19 Feb 2014

Foundation Practice Paper GCSE English OCR, WJEC

Get practice papers for English Language Exams in June 2014. 

Whether you're doing English or English Language GCSE, it's the same exam paper.

The exam boards' websites are usually a nightmare to navigate so here are some quick links. These are for Foundation, which is up to grade C:

January 2013 Question Paper + Reading Booklet + Mark Scheme
June 2012 Question Paper + Reading Booklet + Mark Scheme
January 2012 Question Paper + Reading Booklet + Mark Scheme
WJECNovember 2012 part one Reading + part two Writing

This advice is to help you with the WJEC English GCSE foundation level paper:

Question one is about facts. BEWARE: don’t copy huge chunks word for word. You can use blocks of 1-2 words though. In fact, you’ll probably need to. Don’t take any more than this, though.
Clue: to find facts, look for numbers or words like ‘several’, ‘many people’ etc.
Words like: can, could, should, ought, might, would, etc, are used for possibilities so are not necessarily true (facts).

If you are asked to explain the effects of words from the article, pick words you understand. Here is an example:
unsightly > this suggests it’s too horrible to look at
danger > this suggests it could hurt you.
injury > this suggests that you could end up in hospital.
decline > this suggests that the feel of it will go downhill, or, it will get worse
unsafe > thus suggests that you could be in danger.
vulnerable > this suggests you could feel quite exposed to danger

For the long, fourteen mark questions, it helps to organise your answer into bullet points: if you can find fourteen bullet points, brilliant! Make sure you don’t quote huge chunks, again. But you can use some of the words in the article: 1-2 is fine.

Notice that you may find two or three separate points in the same sentence:
e.g. ‘damage was caused to cars and many people had to go to hospital on the day, and for several months afterwards

Use the mark-scheme to check your work. This way you will learn what the examiners are looking for. It is the best way to raise your grade.

Questions Three and Four
Use phrases like:
as if
this suggests
he uses
this makes it feel like
this shows that / to show that

Question Three
This is about headline and picture. Comment on colours, shapes, contrasts and make sure you’ve read the article so you know what effect the writer is trying to create. Effect is about mood, how the writer wants the reader to feel.

Here is part of an example answer I wrote for question three January 2013
The picture of Britain as a disgusting black rubbish bag suggests the nation is covered in rubbish, which takes a proud thing like the map of Britain and makes us ashamed. There’s tons of rubbish in the background as if we’re totally surrounded. This is also shown in the two pictures below. One is country, one is city and both show views of rubbish as far as the eye can see. What’s really shocking is the country is worst and we would expect this to be beautiful. Red is used in shocking facts and in the star which creates a mood of urgent danger to facts like the cost £150m cost of something as small as chewing gum, and that ‘half’ of the nation throws rubbish out of cars. The little photo of a man taking gum off his shoe is disgusting as he’s touching something yucky with his hand.

Question Four
You might like to comment on:
harsh or violent sounds ‘pock-marked’ … this suggests
gentle or soft sounds
onomatopoeia: crash, boom, bang, plop: the onomatopoeia of ‘plop’ makes it feel like it’s dropped from a great height
CONTRASTS: positves and negatives

Here is part of an example answer which I wrote for question four January 2013.
Bill Bryson feels passionate about the beauty of the English countryside: he uses strong positives like ‘nowhere more lovely’. But he’s horrified by the devastation caused by litter using strong negatives like ‘ruining the landscape’ as if it is being destroyed. He uses strong emotive words like ‘we should be ashamed’, and the word ‘we’ makes it feel like he’s including all of us. He says litter has increased ‘relentlessly’ as if it’s a powerful force that can’t be stopped and the statistic that it’s increased ‘500%’ is huge, and he uses the word ‘whopping’ to show how appalled he is by this. In places he uses block capitals - like in the statistic 500% and in the word ‘ZERO” to show that nothing is being done. He says some people won’t get into trouble. EVER. He even puts it in a sentence on its own as well to emphasise how shocked he is. 
The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.                                                                                  

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