National 5 English
Argh! Be
Course Outline
•Skills based course – everything you do between now
and May is to help you prepare for the exam/portfolio.
•Very demanding, fast-paced course. An extensive
amount of homework/study/revision will be necessary to
keep up.
• You will study, in depth, at least 9 texts.
• You will also work on different genres of writing (short stories,
personal/reflective, persuasive etc.) as well as focusing on developing
Textual Analysis/Close Reading Skills.
• You will produce solo and group presentations.
• You are also responsible for taking notes and ensuring these are
organised, detailed and clear.
Course Content
Throughout the year you will study a range of fiction (poetry, drama, prose)
and non-fiction as well as integrated units on key topics (e.g. Myths and
You will also study 6 Scottish poems which you must analyse and evaluate
in depth. This is a compulsory section of the Critical Reading exam paper.
You will also work on building your close reading and critical essay skills.
These will be integrated with the texts/topics studied and will also make up
the final exam.
There will be frequent homework throughout the year to help cover the key
texts/topics/skills required for the Portfolio and exam. Think about how
many texts you covered in S3 (3 or 4?); we will cover a minimum of 9 to
prepare you for the exam.
Internal Assessments
Evidence will be generated across the units in the course:
•One reading and talking assessment
•One listening and writing assessment
•One Literacy assessment
External Assessment – Final Exam
Paper 1:Reading for Analysis and Evaluation
•Close Reading of Non-Fiction
•1 hour
•30 marks (30% of final grade)
Paper 2:Critical Reading
•1 hour and 30 minutes
•40 marks (40% of final grade)
Section 1
Critical essay (on prose, drama or media)
Section 2
Textual Analysis of Scottish set texts (poetry)
Sample Questions
(Paper 1: Reading for Analysis and Evaluation)
1 hour/ 30 marks
1. “Fame conveys the illusion of intimacy.” In your own words, explain
how examples the writer gives in the first paragraph illustrate this idea. 3
2. Explain how the writer’s word choice in lines 19-22 helps to show the
negative effects of fame.
3. Choose one of the rhetorical questions in paragraph 11 and discuss its
4. Referring to the whole article, in your own words list the key points the
writer makes about the nature of fame.
Paper 2 Critical Reading : Section 1:
45 mins to answer on one question (not poetry) (20 marks)
Choose a play which you feel has a turning-point.
Describe briefly what happens at this turning point and then, by referring to
appropriate techniques, go on to explain how it makes an impact on the
play as a whole.
Choose a novel or short story or a work of non-fiction which explores an
important theme.
By referring to appropriate techniques show how the author has explored
this theme.
Choose a film or TV drama which belongs to a particular genre (e.g. crime,
adventure, thriller…)
By referring to appropriate techniques, explain how the film or television
makers have used features of the genre effectively.
Section 2 of Critical Reading Paper
(Textual Analysis of Poetry Set Texts)
45 mins (20 marks)
Show how two examples of the poet’s use of language in stanza one help
to clarify or illustrate her/his meaning.
With close textual evidence, show how the ideas and/or language of this
poem are similar or different to another poem which you have read.
External Assessment – Portfolio
Two writing pieces to be submitted before final exam (usually the deadline
is set for February/March time)
•1 x Creative (short story, personal/reflective etc.)
•1 x Discursive (persuasive, transactional etc.)
Maximum of 1000 words per piece
15 marks per piece (30% of final grade)
Assessment Summary
External Assessment
Close Reading (30%)
Critical Essay (20%)
Textual Analysis (20%)
Writing Portfolio (30%)
• Constant supply of pens – lots of writing, notemaking.
• Highlighters
• Memory stick.
• Access to Glow
•The homework set is to ensure we complete the work
needed for the exam and the Portfolio; as there is so much
to get through, you will have to complete homework
assignments to build up your skills in all areas of the
•This consists mainly of: reading, annotating/analysing
texts, revision, talk preparation, research, newspaper work,
close reading practise and critical essays.
•You will receive strict homework deadlines – it is essential
to hand this work in on the due date as this will be key
work/preparation for the exam/portfolio.
To help me get to know you and your ability, I want you to write (at
least 1.5 pages) on your experience of English, so far, and what
you hope to achieve in National 5.
This should convey fully and expressively your views and
personality as well as your skills as a writer.
This is to be done in essay format and should include the
•Reflections of BGE S1-3 English – what did you enjoy,
dislike, what did you feel comfortable with, what did you find
most challenging, what were you most proud of etc. Explain
points in as much detail as you can. Use humour, imagery,
hyperbole etc.
•Full explanation/analysis of what type a learner you are
and what methods work best for you (group work, visual
aids, etc.)
•Analysis of your reading habits – how often? What? Why?
Last book you read for pleasure?
•Fully explain what you expect from the National 5 course,
what do you hope to achieve, what are you looking forward
to most, what are your concerns?
Exemplar introductions
Dashed Dreams and Despair
That fateful day in June 2013, I skipped eagerly along the
English corridor full of elation, excitement and enthusiasm for
the journey that lay ahead of me. Yes, I knew there would be
hard-work; yes, I knew there would be stress; and yes, I knew
at the end of it all, there would be that terrifying five letter
word: EXAMS; yet, I was so enamoured of everything English
could offer, that nothing, and I mean nothing, could alter my
When I finally, and reverently, approached the hallowed door
of Y10, I pondered happily on the world of promise, intrigue
and discovery that lay awaiting me, but, little did I know then
of the confusion, misery and heartbreak that would pounce
behind that innocuous door I had, for so long, stood and
The Highway to Hell!
With S3 a dim and distant memory, I strode along the corridor ready
to embark on the voyage that was National 5 English. Rather
dreamily, I mused on the idea that the bright corridor was just like my
‘yellow brick road’ and how Y10 would become the Emerald City
where I might discover my strengths and unlock my potential. Did
that make Miss Ross the Wizard of Oz or the Wicked Witch of the
Before I could dwell on this for too long, the words of my fellow
classmates, and travellers, sucked me out of my thoughts. Rumours
about how difficult the course was began to filter through, quickly
escalating into a frenzy of worries: the relentless pace, the
demanding workload and the incomprehensible leap from S3 Grade
was just the start! I had always been an organised person and took
deadlines in my stride but what if this was a step too far? My pace
slowed. My heartbeat quickened. But before I could pull myself
together, the daunting door of Y10 loomed over me and I realised
that this was it. I was standing on the edge of the abyss...

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