An extract to whole text question – a quick guide

Reading Time: 2 minutes Introduction: What’s the writer’s message or purpose? End with a sentence linking the extract to the major theme of the question. E.g Through the character of Macbeth, Shakespeare explores the corrupting nature of power. In the extract, we see him at a crucial moment as he decides whether to be virtuous – or fulfil his ambition.  Paragraphs: 3-4 depending on time and length Use a writer – technique – theme/purpose structure to stay focused. E.g. Shakespeare uses the motif of seeing to represent the way Macbeth changes across the play. Or Shakespeare shows us Lady Macbeth’s thoughts to explore the way …

How to read a dystopian extract – what to look for

Reading Time: 3 minutes For a while now I’ve used the SCATI approach to dystopian wider reading, which I first read about here: https://jwpblog.com. Like most teaching approaches, I’ve evolved it a bit since then, and have also started to use it as a way to structure the GCSE question 4. As a revision exercise, I created a series of further points of ‘things to look for’ in dystopian fiction. Yes, it’s a checklist, but quite a large and varied one, or at least I think so. Given that close language analysis / writers’ methods is the dominant objective for this question, I think this kind …

What makes good writing? Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

Reading Time: 4 minutes In this series, I look at just a few sentences to get under the nuts and bolts of writing.

This post, it’s Frances Hardinge’s Skinful of Shadows*, which I’ve just finished.

When a creature dies, its spirit can go looking for somewhere to hide. Some people have space inside them, perfect for hiding. Makepeace, a courageous girl with a mysterious past, defends herself nightly from the ghosts which try to possess her. Then a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard for a moment. And now there’s a ghost inside her. The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, but it may be her only defence in a time of dark suspicion and fear. As the English Civil War erupts, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession – or death.

Revising for mocks – making the most of exam week

Reading Time: 5 minutes In this series, I’m looking at the ways get the most from mock exams, with practical steps to help you dial back the stress. Know your goals. Create a revision timetable 10 revision tips A good revision space  What to do during mocks (this post) Review, reflect, repeat Mock exams are there to help you. It’s a chance to practice in timed conditions – and often you don’t get much of that – and to see how you can do at that moment so you know what to work on. But exam weeks can be difficult; exams are close together, they …

The point of mocks – review, reflect, repeat

Reading Time: 4 minutes In this series, I’m looking at the ways get the most from mock exams, with practical steps to help you dial back the stress. Know your goals. Create a revision timetable 10 revision tips A good revision space What to do during mocks Review, reflect, repeat (this post) In this goal-setting post, I talked a bit about making sure you knew what you wanted to achieve. Now, when the mocks are done and you’ve had a week or two (hopefully!) you’ll be getting the results and finding out how well your strategies worked. You should go over papers and strategies …

Revising for mocks – a good revision space

Reading Time: 5 minutes In this series, I’m looking at the ways get the most from mock exams, with practical steps to help you dial back the stress. Know your goals. Create a revision timetable 10 revision tips A good revision space (this post) What to do during mocks Review, reflect, repeat A good revision space is important. You’re trying to do difficult things, and you need somewhere that you can focus. This post is about what that looks and feels like. Let’s start straight off by saying that this post is about ideal spaces. It won’t be practical for everybody, especially if you share …