On to the first ‘whole of the passage’ questions, which is pretty tough considering the fact that this is still only worth 8 marks. We can question the examiner’s motives here for a moment, but there’s no point in getting too hung up on this, as we have a job to do. You now need [...]


Question 2: getting tougher…

OK, this is where the road starts to get bumpier. As this questions is asking you to explain, in your own words, about how the writer creates certain effects (in other words, how the writer is trying to make you feel about something). Don’t worry if you feel nothing yourself as you read (other than [...]

AQA Paper 1 Question 1: boring but important

OK, let's look at how we might tackle question 1 so it's over with as quickly as possible. We want this one over and done with asap as it’s worth a measly 4 marks. Let’s look at the question from the practice paper:   Read again the first part of the Source from lines 1 [...]

AQA Paper 1: learning how to read

So, how to put those 8 hacks from the last post into practice? Let's think about how to read like an examiner. Because the AQA syllabus is new, there’s currently only one official practice paper on the website. Which I personally think is a bit lazy of AQA but what do I know? I’m not [...]

The Grateful 8: 8 ways to improve your GCSE language grade without really trying.

I know. You're probably bored with seeing these 'how to' hacks - as if reading 8 things can change your life or whatever. And you also probably know that you should be revising, not reading other people telling you how to revise or get a grade 9. But bear with me. Because I  think that [...]

How to get inside the examiner’s head: meet Jeff

I'd first of all to introduce you to someone who will play an important role in the blog entries that follow. Let's call him Jeff. Jeff's job is to mark your exam papers. Let's take a moment to think about who he might be: Jeff will be marking a lot of exam papers. We're talking something [...]