“It’s English ~ there’s nothing to study” Deconstructing the Myth English 12 Exam Prep Session June 2008
English 12 Exam Prep • Getting ready • Deconstructing the Exam • Informational Text • Poetry • Literary Prose • Original Composition • Ministry Exemplars • Questions & Answers
One week before…. • Review list of literary terms and devices • Review several past exams ~ practice! • Familiarize yourself with exam format • Time your writing • Ask your teacher for particular feedback for your own improvement • Study the criteria and student examples
The Night Before… • Have a good dinner, with carbs and protein which are good for the brain • Relax, go for a workout, watch a movie, etc. ~ don’t try to cram as your brain needs a rest • Get a great sleep! • Prepare your materials, student ID, and arrange for a ride with a reliable driver (and car!) • Set your alarm!! You will not be allowed in after the first 30 minutes have passed
The morning before…. • Eat a good breakfast • Be prepared • Arrive early • Breathe!!
What to bring… • appropriate Student ID • 3 blue or black ballpoint pens • coloured highlighter • one HB pencil • white-out • water • watch or timer • protein snack • your confidence!
What NOT to bring… • Electronic dictionary • Cell phone • Improper ID • Anxiety
Examination Rules • Two hours allotted + 60 minutes • Answers in booklet won’t be marked • Cheating results in a zero • Use of inappropriate language or content will result in a zero • Upon completion all papers are to be handed back
Credentialed Marker “Profile” • Usually 30+ • English specialist with 10+ years of teaching • Reads 180 exams/day for six days • Loves literature ~ is well read! • Wants students to succeed • Rigorously trained (using holistic marking scale) by the Ministry of Education
Insight to Marker Guidelines • Remember it is draft work • Study and use scoring guides • Don’t correct the paper • Read for general impression and score • Score holistically – hi-mid-low • Collaborate with partner – ½ marks allowed • Be cognizant of biases • Score only what is on the paper • Use all scale points
On Cramming… If you have to cram, try to focus on remembering the information you DO know rather than to teach yourself new information at the last minute. It is best to ensure you REALLY know some part of the information.
Your Brain Appreciates Planning! • Space out your learning over a couple of days using 40 minute study sessions • Divide the material into “chunks”, then review • Use active-learning strategies (note-making, paraphrasing and reciting) to study the material • Use self-testing techniques to monitor your learning • Rehearse orally with a partner
General Exam Strategies • While the invigilator is talking about the exam, leaf through to see what’s in store. Read the original composition prompt and let it resonate in your subconsciousness. • Read the questions of each section FIRST. This allows you to read the passages with a focus on the answers • Read the passages actively by circling, underlining, marking or highlighting the most important parts of the text • Consider other sources of information, the text features, captions, notes, related texts, etc. • The title can tell you a lot of information – see if the reading is from a larger excerpt. The title may have a special significance
The author’s name may also provide information if you are familiar with their works, themes, interests, etc. • If the country of origin, dates or cultural information is given, consider their importance • Use all of the allotted time and answer everything! • For longer responses, map or sketch out ideas – planning is great for staying organized and focused • Try to answer m/c questions without looking at the options. Match your answer to one of the given options
Eliminate the unlikely answers and work with what’s left • Don’t waste your time looking for patterns in answers as the correct answers will be randomly distributed • If a question contains a line reference, then reread those lines before answering the question • Leave difficult questions for later, but remember to return to them! • If in doubt, guess ~ NEVER leave a blank response
Key Words and Terms • See handout or online list Be careful of “distractors” ~ if you have NEVER seen the term, it is probably a decoy eg. A) metonymy B) allusion C) metaphor D) chiasmus*
Discussion • What other tips have you learned from your experiences or from a teacher? • Share your ideas with a partner or small group.
Understand the Criteria Markers talk in terms of “low level” and “mid level” and “low level” papers 6 superior 5 proficient 4 competent 3 barely adequate 2 inadequate 1 unacceptable
Criteria crunching HIGH LEVEL PAPERS 6 Superior response: sophisticated discussion showing insight and depth of understanding, high quality writing style, effective use of language and rhetoric, shows maturity, depth, wit, imagination, is clear and precise (need not be error-free!) 5 Proficient response: reflects strong grasp of understanding and use of language, content is thoughtful and interesting, clear sense of purpose, voice and audience, some manipulation of language, references support thesis, well organized, some errors
MID LEVEL PAPERS 4 Competent response: understanding is literal and rather superficial, references are present but mostly paraphrased and limited to only part of the text, writing is organized and straightforward, diction lacks variety, structure is predictable, shows a sense of purpose but is not engaging to the reader, conventions are followed but errors are present 3 Barely adequate response: understanding of the text is partially flawed or incomplete, support may not be clearly connected to the central idea, may be meagre, or “listed”, lacks variety in language and structure, has a sense of purpose, but errors are distracting
LOW LEVEL PAPERS 2 Inadequate response: underdeveloped, simplistic ideas, while there is an attempt to address the topic, understanding of the text or task is seriously flawed, overly colloquial or informal, frequent errors that distract or impede meaning 1 Unacceptable response: response does not meet the task, or is too brief to address the topic, compromised by deficiency of composition, content, diction, voice, conventions of language
Informational Text • Students required to read a non-fiction passage and answer 7 m/c questions • Recognize meaning (need to understand) • Retrieve information (answer in text) • Interpret text (need to think!) • READ text features! • Review rhetorical/literary devices
Understanding Exam Specs Retrieve Information (RI) The reader locates information that is found in the text. No inferences or interpretations are required. The information is usually contained within a phrase or sentence. Recognize Meaning (RM) The reader uses information provided in the text and understands an equivalent statement or reformulates it in her/his own words. The reader comprehends the use of literary and stylistic terms and devices. The information is usually contained within a phrase or sentence. Interpret Texts (IT) The reader integrates ideas and information to show an understanding or interpretation. The information may be implicit and open to interpretation. Information may need to be inferred, “filled-in” or linked across parts of a text. The information is generally derived across the text, but may sometimes be found in a word or sentence.
