Hello everyone! Below are some examination tips provided by fellow teacher blogger Mrs. Najia Z. Nazir. Her blog is http://nijheer.wordpress.com and is titled Words Infinitum. It is worth checking out particularly if you are in Grade 9 or Grade 10, or Year 11 and 12.
Examination Techniques Handout 1
Responding to the Poetry Section
The emphasis in poetry questions is on ‘how’ the poet communicates. Obviously ‘what ‘is being communicated is important, but candidates should not think that merely summarizing and paraphrasing the poem(s) will be sufficient for a satisfactory answer. Nor will merely giving a list of poetic devices, such as:’ this is an example of paraphrasing ‘,’this is a metaphor’. Candidates are being assessed on the extent to which they understand and can evaluate the effect of the use of a particular word or image or sound on the meaning and impact of the poem.
Candidates can approach the question ( as any question) by determining the key issues that they are asked to address.
Following are some of the actual examination questions for Literature in English 2010. Underline the keywords in each of them.
Comment on the ways in which Heaney presents the experience of grief in Mid- Term Break
Explore the ways in which the poet has used language and other poetic devices to present ideas in Rising Five and Mid-Term Break
How do Wordsworth’s words create the striking picture of a girl and illustrate the effect she has on the poet.
Comment on the ways in which changes in perspective between childhood and adulthood are explored in two of the following poems: Plenty, Rising Five, Little Boy Crying
Consider the significance of the ways in which women are presented in two of the following poems: Muliebrity, Plenty, She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways.
Explore how Heaney significantly portrays grief in Mid Term Break.
As you must have noticed, the questions direct candidates to consider the poet’s use of words: which require not merely a general overview or summary but detailed focus on that particular aspect of the poem. Hence this requires a strong personal response and invites selection of particular words and images.
It is therefore essential to plan the answer, to select the words and images that are particularly asked for in the question, and to explore their effects in depth. Quality is more important than quantity.
Phrasing of Poetry Questions
Essay type and Passage –based questions
- ‘Explore how/explore the ways’…the word ‘explore’ is used in a large proportion of poetry questions. It means more than/explain’. It is an invitation to probe as well as to examine, but most of all it requires an individual approach; what one person explores will not be the same as another. To explore these ways , sometimes the structure of the poem or language will be the tools to assist you .
- ‘memorable’, ’striking’,’ powerful’, ’unexpected’, are all words intended to trigger a strong response. Even if the question seems to be focusing on a specific topic, there will usually be some such stimulus somewhere in the question.
- Specific emotions such as ‘joy’, ’sadness’, ’anger’,’regret’ may be used to identify the tone or mood of specific poems and to give a specific angle to a question.
Compare or Contrast questions
Thematically linked, structurally similar or employing similar language attributes are the concern of such questions
- Consider the significance of the ways in which theme of ———–is presented in two of the following poems.
- Explore the ways in which the poet has used language and other poetic devices to present ideas in _____________ and __________