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Annotating Your Exam Paper - The one with the cute toddler video...


It's a big deal - you are not enjoying this time of the year and rest assured neither are we. I wouldn't want to go back to it at all and it is a horrible shock going from the joy of learning to be hit bang smack in the face with a grade.

Sometimes it is better to give yourself some time where you focus on something simple, childish and joyful. Revision is often more effective when you are relaxed. It will be waiting there after you recharged yourself - but don't forget it.


The best way to stay relaxed is to be prepared. When you are prepared you naturally feel confident and carry this with you. This is one of the biggest factors in an exam-  confident = cool and relaxed: worried = panicked and nervous.

Here is a trick about how to plan your section A answers in 15 minutes maximising your writing time so you can feel prepared and confident before you write.

First Tip - Spend a full 5 minutes per text.

Question 1 / Source 1 - Will always ask you about what you understand about an issue (this is never the whole text).

Step 1 - Scanning the Text.

Scanning is the skill of looking only for information that is relevant. Look for sentences (only sentences not paragraphs) that focus on your issue.

Step 2 - Inference

Your understanding of the text is based on inferences. Draw an arrow from the best 4 sentences you've highlighted and write what can be inferred beside the text.

Step 3 - Language  

You may choose to use this text for Q4 so highlight 4 examples of language that stand out, draw an arrow and write what the effect is at the side of the text.

Question 2 / Source 2 - Will always ask you to analyse the effectiveness of Headline, Sub-heading and Images and their links to the text.

Step 1 - Headlines, Sub-heading, Images

Highlight 4 things that stand out about the Headline, Sub-heading and Images. Write down the effect they have.

Step 2 - Links

Draw arrows from the things you've highlighted to any line in the main body of the text they link to.

Step 3 - Language

You may choose to use this text for Q4 so highlight 4 examples of language that stand out, draw an arrow and write what the effect is at the side of the text. 

 Question 3 / Source 3 - Will always ask you to explain some of the thoughts and feelings of the writer.


Step 1 - Headlines, Sub-heading, Images

Highlight 2 quotations that show thoughts and 2 quotations that show feelings. Draw lines from the text and write down what feelings or thoughts are being shown on the outside.

Step 2 -The Change

There will always be a change in feelings within the text. Put a massive star next to where the thoughts or feelings change to remind yourself to look for it.

Step 3 - Language

You must also use this text for Q4 so highlight 4 examples of language that stand out, draw an arrow and write what the effect is at the side of the text.

If you use the 15 minutes reading time (5 minutes per text) in this way - you will be able to spend every other minute writing and you've got a plan for each answer.

When you get to Question 4 all you have to do is quickly below:

Question 4 / Source 3 + 1 OR 2 - Will always ask you to compare the way writers use language for effect.


Step 1 - Choose your comparative source.

Look carefully at Source 1 and 2 and choose which one your clearest on the effect of the language used (the one where you don't have to make the reader read on written...)

Step 2 - Write

Write your answer - if you're feeling confident then top it off with a little context / purpose.


Spending the time reading effectively will ensure you feel a lot more confident when you are writing. You will come out of the exam with more of a sense of achievement over relief and you can pat yourself on the back and say FANTASTIC





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