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Last Minute Poetry Tips

Going through the examiner's report from January, it is clear that the examiners are rewarding one thing more than anything else - your ideas.

The examiner praises students that 'dig', some of your teachers may call it 'writing a lot about a little' and I call it the 6 steps to success.

All this means is that you are able to generate a lot of analysis and evaluation from a short quotation.

Tip number 1 - keep your quotations short - zoom in, give an alternative interpretation and zoom out.

The next thing that is highlighted is those students that consistently compare gain higher marks. You are given 30% of your marks for showing your ability to compare. The exam board recommend keeping your comparison focused on the points that you make so this is an absolute must. That means you need to focus on structuring your comparison around consistent comparison.

Poem 1: Point 1
              Quotation 1
              Explanation
             Analysis (Zoom in)
             Alternate Interpretation
             Evaluation
Compares to:
Poem 2: Point 1
              Quotation 1
              Explanation
             Analysis (Zoom in)
             Alternate Interpretation
             Evaluation

Then move back to:

Poem 1:
Poem 1: Point 2
              Quotation2
              Explanation
             Analysis (Zoom in)
             Alternate Interpretation
             Evaluation
Compares to:
Poem 2: Point 2
              Quotation 2
              Explanation
             Analysis (Zoom in)
             Alternate Interpretation
             Evaluation

If you are looking to develop comparisons further you can compare the Evaluations. If really brave but not necessary you can compare Analysis. The exam board explicitly say:

The most successful comparisons focus on AO1 (Point / Evaluation) not A02 (Analysis). Only compare analysis if you have already made comparisons of Point and Evaluation.

Tip number 2 - compare consistently and compare point and evaluation before you compare analysis.

Finally, the exam board state that the successful students choose poems that fit the question not their favourite poems. There are resources to help remind you of the poems and what they compare to here and here.

If you choose a poem that doesn't really fit the question then you will lose marks because:

a) Your points will not be strong
b) Your analysis will not be relevant.

These two parts of your answer make up the remaining 70% of your exam mark so it is a lot to sacrifice.

Tip number 3 - Choose your comparative poem wisely. Make sure your poem links to the question.

FAQs

People ask me a lot: 'How much should we write?' and 'How many quotations should we use?'

There isn't a simple answer to this however you have 45 minutes to write on Section A so make sure you are writing non-stop for the full time. If that is 10 pages and 15 quotations then so be it. Don't stop answering the question until 45 minutes is up.

Make sure each quotation you use is fully analysed going through each of the six steps until you move on to your comparison.

Good Luck and last tip.....................................................................................

There is a Section B make sure you do it!



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