Year 11 Mock Exams: Examiners’ Report Paper 1 Summer 2018

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Right then, Year 11. First things first: congratulations on having sat your first GCSE Language mock exam. It was a big ask, and the majority of you rose to the occasion – so well done.

In this examiners’ report, we’ll be focusing on each question in turn, focusing on what you’d need to do to improve.

First things first

You should have been given a Mock Exam Attainment Tracker by your English teacher on which to record your marks for each question and each paper.

For each question, the number of rows corresponds to the number of marks available for that question. The width of the column relates to how much that question contributes to the overall mark for the paper. So, for instance, the columns for Q1 on both papers are half the width of the columns for Q2 – as both Q1s are worth 4 marks, whereas both Q2s are worth 8.

When you’ve shaded in these tables to reflect the marks you achieved for each question, you will be able to see where you did particularly well, and where there’s room for improvement.

Let’s take a sample student’s tracker for Paper 1.

tracker

As you can see, they scored 3/4 for Q1, 5/8 for Q2, 5/8 for Q3 and 8/20 for Q4 on the reading side of the paper. This gave them a total of 21/40 for the reading.

For the writing question, Q5, they got 16/24 for AO5 and 11/16 for AO6 – giving them a total of 27/40.

Their overall score of 48/80 would give them a grade 4 – but the student is only 2 marks away from getting a grade 5. Which question do you think they need to focus on the most?

We’d argue it’s Q4. The student is clearly bright, as they managed to get more than half marks for every other question – and yet they’ve dipped significantly on Q4.

If they’d achieved the same level for Q4 as they did Qs 2 and 3, the student would have achieved an extra 4 or 5 marks – which would have put them close to the boundary for a grade 6!

You should be using these trackers with your English teachers to identify where you need to focus your efforts when it comes to your next steps.

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The Grade Boundaries

For both of your mock exams, we set the following grade boundaries:

grade-boundaries

 

General Feedback

  • Students tended to achieve higher marks on the writing than on the reading.
  • Q4 was the lowest-scoring question on both papers.
  • Timing was an issue – with a significant number of students running out of time and having to rush the writing section, or skip reading questions in order to get to it before time ran out.

Priorities

  • If you don’t yet have a copy of the My Revision Notes revision guide, you are missing out on some invaluable advice. It’s available from the library for just £6, and has activities, advice and hints for both English Language papers.
  • Listen to the feedback your teacher has given you. It’s likely they will have pointed out the areas you ought to be focusing on – and you’ll find Next Steps for each of the questions further on in this post. The more hard work you put in now, the better the position you’ll be in for the real thing next year.

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Paper 1: Explorations in creative reading and writing

Click on the links below for:

Paper 1 Question 1

Despite being a fairly straightforward question, several of you lost marks on this question as you:

  • Forgot to write in sentences – e.g. ‘Inky fingers’ rather than He had ‘inky fingers’.
  • Didn’t read the question, which asked you to focus on Hale, and not Brighton.

Suggested Next Steps:

Paper 1 Question 2

For this 8-mark question, you were given a short extract from the text to focus on, and you were asked to comment on the writer’s choice of: word and phrases, language features and techniques, and sentence forms.

Students who underperformed on this question did so because:

  • They didn’t comment on all three of the bulletpoints.
  • They were a little too vague in the comments they were making – e.g. The writer uses this word to get the reader’s attention.
  • They forgot to comment on the impact of the language features on the reader.

Suggested Next Steps:

  • Read pages 14 – 19 of your My Revision Notes revision guides, and complete the activities.
  • Work through this PowerPoint.
  • Download and print this grammar glossary so that you have a range of technical terms at your disposal for analysing texts.
  • After you’ve done the above things, redo the question at home, and get your English teacher to see if you’ve improved.

Paper 1 Question 3

For this 8-mark question, you needed to comment on how the writer of the extract had structured it to interest you as a reader.

