Level Three English
Teacher: Sean Hawthorne
Revision Techniques
Good study strategies are those that involve as many “brain” activities at
the same time as possible. e.g writing and speaking at the same time
or reading and writing at the same time or reading and speaking at the
same time.
Good study strategies also involve “active” rather than “passive” activities.
You should be “doing” something with what you are trying to learn. e.g.
re-writing essays rather than just reading them; improving existing
essays; trying out new questions you haven’t tried before; self-testing
your memory of quotes and terms.
Good strategies may seem “harder” than other strategies but the time
spent on them is much more worth while. e.g. spending 1 hour reading
over notes may be an “easy” strategy to use but 1 hour spent rewriting
the notes, or summarising them is going to be much more effective.
It takes most people between 3-9 times of going over a new concept or
learning a new skill or word to actually ‘learn’ it. Don’t think you have
learnt something until you have self-tested yourself a day or two later
and know the answer.
Revision Techniques
Re-reading the texts and summarising
Summarising my notes into my own
Learning quotes/terms by self-testing
strategies (eg flash cards, quizzes)
Researching answers to questions
Studying by asking myself or my friends
exam questions
Practising old exam questions
Planning essay answers
Looking for quotes for different questions
Writing out full essays on new topics
Re-reading the texts
Reading over my notes
Reading exemplar essays
Learning terms by reading over not
Learning quotes by reading over notes
Watching the video of the text
Level Three Response to Texts
Assessment Schedule (2005)
Develop a critical response
to written text(s), using
supporting evidence.
Achievement with Merit
Achievement with
Develop a critical response
to written text(s) that
integrates supporting
evidence and shows
perceptive understanding.
Develop a critical response
to written text(s) that
integrates supporting
evidence and demonstrates
sustained insight.
Level 3 - Achievement Answers
An answer that achieves will:
Develop a critical response to
relevant text(s)
evidenced by:
・ recognisable essay structure
・ attention to, but maybe narrow interpretation of the question,
possibly unbalanced and / or undeveloped [it will address the
・ satisfactory organisation but with stylistic inconsistencies ・
conventional / pedestrian / learned response.
using supporting evidence
evidenced by:
・ familiarity with text(s)
・ attempts to support points with appropriate evidence
・ engagement with text(s)
・ some specific references to text(s) linked to discussion of the
Level 3 - Merit Answers
An answer that achieves with Merit
Develop a critical response to
relevant text(s)
evidenced by:
a carefully structured essay
・ maturity of expression and thinking
・ answering the question; being clear in argument
・ keeping to the question
・ some occasional irrelevancies and / or clumsiness.
that integrates supporting
evidenced by:
・ use of quotation and reference / detail to reinforce points made in
response to the question
・ use of appropriate terminology with ease and accuracy
・ knowledge of and familiarity with the text
・ quote weaving efforts that may be inelegant (or not present).
that shows perceptive
evidenced by:
・ some maturity and perception
・ suggestion of inferences based on personal understanding and
awareness of themes, craft and purpose, etc.
Level 3 - Excellence Answers
An answer that achieves with
Excellence will:
Develop a critical response to text(s)
evidenced by:
・ a lucid essay with introduction giving scope and focus, a range of
accurate and relevant points (with accurate referencing), a reasoned
conclusion and generally accurate use of writing conventions
・ coherent and balanced argument and judgement.
that integrates supporting evidence
evidenced by:
・ quote weaving
・ accurate referencing
・ accurate use of terminology
・ generous and apt detail in support of relevant points
・ accurate and comprehensive knowledge of text(s).
and demonstrates sustained insight
evidenced by:
・ maturity and perception in evaluating text(s) in terms of the question
・ demonstration of some original insights and judicious personal
response to the text(s), and may be moving beyond the text(s) in
・ presentation of own position as reader.
Level 3 - Essay Introductions
 Should be about four sentences
 Include key words from the question
 Write the name of the author and underline the
title of the text
 Outline the points you will cover in the essay
 Contain a clear view point in response to the
 Impress the marker with a mature vocabulary
Introduction Examples
To what extent do you agree that novels use a clash of opposites to present ideas? Discuss.
