Reading Non-Fiction

Report
Higher Language exam grade boundaries
Out of 80
(40 marks section A & 40 marks section B)
Grade
A*
61 – 80
A
55 – 60
B
49 – 54
C
44 – 48
D
39 - 43
E
-
F
-
G
-
Higher
READING NON-FICTION
Reading Non-Fiction
This paper is about testing your understanding of 3
non-fiction (not story) texts.
There are 4 questions that will always be in the same
order.
Question 4 (the double mark question) is always
where pupils fall down – so work hard on that one.
Question One
This question is all about trying to show that you
understand the article.
My advice is to spend 15 minutes on this question; that
involves reading, highlighting evidence AND
answering the question.
STEP ONE: Read source one & highlight about 6 points.
STEP TWO: Write.
Question One
How to structure your answers (bits in red are from mark scheme):

Give the first of the writer’s points in your own words, embedding a piece of
‘evidence’, e.g. We learn that the tribe grow ‘maize, sweet potato’ as well as
‘cotton’.

Show that you understand ‘less obvious detail’, e.g. This shows that they
are self-sufficient.

Make ‘connections’ & ‘interpret the text’, e.g. Therefore they don’t require
‘contact’ with the outside world.

Go on to your next point. To get into that top band you need to show that
you ‘fully’ understand the text so refer to all parts of the article not just one
bit! But don’t forget that you only have 15 minutes in total!
Question Two
This question is about showing you understand how
the headline and picture are used.
Again, my advice is to spend 15 minutes on this
question; that involves reading, highlighting evidence
AND answering the question.
STEP ONE: Read source two & highlight evidence in
the article that links to the headline and the picture.
STEP TWO: Write.
Question Two
How to structure your answers (bits in red are from mark scheme):

‘Detailed ‘ P.E.E. of the presentational features used in the headline (e.g. bold,
colour, etc. – read the ‘Presentational Devices’ document that’s on the English blog ).
Plus, discuss the use of language, embedding ‘evidence’ when you do so, e.g. The
use of an exclamation mark after the word ‘Slimezilla’ emphasises the word and makes
the reader pause which adds to the dramatic effect. Furthermore, the word itself
suggests that the article will be about some sort of disgusting slimy monster, which
intrigues the reader.

‘Link’ to the article, e.g. This turns out to be a “huge jellyfish”.

‘Detailed ‘ P.E.E. of the picture and its connotations; remind yourself of camera
shots - PPT is on the English blog, e.g. A long shot of a diver alongside the jellyfish
allows the reader to actually see its enormous size.

‘Link’ to the article, e.g. This reinforces the article’s assertion that it’s “6ft wide, up to
200kg in weight”.
Question Three
This question is about showing you understand the
thoughts and feelings of an individual or individuals.
Once again, my advice is to spend 15 minutes on this
question; that involves reading, highlighting evidence AND
answering the question.
STEP ONE: Read source three & highlight evidence in the
article that shows thoughts and feelings.
STEP TWO: Write.
Question Three
How to structure your answers (bits in red are from mark
scheme):
 P.E.E. that ‘interprets’ thoughts and feelings, e.g. When Bill
sits “bolt upright”, it’s clear that he’s fearful at this point.
Furthermore, it suggests that he thinks he’s in danger as he’s
not going to wait around to find out what the noise is. This idea
of danger is reinforced when he “instinctively” reaches for his
knife…
 Identify another piece of evidence that ideally shows a
different thought/feeling. Refer to all parts of the article not
just one bit!
Question Four
You need to compare the way language is used differently in TWO
texts. This is the whopper question and can be the difference
between an A* and a B or between a C and a U!
My advice is to spend 30 minutes on this question; that involves skimreading, highlighting AND answering the question. Hopefully you will
have done some of this already when reading the texts for Questions 13!
STEP ONE: Skim-read source three & either source one or two.
Highlight evidence that allows you to show your knowledge of
language AS WELL AS show you understand WHY it’s been written
(Purpose, Audience, Text type).
STEP TWO: Write.
Question Four
 Right, firstly, don’t forget that although source 3 is also non-
fiction (they all are), it tends to be written in narrative (story)
form (usually in 1st person with lots of description!) as it wants
to entertain. Look for language that shows this, e.g. similes,
metaphors, onomatopoeia, etc. and explain why they’ve
been used – PAT.
 Although sources 1 and 2 may use similar techniques to source
3 (find them if they’re there!), language tends to be more
impersonal / factual; this is often where you’ll find lots of
IAMAFORESTER techniques. Again, explain why they’ve been
used – PAT.
Question Four
Here’s an example:

In source 3, direct speech is used to change the tone. Bill’s response to Katz is
that if it’s a skunk, it must be big as “its eyes are three feet off the ground”.
This injects a bit of humour into the extract and breaks the tension but still
allows the reader to understand that Bill is petrified of “whatever it was”. The
use of the word “whatever” also creates tension for the reader as they have to
wait to see whether or not it’s a “bear”. In source 1, direct speech has also
been used when Fiona Watson states that the tribe will survive only if they
“remain isolated from the outside world”. However, unlike source 3, speech
has been used here as an expert opinion to reinforce how serious the threat is.
Furthermore, the words “outside world” have been repeated in order to
emphasise the fact that we are the danger, which will perhaps make the
reader feel guilty.

