AQA tips Ways to improve your writing at GCSE
What is the examiner looking for in ‘A*- C’ grade candidate? • About a side and a half; no more than two sides • Clear and effective paragraphing; maybe a paragraph for effect • Accurate SPG. • Different sentence styles and different ways of opening sentences. Good students use short sentences as well as long ones… • More varied punctuation: the colon; the semi-colon… • Some exciting and interesting vocabulary. • Flair; originality; examiners look for ‘your individual voice’ • You have your own personal style – use it!
Describe questions Describe a deserted beach Describe a journey you have been on Describe a shopping mall when it is closed…or when it is open Describe yourself. Change can be good, bad or a mixture of both. Write about a time in your life when you experience change of some kind. Describe what happened and explain how you felt about change.
Describe a shopping centre when it is closed and describe it when it is open.
What should you think about? • The six (!) senses: • Sight- what can you see, what objects, colours, movements? • Sound – what can you hear, how loud, how do you feel? • Touch – what can feel, different textures, maybe brush against something? • Smell – food? People? Comforting, familiar smells? • Taste – do you eat anything? Does a particular taste come into your mouth? • Atmosphere/emotions – what emotions do you feel?
Look at these examples of students’ writing, in response to the ‘mall’ task… One is clearly better than the other. But why?
Describe a shopping centre It is 3 pm on a Saturday afternoon and the shopping centre is really busy. There are lots of people around. The place is heaving. Some people are carrying bags. Others are standing around chatting or laughing. Most people seem happy but some people seem fed up. 1 ------------ 2 -------------------- 3 ----------------------- 4 ---------------------5 Very Very boring interesting
1 ------------ 2 -------------------- 3 ----------------------- 4 ---------------------5 Very Very boring interesting
Vocabulary D – begins to use some variety of vocabulary to achieve effects C – uses varied vocabulary to create effects B – assured match of style and form to purpose/audience
Vocabulary More expressive verb choices Screamed/muttered/insisted rather than said Using non-finite forms Going, saying, doing at the start of sentences Use of abstract nouns (conscience, ambition, hesitation) as well as concrete ones Use of adjectival and adverbial phrases with an aggressive manner, with his eyes narrowed
Sentences No… not those sentences…
Sentence Structures D – begins to use some variety of sentence structures to achieve effects C – uses range of sentence structures to create effects B – follows syntactical conventions
Sentence structures Syntax (order of words or phrases in a sentence) With his eyes fixed on the leopard, he moved slowly back to the tree. He moved slowly back to the tree, his eyes fixed on the leopard. On the mat, sat the cat. Repetition of structure, clause, phrase or word for effect: It was there, in front of him, in the dark. (of structure) The darkness moved within. The darkness of despair, of death. (word)
But be careful about Yoda speak! Always two there are, no more When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not. What’s Yoda doing with his sentence structure?
Paragraphs D – uses clear paragraphs C – paragraphs make meanings clear B – uses paragraphs to aid meanings
Paragraphs Starts to provide discourse markers However, Although Different starters Verb starters: Barging in from the door…, Prepositions: In a dark room…, Adverbials: Clumsily knocking over the lamp…, Time: Meanwhile… Ten minutes later…