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AQA English Language Paper 2 Question 1 (updated and animated)


In last year’s November resit paper, fewer
than half of the students entered achieved 4/4 in AQA English Language Paper 2 question 1. It’s supposed to be a simple question, but there are some hidden depths to it, and in
this video, I’ll teach you how to get 4 out of 4 in this potentially difficult question. In this video we’re looking at AQA English
Language Paper 2 question 1, which is a four mark question assessing the first bullet point
of Ao1: to identify and interpret explicit and
implicit information and ideas. Question 1 presents you with eight statements,
asking you to identify four which are true. Let’s look at a typical question, taken
from Mr Bruff’s guide to GCSE English Language, available in paperback on Amazon or eBook
at mrbruff.com Read source A from lines 1 to 25. Choose four
statements which are true. Shade the circles in the boxes of the statements
which are true. So the first simple tip is to draw a box around
the part of the text you’re being asked to take your answers from: in this case lines
1-25. Just make sure you do that carefully, and don’t strike through any actual lines
of text in the source, because you’re going to need to look back at this part of the text
when you’re working on other questions and you don’t want to find that you can’t
read some of the words. You might think this question is similar to
paper 1 question 1, but it is actually a bit harder, as it MAY require you to infer and
read between the lines. Let me show you what I mean by that:
Some of the true statements will be easy to find, like statement B: ‘Andrew Bruff makes
online video tutorials’. That’s easily identified as true from a reading of the line
in the source ‘He creates video tutorials for English language and literature, and uploads
them onto youtube.com/mrbruff’. But the correct statements are not always
as easy as that to find. Look at statement H: Liam Murphy makes a joke
to excuse his poor exam results. Now there is nowhere in the text that explicitly
says ‘Liam Murphy makes a joke to excuse his poor exam results’
What you have to do is read the line ‘I won’t tell you my exam results but, if I’d
gone to an all-boys’ school, I might have been a brain surgeon’, and actually infer
from that that a) this is a joke, and b) the joke is excusing his poor exam results. Now
that is true, but the point I’m making is that you have to read between the lines to
work it out. And there are other challenges too:
In the November 2018 resit paper, many students chose an incorrect statement which was worded
very similarly to a statement from the text. So the original text said something like ‘Speak
to most students who revise online, and you’ll discover that Youtube is their number one
website of choice for learning’ and one of the statements in the question was ‘Most
students revise online’. And you can see that the wording of the statement is very
similar to what it says in the text, but that’s not actually what the source is saying. The
statement is incorrect. The source doesn’t say that most students revise online, it makes
a statement about what most students who revise online do when they are there. And what happened
in the November 2018 exam, and what you need to make sure you avoid yourself, is many students
selected that statement as correct, and then just looked for three more correct statements.
The truth was that that statement was not correct, and there were therefore four more
correct statements to find. Now the exam board isn’t trying to catch
you out – a careful and close reading of the text is what A01 is all about, but this is
a good reminder to read the text very carefully. And you have time to do so:
The entire exam paper, just like with paper 1, is worth 80 marks, and the exam is a 1hr
45 minute exam. Now if you allow 15 minutes for reading the sources, you’re left with
90 minutes to achieve a possible maximum of 80 marks, which means you should spend around
1 minute per mark available on each question. So with question 1, you should spend around
five minutes on it. That’s more than enough time to read the eight statements, re-read
the section of the text in question, and carefully choose your answers.
Once you’ve found a correct statement, you need to shade the circle in the box next to
it. And here’s a very useful final tip: The
statements are always presented in the same chronological order as the text, so it should
be easy to check in a methodical and consistent way that you’ve identified the correct answers.
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