If you can’t spot any similarities, don’t worry, simply mention the
differences, e.g. Unlike source 1, source 3 doesn’t use any statistics. However,
it does use…
Timing is key!
Question 1
Question 2
Question 3
Question 4
(8 marks):
(8 marks):
(8 marks):
(16 marks!):
15 minutes
15 minutes
15 minutes
30 minutes
Some of you may wish to consider starting with
Question 4 to ensure you don’t get your timing
wrong and lose a lot of marks!
Reading non-fiction revision
Perhaps try some of the following ideas:
1. Split a piece of A3 paper into 4 and put top tips or
step by step instructions in each quarter regarding
how to do each question.
2. Practise the one question that you find most
difficult (receive lowest marks) – ask your teacher
to mark it.
3. Get a past paper, time yourself (1¼ hours),
complete and hand in for marking.
Higher
WRITING NON-FICTION
Writing Non-Fiction
You will have to write two non-fiction texts.
START WITH QUESTION 6 FIRST AS IT’S WORTH MORE MARKS!
Question 6 usually asks you to persuade or argue. It is worth 24
marks and you are advised to spend 35 minutes on it. It’s usually an
article but the target audience varies.
Question 5 usually asks you to explain (it may also ask you to
describe or inform). It is worth 16 marks and you are advised to
spend 25 minutes on it. It’s usually either a blog entry or an article
and the target audience varies.
Question Six
STEP ONE: Read and highlight the purpose, text type and
target audience.
STEP TWO: Mindmap your ideas & number them – don’t
forget to think about that punchy opening and clever
ending when doing so. This should take no longer than 5
minutes.
STEP THREE: Write for 30 mins max. And don’t go for the
usual ideas, make it interesting!
WRITING TO PERSUADE
WHAT TO INCLUDE

Disguise your opinion as fact.

Argue why you’re right – use
IAMAFORESTER techniques




HOW TO WRITE IT

PARAGRAPH (TiP ToP) Include a short
paragraph for effect (1, 2 or 3 words
ideally).

Variety of sentence types (long sentence
then a short sentence for effect)
Use other persuasive techniques
(look at persuasive techniques sheet
on the blog) such as an anecdote and 
similes/metaphors.

Use humour, sarcasm, irony,
hyperbole.

Use counter arguments…then tear
them apart.
Summary statement.

Vary sentence openings
Correct spellings including homophones
(they’re, there & their / your & you’re)
Use a variety of punctuation correctly:
,.?
! () – ; :
Adventurous vocabulary (WOW words)
Question Five
STEP ONE: Read and highlight the purpose, text type and
target audience.
STEP TWO: Mindmap your ideas & number them – don’t
forget to think about that punchy opening and clever
ending when doing so. This should take no longer than 5
minutes.
STEP THREE: Write for 20 mins max. And don’t go for the
usual ideas, you’ll bore the examiner, e.g. if you’re asked to
describe your favourite location, describe a prison. 
WRITING TO EXPLAIN
WHAT TO INCLUDE

Present the reader with a set of reasons.

Write a clear, detailed explanation of the
reasons.

Use causal connectives such as since,
because and therefore.

Although you’re not persuading, those
IAMAFORESTER techniques may still come
in handy!



Use anecdotes and similes/metaphors to
bring your writing alive.
Where appropriate include humour,
sarcasm, irony, hyperbole.
Summary statement.
HOW TO WRITE IT

PARAGRAPH (TiP ToP) Include a short
paragraph for effect (1, 2 or 3 words
ideally).

Variety of sentence types (long
sentence then a short sentence for
effect)

Vary sentence openings

Correct spellings including
homophones (they’re, there & their /
your & you’re)

Use a variety of punctuation correctly:
, . ? ! () – ; :

Adventurous vocabulary (WOW words)
Writing non-fiction revision
Try the following:
1. Ensure you know IAMAFORESTER and learn
(perhaps create your own mnemonic) other
persuasive techniques.
2. Practise past exam questions (time yourself
– 1 hour in total) and hand in for marking.
Experiment with being as weird and wild as
possible.

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