Doing brilliantly in English Language

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Doing brilliantly
KS4 > GCSE > Revision skills and exam preparation > Doing brilliantly
How it works
Twenty-five PowerPoint slides designed to help students to achieve the C grade at GCSE English.
Try this!
Rather than simply showing the whole thing in one go, it can be usefully divided into sections. Looking at PALL
first, and then focussing on how to PEE would give students a clear focus for their analysis of non-fiction and
media texts. Slide 9 gives a mini example of a text for analysis – print it out and ask them to do a PALL analysis
of their own on it, then compare it with the samples on slide 10.
Then this!
Once they’ve done the business on a mini text, why not give them a selection of texts from past papers and ask
them to analyse them in the same way? Better still, put them up on sugar paper round the room as a sort of
giant toilet postcards activity (see [Revision skills & exam preparation] Toilet postcard revision activity).
Or this!
PALL also works for the writing sections, along with [Writing to argue, advise and persuade] Revising persuasive
techniques and students had obviously taken that on board this year, judging from the exam papers I marked. I
would, however, alter slide 16 slightly to reflect all of the possible purposes – argue, persuade and advise as well
as those to be found in paper 2. I’d also add some paper 1 type questions to slide 18, and then give different
students different questions to plan. If you have an IWB or an OHP, it’s a good idea to model planning an
answer – most students still don’t plan in exams, and it really does make a difference.
Alison Smith
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Doing brilliantly in
English Language
Getting the C grade
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Before doing well –
Problems to tackle
 Misreading the question and giving the wrong kind of





answer.
Not looking at the number of marks available.
Picking out the wrong information.
Using subject language inaccurately or incorrectly.
Repeating the question rather than answering it.
Poor paragraphing, spelling and punctuation.
 Not preparing or revising properly.
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Two keys to success
PEE
PALL
 Purpose
 Audience
 Point
 Evidence
 Language
 Expand
 Layout
Write these on the exam paper to help you
plan and get the highest grades.
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Keys to success
PALL
 Purpose –
What is the text trying to do?
 Audience –
Who is it aimed at?
 Language –
What kind of words have been used?
 Layout -
How is the text set out?
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Learn the check list of PALL
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Learn the check list of PALL
 Picking out the features will start you
on the right lines.
 But you will get a C grade if you
explain why they are used and if you
think that they work or that they are
effective.
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Language
This is where the most marks are because it is a
challenge. Explain whether the writing is:
 Complex, technical or simple.
 Formal or informal (such as using slang and




abbreviations).
Literal or poetic / figurative.
Factual/objective, or opinion based or emotive.
Read the text thinking about the choice of words.
AIM to pick out language details when you are
reading through the text – highlight words and
phrases that stand out.
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Use quotes
 You should always use PEE
MAKE A
POINT
GIVE AN
EXAMPLE
PEE
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EXPAND ON
WHAT YOU HAVE
WRITTEN AND
THE POINT YOU
HAVE MADE
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www.oxfam.org.uk
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Photo Nick Fogden/Oxfam
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How to use PEE and PALL
There are two women in a picture and there is some
green text. Also you can see the name Oxfam so this
shows also the name of the charity.

The advert is persuasive and positive as it uses
images of two women helping themselves to get out
of poverty. The rhetorical question at the top is
addressed to the reader to draw them into the advert
and the colour green has been chosen because it is a
positive colour that connects with the idea of a fresh
start. Overall it is effective.

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The “Big Picture”
 Always read your text carefully – highlight as
you read.
 Try to grasp the text’s “big picture”.
Understand exactly:
 what it is about
 who it was written for
 why it was written
 how it was written
Think PALL
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To achieve a C grade you must:
C
Write Clearly
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To achieve a C grade you must:
C Write clearly =
C Punctuate correctly = use commas, use
semi-colons, apostrophes and full stops.
C You must use paragraphs to organise your
ideas.
C You must entertain and interest the reader
so keep checking you are focusing on the
question and thinking about the reader.
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Key words
 Always highlight the question – pick out
the key words – what is the question
asking you to do?
 Get used to highlighting the text – look for
key words that stand out.
 What is the question asking you to do?
 Check have you answered the question.
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Key words
1
3
5
How effective is the advert for
Oxfam? Comment on the
language and presentational
features used.
2
4
How clear is the leaflet and
what audience do you think it
is aimed at?
6
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Exam questions
Write PALL on your paper to help you plan
 Why are you writing – to entertain? Inform or
explain?
 Watch out for the audience – who will be the
reader? Children? Students? Headteachers?
 Make sure that your language is right for the
audience.
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Exam questions
 Use the way of planning that you find easiest.
It might be a list of bullet points or some kind
of diagram. Put all your ideas down quickly,
then cross out what you don’t like and
organise the rest into the best order.
 Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?
are questions that can help to get ideas.
 Respect the reader. Include all the
information they need. Make it make sense.
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Exam writing questions
1. Explain how an incident from your life affected
you in an important way.
2. Teenage life can be fun but can be difficult,
too; write an article for a school magazine in
which you explain what it is like to be a
teenager.
3. Many people have hobbies. Write about one of
your hobbies discussing what it involves and
means to you.
4. Write an article for a teenage magazine in
which you explain one of the following:
Friendship is ...; Bullying is ...; Success is ...;
Growing up is ... .
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PALL
A
L
Write an article for a
teenage magazine in
which you explain some
of pressures on young
people today.
L
P
You could include details
of: exam pressure, peer
pressure, self image and
family life.
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Write an article for a teenage magazine in which you
explain some of the pressures on young people today.
Being a teen is top! …
… ISN'T IT?
You can’t open a newspaper or turn on the TV without
hearing about ‘terrible teens’. Apparently they don’t respect
their family, their environment, their teachers, their
uniform, or anyone or anything. The only thing they
respect are celebrities, and of course teens are only
focused on their selfish selves.
Exams and families do create stress but the greatest
pressure is surviving all the negative press about teens.
According to the shock stories in the press, we all wear
hoodies and baseball caps, never move without a gang
surrounding us and we are never happier than when
intimidating older people or hanging around on street
corners.
Is this the reality of teens today?
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How to succeed in longer writing tasks
1. Plan before you write. Jot down key
ideas – do a quick mind map/
brainstorm/ list or some notes – this will
help you organise your ideas.
2. Add in detail – keep trying to show off –
use the best words.
3. Check paragraphs and spellings – know
which words you are sometimes careless
with. Look closely at these when you
read through your writing.
4. Don’t get too nervous in the exam –
make sure that your writing is easy to
read. Remember that you won’t lose
marks for crossing out mistakes.
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Finally – a Health warning
Each year,
thousands of
students fail to
achieve the marks
they could.
Don't be one of
them.
ALWAYS CHECK
YOUR WRITING
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In the exam –
grabbing all of the marks you can
With 7 minutes to go:
 Round off your ideas – write your last
paragraph.
 Proof read your work – quickly check
paragraphs – mark new paragraphs in with //
– you will get the marks for them.
 Check commas and full stops.
 Skim through and check you’ve used capital
letters for names and titles.
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Revision
 Read newspapers, magazines and books –
look for the main point or main idea – this
will get you practising for the exam.
 Get into the habit of writing in paragraphs.
 Try to skim over your work to check for
small mistakes – target weaknesses.
 Get some highlighters (buy them or ask
Father Christmas for some) – use them to
highlight key points and questions.
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Get into training now
 Tick off when you have revised.
 Use the PALL list and learn it.
 Keep working on your weaknesses.
 Target what you need to do = success!
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