Poetry Exam Specs • Students expected to comprehend at literal, inferential, critical levels • Should demonstrate understanding of terms and devices relevant to work • Required to support a position, interpretation or response using specific references • One question only • Paragraph response of 125-150 words
Exam Strategies • Read the poetry questions and response question prior to reading poem • Read the poem 2-3 times! • m/c questions typically ask about • Structure: couplet, quatrain, sestet, octave • Kind of poem: ode, lyric, ballad elegy • Style of poem: narrative, dramatic, descriptive, pastoral • If you don’t understand the poem, use the m/c questions as a guide to key ideas
How to Approach a Poem • Examine the title • Read the poem several times. Try to follow its general movement and be aware of what is happening. Read it again! • Be aware of units of meaning ~ stanzas, line divisions, punctuation, etc. • Be alert to repetition of words, phrases, images and ideas • Be sensitive to the poem’s purpose, and try to identify the speaker • Remember: the poet is not always the speaker! • Use the multiple choice questions as guides
TPCAST Title • What are the connotations of the title? • Connect the title to what you know Paraphrase • Read over twice and try to summarize the meaning to deepen your understanding of what the poet’s trying to get across Connotation • Go through and highlight words or phrases that possess another meaning • Analyze what the poet might have meant by these alternate meanings or play on words
Attitude • What is the general attitude of the writer? • What feelings does it arouse in the reader? Watch word choice, punctuation and sound device for clues Shift • Where does the shift in thought arrive? This is the turning point of the poem, and it’s important to understand where and why the shift has occurred Title • After examining the poem, return to the title. The connotations now uncovered can now be matched to the title to see if there is further significance or a fresh perspective
Poetry Paragraph Perfection • The question is NOT a prompt ~ answer the question • Turn the question into your thesis statement • The focus of this task is analysis ~ DO NOT EDITORIALIZE • Always read the context clues ~ they are there for a reason! • Integrate shorter quotations and summarize longer ones • “Floating quotes” seriously detract ~ INTEGRATE QUOTES
Avoid guessing at poetic terms ~ be sure of their meaning if you are going to use them • Always avoid second person (YOU) – it’s too informal • Transition words help to increase cohesion, flow and marks • Avoid re-telling the poem - again, focus on literary analysis • Aim for three ideas, points, references • Do not forget to conclude ~ add a connection to life!
Formulaic… but it works! • MAKE AN OVERARCHING STATEMENT ABOUT POEM/LIFE • INCLUDE TITLE OF POEM, POET’S NAME • ANSWER QUESTION – REFER TO SPEAKER • ADD THREE SUPPORTING IDEAS FROM THROUGHOUT WHOLE POEM • USE TRANSITIONS TO CONNECT IDEAS • CONCLUDE WITH SIGNIFICANCE AND CONNECTION TO LIFE
Literary Prose Specs In answering the written-response question, students should be able to develop a multi-paragraph answer of approximately 300 words. Responses should be constructed with complete and effective sentences and adhere to the conventions of standard written English. There will be a choice of two questions from which students will choose one for response.
Sample Prose Questions • Discuss character development • Discuss the element of contrast/conflict • Describe the character of the narrator • Discuss the appropriateness of the title • Discuss how the author uses humour • Discuss the lessons about life that the narrator has learned • Discuss how the author uses imagery to create atmosphere • Explain how peer pressure plays an important role in the story • Discuss theme/symbolism/irony
Prose Strategies • Read the essay questions and m/c questions before reading the passage so that you can highlight answers/quotes as you read • There may be a vocabulary question – find the word in the passage and try to determine the meaning from the context of the sentence or paragraph • Make sure you are familiar with the four points of view
Original Composition Specs • Few restrictions except to be appropriate • 300 words on provided (general) topic • Narration, exposition, persuasion or description • May draw from personal experiences, or experiences of others, your readings, etc.
Sample O/C Questions • See handout
Have a Plan! • “stock your refrigerator” • jot down ideas, map out a plan, web out storyline • dreate an original thesis based on prompt if writing expository • create a controlling idea if telling a story • write a minimum of three paragraphs • if using dialogue, be careful to follow conventions
Final Exam Strategies • Do what you are most comfortable with FIRST • Do what is worth the least LAST • Keep an eye on the time • Conclude your written responses (no matter what) • Do not leave any blanks • Ensure your handwriting is legible • Build in time to proofread all written responses
Second Kick at the Can? • You may re-write a provincial exam once within a 12 month period following the first attempt • Highest of both marks is used on transcript • Writing it twice is a good idea! • Next exam: Tuesday, August 12th
Exam Review • Students may have access to their exam under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act, sec. 3 • Students may want to review prior to requesting a re-read or re-write • Request for review must be submitted two weeks in advance of re-read deadline ~ usually done by school Principal • Principals will arrange for secure review of exam
Re-read Procedures • If you question a mark, you may request a re-reading of examination • $50 fee per exam re-read • Written request for June 2008 required by September 30, 2008 • See online re-read request form
Other stuff… Student Secure Web – marks available by end of July https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/exams/tsw/tsw/student/ August Exams 2008 http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/exams/august/