WJEC Section B: How To Answer

Section B Task: WJEC Creative Writing

This is taken from an exam paper, word for word.

SECTION B: 40 marks

In this section you will be assessed for the quality of your creative prose writing skills. 24 marks are awarded for communication and organization; 16 marks are awarded for vocabulary, sentence structure, spelling and punctuation. You should aim to write about 450-600 words.

Choose one of the following titles for your writing: [40] Either,

(a) Making a Difference.

(b) The Choice.

(c) Write about a time when you were at a children’s party.

(d) Write a story which begins: I didn’t know if I had the courage to do this …

Planning

Which do you choose? Which is the easiest? How do you plan for such as this?

Well, all of them are equally as good to write about but depending on who you are, there will be almost likely, obvious choice. It will all depend on experience. Now if you are 16 years old or younger, then a story about you making a difference may not be easily remembered, unless you have saved a life, or done something great, like helping an old lady out etc. If you have led the quiet life, doing this one may prove awkward, to plan and to write. Likewise, if you are an adult student looking at this, then you may have the experience required to write that one successfully. It is just telling what happened after all.

Likewise, the one about the choice may be difficult for the Y10 or Y11 student unless there is something in the background or they are especially able to dream something up on the spot. After all folks, this does not have to be true you know. It can be, and sometimes, needs to be made up, from the heart, or mind, so as to be special in the exam. Note please, that there is one simple rule in any exam, assessment or test and that is this: It is your chance to show off to the examiner. Time to brag about how good you really are. Time to brag about your skills [and those of your teacher too – we need the praise. Sad I know]. So, a choice can be about choosing between right and wrong, or doing something or not, or simply a choice about liking or loving someone; some people choose their partners in life in strange ways, so make it an odd, almost ‘different’ story. Make it up and show ff those skills.

Then there is the time where you have been at a children’s party. I know, boring! But, if you add a twist into it, then you get something totally unexpected and different. Imagine, for a minute, the children’s party being in a YOI, or Young Offenders’ Institute [Prison if you like]. Now, that would be different to say the least. The description of persons there, of the surroundings and the guards, could be as grim a picture as you are likely to paint in a story and would be interesting indeed. Do not forget, your exam marker usually marks 300 scripts at a time, so yours might be number 237 in the pile and by that time, he is off his head on caffeine, so he is feeling decidedly sleepy until he sees your answer to this one and then, bang, he is wide awake!

As Captain Picard from Star Trek might say, “Make it so!”

But for me, perhaps the best one for a Y10-11 is the last one and this is why the exam boards add these, for teachers can teach the skills required to write such a thing. But, and it is a big but, there is an issue with planning this. You could write the first line of “I didn’t know if I had the courage to do this” and then continue writing, but the chances are that after about 100 words, you might run out of ideas and stop. If you left it at that you would get a G grade or maybe an F for that, simply because of lack of effort.

Now you may think there that you have really tried and for some, 100 words is a lot, but the task asks for between 450 and 600 words. 2 sides of an A4 page, maybe 3 in an exam booklet. So, planning is key here and you need to do it using the Power Of Y [see video on website here] and plan at least 6 things to write about. If you write half a page for each one, that would be three pages. Then begin.

So, if it was me, it would look something like this…

(d) Write a story which begins: I didn’t know if I had the courage to do this …

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There are twelve things there that I could write about and it is not even my story. It is my wife’s.

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She went on a tandem jump with a fella called Wes once to raise money for Help For Heroes, a British charity that helps the British Armed Forces personnel when they come home injured physically or mentally. As soon as she hit the ground she said, “Can we do that again please?” She was elated!

From this plan, I would need to then number each section, so number 1 would be the first thing to write about, the idea of a tandem jump, as frightening as that is. So, I didn’t know if I had the courage to do this; to take part in a 15,000 metre skydive, attached to a former Paratrooper. Now that gets the attention of the reader if nothing does.

Then, with everything numbered, after you have finished writing in extreme detail, you simply put a line through the one you have finished till you get all twelve completed. Believe me, you would be pressed for time and writing like you have never written before. If you have hand cramp at the end, the chances are that you will do better than if it is the opposite sensation.

But above all, what you need to remember, as stated earlier, is that this is a chance for you to show off. Begin with the statement, if it was the one above and end with it too, so the whole thing is completely rounded, circular in shape and then you cannot lose marks for lack of structure.

Take note how many marks, out of the 40, are for SPAG, or spelling, punctuation and grammar [the correct word choices].

Go on. Have a go at any one of these four now, for practice.

Enjoy!

RJ

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