GCSE Tests and Mocks 
One Year on! 
A year on and my Year 10 and Year 11 students are taking their mocks and tests in preparation for their summer exams. Once again, stress levels are high. Tuition sessions are being cancelled or rescheduled to accommodate their revision timetable. 
What I have noticed with my Year 11's is the impact COVID had on their education last year. I tutor GCSE language and each student is struggling to get to grips with the 'language paper 1' questions. I’ve had to go back to basics- reading the text and analysing it to ensure they understand what the extracts are about. Once that process is completed, the next stage is getting them to summarise the text and identify what is relevant; this is not always as easy as it seems. Sometimes the text is very complex and the student interprets it incorrectly. 
Reading for pleasure was something I’ve always enjoyed; my dad and granddad were avid readers. Today however, not many students read outside of what they learn in the school curriculum. They read literature be it Macbeth, A Christmas Carol or Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, as it is required reading. There is so much more to read and learn and develop through a healthy reading attitude. Sadly a low level of reading does impact on how you interpret words and how you put situations into context. 
Language Features 
What are language features? A question about language features, form or structure is frequently asked in the language paper. Students need to understand what they are. 
Language features vary depending on the text you are reading and its meaning. It can encompass the target audience, the purpose of the text and the subject material. To be able to write a comprehensive answer to such a question you need to identify and understand the features in detail. 
This list is not exhaustive; many more can be added 
1. Adverbs 
2. Adjectives 
3. Allegory 
4. Alliteration 
5. Allusion 
6. Analogy 
7. Emotive language 
8. Dramatic irony 
9. Foreshadowing 
10. Homonym 
11. Imagery 
12. Hyperbole 
13. Mood and tone 
14. Metaphor 
15. Oxymoron 
16. Satire 
17. Symbolism 
Form and Features 
Forms and features seem to always perplex my students. The next stage of analysing this process is to get them to understand the difference between them. ‘Mood’ and ‘Tone’ are common examples as any extract sets a tone and mood to create a reaction from the reader. 
Mood and Tone 
The mood invokes certain emotions or feelings in the reader’s or audience’s mind, whereas the tone represents the attitude of the writer of the story. A certain tone in an extract about a child may reveal their vulnerability and defencelessness. An extract relating to a situation at work may reveal a person’s confidence and forthrightness. How is this identified? It may be through the use of certain words, phrases, punctuation and how the sentences are constructed. 
Language features help the reader relate to the text they are reading and identify different emotions. 
Have you ever read a book or watched a movie where you have been moved to tears? Think about the language features the author/director used to connect to you to create those emotions. 
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