.
1. • Write to communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, using and adapting forms and selecting vocabulary appropriate to task and purpose in ways that engage the reader.
Clear communication. Hmmm, clear and consistent gets you into the C band. Effectively and imaginatively gets you the B and engagement with the reader gets you the A and the A*. If you are not sure what I mean, ask yourself a question about the last good book you read. Why could you not put it down? Appropriate vocabulary simply means the right words for the right occasions, but the more adventurous words get the higher marks. Every teacher I know hates the word “NICE” when you can use “wonderful” or “fantastically superb” to describe something.
2. • Organise information and ideas into structured and sequenced sentences, paragraphs and whole texts, using a variety of linguistic and structural features to support cohesion and overall coherence.
This one is where the C/D brigade [you know who you are] let themselves down. Think for a moment about paragraphing. When hand writing something, miss no lines and indent each paragraph [see earlier post on here] so that there is uniformity. Neatness is rewarded by the examiner. Think of your day yesterday. You got up and had breakfast. You then went to school or college. You then went home. And so on. If you was to write about your typical day, the start of each paragraph would depend on the new thing happening. New paragraphs always start because of a change in time or subject matter. This brings “coherence,” or a clearness to your writing and makes it of a higher grade. With the right kinds of sentences all mixed in well, expect an A*.
3. • Use a range of sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate punctuation and spelling.
What does a “range of sentence structures” mean? It is simple. A story might begin with a very short sentence. One I read began with “This was the end.” Post modern nonsense I know, but then the sentences got longer and shorter and varied, before returning to a short one for dramatic effect. Your writing, even when analysing a poem or play or prose, has to do the same thing. If it does and it is accurately written, then it will get the A*. If you are not sure what I mean, pick up Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and read Stave 2 especially looking at how the food; the fruits and the vegetables in the shops are described. Utterly fantastic read! Mesmerizing. By the time I had read it 5 times with 5 different classes one of my pupils asked me “Sir, how many times have you read this?” He was asking because I was hardly looking at the page any more. I knew it by heart. I loved that book when I was teaching High School.
The last line there is so important. Accurate spelling and punctuation. LEARN how to use semi colons and colons. Learn how to spell those simple words [you know the hard ones funnily enough] and get things right. Check out all the HOMOPHONES you can. Get the WRITE/RIGHT and the THERE/THEIR/THEY’RE spot on. If you can master those then you will do well in June.
God bless you all.