Common reasons for underperformance:

  • Students didn’t comment explicitly on structure – i.e. why the text is in the order it’s in, and how the focus of the text shifts as it progresses.
  • Students failed to use terms associated with structure – e.g. perspective, focus, zooms in.

Suggested Next Steps:

  • Take a look at this Level 3 answer (6 out of 8 marks) that has been annotated by an examiner to show why it’s achieved that mark.
  • Scroll through to the second answer in this document, as it achieved Level 4 (8 out of 8 marks). It’s also annotated to show how and why it’s achieved full marks. Read it carefully and make notes on why it’s successful.
  • Read pages 20 – 25 of your My Revision Notes revision guides, and complete the activities. (You’re welcome to bring any work you’d like looking at to our GCSE English Drop-In sessions, which run every Tuesday lunchtime in L1A.)
  • Work through this PowerPoint.
  • After you’ve done the above things, redo the question at home, and get your English teacher to see if you’ve improved.

Paper 1 Question 4

This 20-mark question was one that many students struggled with, perhaps due to timing issues, or perhaps because they found it more challenging than the other questions.

For this question, you were given a statement about the text, and were asked to what extent you agreed with it.

Common issues that arose:

  • Students contradicted the statement. Remember: the statement given to you by the exam board will always be a reasonable interpretation of the text, and will have been given to help direct your answer.
  • Students drifted away from the focus of the question, and started writing about aspects of the text that didn’t relate to it.
  • Students didn’t leave enough time for this question – even though, at 20 marks, it was worth the same amount of marks as questions 1, 2 and 3 combined.

Suggested Next Steps:

  • Read through this Level 3 answer (16 out of 20 marks) and pay attention to the examiner’s comments justifying the mark.
  • Scroll to the second answer in this booklet, as it achieved Level 4, and got full marks (20 out of 20). The examiner’s comments tell you why it achieved that mark. Make a note of these reasons.
  • Read pages 26 – 34 of your My Revision Notes revision guides, and complete the activities. (You’re welcome to bring any work you’d like looking at to our GCSE English Drop-In sessions, which run every Tuesday lunchtime in L1A.)
  • Work through this PowerPoint.
  • After you’ve done the above things, redo the question at home, and get your English teacher to see if you’ve improved.

Paper 1 Question 5

This was the writing task, and you were given a choice of two tasks: a description inspired by a picture of a beach, or a description of an occasion when you felt unsure or challenged.

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Common issues we found:

  • Students had run out of time by Q5, and so rushed their writing. Remember: Q5 is worth 40 marks – which is the same as all 4 reading questions put together! You must make sure you leave 45 minutes for it.
  • A lot of you wrote narratives despite the key word in both tasks being Describe. Remember: in the exam next summer, you may be given a choice of two narrative tasks, a choice of two descriptive tasks, or a choice between a narrative and a descriptive task. Make sure you’re doing what’s asked of you.
  • Technical accuracy was an issue for many students, despite AO6 being worth 16 marks. You must make sure you’re leaving time to check your work, and to make any corrections.

Suggested Next Steps

  • Take a look at the Level 4 response you’ll find here – it achieved 38/40 marks, and is thoroughly annotated with what the student has done well.
  • Have a look at the second answer in this booklet, and decide if you think it deserves the same mark as the one above, or lower/higher. Your English teacher will be able to tell you if you’re correct!
  • Find out how to avoid comma splicing by clicking here and reading our guide. You can then take the test to make sure you’ve got it sussed.
  • Revise apostrophes using your CGP SPaG workbooks at home, and then take the test you’ll find here to make sure you’ve nailed it.
  • Learn a good way to vary your sentences by clicking here and reading our guide to fronting and embedding. There’s a test to check if you’ve understood.
  • Read pages 76 – 85 of your My Revision Notes revision guides, and complete the activities. (You’re welcome to bring any work you’d like looking at to our GCSE English Drop-In sessions, which run every Tuesday lunchtime in L1A.)
  • Have another go at the question, and ask your teacher to check to see if you’ve improved.

 

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