Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.
Question One – ‘The Facts’: Question 1 is by far the easiest question on the paper and a lovely way to kick off this exciting 2 hour and 15 minute exam. Question 1 will always be based on source 1 and is worth 8 marks. You should spend roughly 12 minutes writing this answer, allowing three minutes to read and annotate the text beforehand. You are usually given a rather optimistic three pages to write your answer in the booklet provided, but should aim to fill two at these (by all means fill all three if you have the handwriting of an ogre). The question will ask you to read and understand the source. It is testing your ability to retrieve information from the text and infer meaning from the language used. To achieve the highest marks, you must synthesise the information into your own language and support your summary of the article with quotations. In a nutshell, you are being asked to summarise the text in your own words, pointing out the subtle meaning. Although this is a fairly easy question, there are still a number of banana skins to fool you. Firstly, don’t overcomplicate your answer by treating this question like Question 4 – a language analysis questions. You should not be focussing on the rhetorical devices or descriptive language used and the effect this has on the reader. Nor should you comment on the headline, subheading and picture. Just provide a summary of the article in your own words and look for the subtle meaning. Handy Hints for Answering Question One:
- Summarise the whole article by making a variety of different points.
- Always use short quotations to support your point.
- Focus on the beginning, middle and end of the article and whether the tone remains the same throughout
- Don’t just re-write the text; make sure you summarise the information in your own words.
- Focus on any different perspectives in the article and explain which one the writer agrees with
- Examine any inconsistencies and contradictions in the article
- Focus on how the article develops; does the writer change their mind at any point?
What do we learn from Hyde article about where she has been and what she has been doing? From the article, written by Elizabeth Hyde, we learn that she went rafting on a ’13 day, 225-mile trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.’ In addition to this, she describes the trip as a ‘Disneyland’ like experience, emphasizing how she found it scary, yet ‘exhilarating’. On the trip, she was not only joined by her husband and three children, but 17 other strangers, who would be packed onto ‘6m rafts’ and squished in with ‘masses of gear’. Hyde describes how the group is eclectic, ranging from her teenage daughters to ‘a couple in their mid-70s’. We can infer from this that the trip would appeal to all ages, but only those looking for a once in a lifetime, ‘whit-knuckle’ experience. The fact she was with these strangers meant that she couldn’t be shy as they would be ‘eating, sleeping and bathing together’, thus a lack of privacy was one thing the group had to get used to. Despite this, the fact that they were on the water for ‘five to eight hours a day’ in ‘one of the most spectacular environments on earth’, we can infer that the group would share a range of fantastic memories ‘screaming with the thrill of the rafting experience’. Hyde also describes how helpful the ‘army of river guides were’ with regards to learning about the Grand Canyon. She describes the different geological features in detail with a comprehensive knowledge of the rock formation. Furthermore, she paints a picture in the reader’s mind of the ‘roller-coaster’ ride of the rapids where the passengers ‘perched on the side tubes’, adding a sense of danger. The article finally describes how she broke one of the charismatic and adventurous guide’s (Ed) rules: ‘to stay in the boat’. She explains how she was ‘ejected’ from the raft, ‘sucked down and spun around’ in the river before ‘being spat up towards the sunlight’. We can infer from the word ‘gasping’ that she was thrilled to be alive after such a terrifying experience. Overall, the experience of rafting down one of the ‘biggest rivers in North America’ is narrated with such passion and exhilaration, that the reader is left wanting to ‘run away and become a river guide’, just like Hyde.
Review of this exemplar: How many marks do you think this would achieve based on the criteria below? How many of the ‘handy hints’ have they included? How could they improve? Feel free to attempt this same question and post it in the ‘comments’ section below.
Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
Keep it simple,