Popular Topics

KA Worldwide
Library Resource Centre
Kilmarnock & UK News
Famous Former Pupils
Health & Fitness
Leisure & Lifestyle
Today's Weather
School Calendar


National 5 English - Critical Essay Preparation

1. Read the texts again. Know them really well.

2. For each text, work on your summary. It should cover the main story/events and should show some global understanding of the central concerns or the spirit and "essence" of the text. It should also exhibit real quality in terms of fluency and expression.

3. For each text, compile and learn a list of themes. As well as main themes include some less obvious themes as they will individualise your answer and demonstrate that you have real insight and perception.

4. For each text, compile and learn a list of techniques and points of style as well as structure. This should include learning appropriate quotes and comments on their effect. (Relevant to what? Relevant to the themes, concerns and message of the text.)

5. Analyse sample and past papers. This is called "exam preparation". While there are no N5 past papers, the Int 1 Critical Essay past paper questions are broad and fairly open - similar to the N5 Critical Essay questions.

What you should look for: question topics and types; recurring question types; question terminology you may be unclear about.

6. Write plans or skeleton answers for (a lot of) past paper questions.

7. When you have done all of the above, write out a full (untimed) answer. Check over it. It should:
 be relevant to the question
be well expressed, fluent, clear and correct
cover a range and variety of relevant points
include evidence and quotes (with analysis/comment) to support your points
identify and comment on aspects of style and technique
have continuity as well as a clear and logical structure

8. Now that you know what to do and are doing the right things - practise. Do a timed Critical Essay. Below is an extract from an SQA specimen paper. As exam practice, think of how you would answer each of the two questions.

National 5 English - Critical Essay

                                      SECTION 2 — CRITICAL ESSAY — 20 marks

Attempt ONE question from this Section of the paper choosing from the following genres — Drama, Prose, Poetry, Film and Television Drama, or Language.

You may use a Scottish text but NOT the one you used in Section 1.

Your essay should be on a different GENRE to the one you chose in Section 1.

You should spend about 45 minutes on the essay.

Answers to questions on Prose should refer to the text and to such relevant features as characterisation, setting, language, key incident(s), climax, turning point, plot, structure, narrative technique, theme, ideas, description . . .

 3. Choose a novel or a short story or a work of non-fiction which explores an important theme.

By referring to appropriate techniques, show how the author has explored this theme.

 4. Choose a novel or a short story in which the author creates a fascinating character.

By referring to appropriate techniques, show how the author has created this character and why you found him/her so fascinating.

e-mail : english@kilmarnockacademy.co.uk                                                 tel: 01563 525509