Paper 3. Question 1. Examiner Tips.

  • This is a genre transformation question, and you will be required to show awareness of style characteristics, persona, and audience. Put yourself into role, and address your audience directly.
  • There will almost certainly be two texts, perhaps in different genres e.g. a letter and a dialogue. The question will require you to assimilate information from both texts so you must not ignore one of them.
  • Your answer will not be in the same genre as either of the texts, and should therefore be in a different style from both of them, and all material from the passages must be modified to suit the new genre.
  • The recommended structure for the response will be offered in the wording of the question, and should be followed. To quote from the principal examiner’s report: ‘Candidates should always bear in mind the importance of structure and a sense of audience is an exercise such as this’.
  • You will try to use as much of the passages as possible, as it will all be relevant (unlike in paper 2 q.1) but you will have to change the way you express it; for instance a dialogue between friends would become reported speech in another genre, or just an opinion indirectly referred to.
  • Do not write as yourself unless you are specifically told to do so.
  • There will be at least two factors to focus on, e.g. advantages and disadvantages. You will need to make two lists before you start in order to make sure you have enough material for both sides of the question. Examiners will use A and B, or pros and cons, in the margin to identify points on each side and to assess the balance of the two.
  • The third element of this question is evaluation; you will have to decide which of several options is better and present reasons why you have formed this opinion and justify it.
  • Make strong transitions between points/paragraphs e.g. ‘Yet another reason to support this proposal is…’
  • Do not get distracted by peripheral issues; for instance if you are asked how money should be spent, don’t discuss the fund-raising methods.
  •  The opening needs to clearly introduce the situation and purpose of the task, and will be rewarded if it puts the reader in the picture.
  • Though you cannot make up things which are not in the passages, you should try to use your own ideas in the way that you extend those of the passages, provided that they are ‘based on the reading material’.
  • The aim of the response is likely to be persuasive, and paragraphs should be linked appropriately for the structure of a progressive argument.
  •  Remember to be consistent in your adoption of style and voice, and keep in mind the purpose of the piece of writing. Use rhetorical or other persuasive devices if appropriate to the task.
  • Do not be overly casual in what is a formal piece of writing. Even if it is for your peers in a school magazine, written language for publication is less colloquial than spoken language.
  • On the other hand it would not be appropriate to adopt a pedantic style containing specialised vocabulary for the task of communicating opinions clearly and persuasively.
  • The ending needs to be definite and provide an effective and satisfying conclusion to the piece.

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