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English Department - Advice H & Int 2

Last Minute Advice

Thanks to Mrs Thomson for providing the advice below.

Last minute advice for Higher/Int 2 candidates

Close Reading

The link question (2 marks)
Do not just re-write what is in the paragraph. You must make clear that you understand what is being said. You have been taught that this question can be broken down into four ½ marks. If you show understanding of the passage and don’t quote, you will be awarded ½. If you quote but do not show understanding, you will be awarded 0.

Imagery questions

Remember imagery is about pictures (see above). You must explain the picture created.  In these questions you must show that you understand the literal reference. (E.g. in the 2004 paper, the question on the pendulum required you to state that a pendulum is something that moves from one extreme to the other with no mid-point.)  Then you should explain how this image works figuratively. It is essential that you show the CONNECTION between the literal and figurative.


Many candidates waste time in analysis questions by paraphrasing, rather than analysing.  Remember you are being asked to show HOW a feature has an impact. In general you must state the feature, quote then comment. You are only given marks for your comment but you must do all three.  You must the connection between the quote and your comment.

Comparison question
You are advised to read this question BEFORE you begin reading the passages. This is so that you can be building up ideas for this answer as you work through the paper. You should be aiming to write a mini essay in this question. Do not answer in bullet points here.
Material from previous answers is acceptable IF it is relevant to the question.

Critical Essays

  • The 2nd line of the question is the most important.  It is this that should drive your answer.
  • Assume the examiner knows your text well. This will keep your plot retelling to a minimum.
  • Know lots about your text but do not write it all in your answer. Only include the relevant points.
  • Make sure your answer refers to the text as a whole. Do not just list techniques.
  • If you answer an essay question from the wrong section, you will be penalised for it. The number of marks you lose will depend on how much of an advantage that question has given you.
  • Relevance to the question is the key point in critical essay writing. Do not write a prepared essay.
  • In evaluation, you do not have to say “I think…”, “I loved…” etc. Your evaluation will come out of the way you are discussing the text.
  • Remember technical accuracy is important. If your essay is technically weak, it can only gain a maximum of 11.

Good Luck!


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

 N. McIlvanney 2012