In the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, author Ken Kesey makes strong use of a clash of opposites to convey his
views on society. As a “protest novel”, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is essentially a criticism of society’s
tendency to repress individuality and natural expressions of sexuality. These ideas are expressed through contrasts of
characters such as the protagonist McMurphy, the antagonist Nurse Ratched, the other patients of the psychiatric ward
where the novel is set and different types of female characters.
To what extent do you agree that plays are written to teach us about ordinary people and their moral dilemmas?
According to Marion Starkey, the Salem witch trials of 1692 are “an allegory of our times”. Arthur Miller’s play The
Crucible, with its strong and perceptive insight into the moral dilemmas of ordinary people, clearly illustrates the truth
of this statement. 1692 in Salem was a trying time for all involved, with accusations of witchcraft rife, and fear in the
ari: it is a t dark times like these that peoples principles and moral standings are stretched - sometimes to breaking
point - and much can be learnt of the nature of moral dilemmas in a play such as The Crucible, set during the such
turmoil. Miller use the hardship present in 1692 and in his play to teach ordinary people - of any era - about such
timeless issues as whether one should conform or break away from society, the causes and implications of
scapegoating and the importance of name.
Essay Body Paragraphs
Open each paragraph with topic sentences which show a clear point of view and
which relate directly to the question.
After each statement support it with several examples which are thoroughly
explained. Use quotes and specific details from the text.
Consider writer/director’s purpose.
Focus on techniques - aspects of the writer/director’s craft. Use correct terminology.
Incorporate relevant biographical, historical, or contextual information that relates to
your topic and shows an appreciation of the purpose of the text, author.
Relate the text and its ideas/characters to contemporary society - why is it worth
studying? What does it have to ‘teach’ us today?
Consider the effect on you/us - what do we as readers get out of the text?
Evaluate the effectiveness of the text, examples, in achieving the author’s purpose
and/or in relation to the question.
Incorporate awareness of literary criticism and elements of genre through the body
Mature vocabulary and varied sentence structure adds interest and ‘life’ to an essay.
T - topic
E - examples
E - explanation
P - purpose
E - effect
E - evaluation
Level 3 - Four Level Guide
Level 1
“on the line”
Factual level of understanding
Aim: to accurately identify key and relevant information/ideas explicitly stated in the text. Shown through use of
specific quotes and details from the text to support your points.
Level 2
“between the lines”
Interpretative level of understanding
Aim: to reflect on and interpret the information, to pick up the inferences in the text and to draw conclusions from the
text. Shown by evaluative comments and personal response.
Level 3
“beyond/behind the lines”
Applied level of understanding
Aim: to apply the content of the text to broader situations of generalisations beyond the text, but related to, or
generated from, the text. Show by comments that link ideas from the text to other societal contexts, characters or
Level 4
“critic element”
Critical level of understanding
Aim: to show detailed appreciation of the crafting and purpose of the author/director as well as awareness of how the
text exhibits or develops aspects of the genre it is from. Shown by references to critics of the work/genre, reference to
techniques used by the author and evaluative comments about the place/worth of this text as an example of its genre.
3.2 Novel Example
The idea of the importance of sexuality is furthered by Kesey’s presentation of female
characters in the novel. Women in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest are presented as either of
two contrasting types - those who express their sexuality freely and help men to assert their
masculinity, and those who deny men their sense of manhood. Of this later type, Nurse
Ratched is the most obvious example; but we also find that Vera Harding brings down her
husband by making him feel inadequate, when she says “O Dale, you never do have enough, do
you?” Billy Bibbit is a second example of this - both his mother and Nurse Ratched treat him
as a child, denying him the right to manhood. These types of women are contrasted with the
characters of the two prostitutes, Candy and Sandy, who express their femininity freely. Candy
helps Billy Bibbit achieve “manhood” by sleeping with him - this is portrayed as a positive
thing by his loss of stutter directly afterwards. Thus, through this clash of opposite types of
women, Kesey suggests that the role of women in society is to be explicitly ‘feminine’ and help
men assert their masculinity. He says women must deny their womanhood in order to fulfill
roles of power and that they are likely to become tyrannical as a result. This was Kesey’s
answer to the uprising of feminism that was occurring at the time of his writing.
NZATE Exemplar Book pg 92
3.2 Angela’s Ashes Example
In Angela's Ashes McCourt holds to narrative convention and tells the story from a first
person perspective, using his own voice and thoughts to recount the events of his
childhood. However, McCourt differs from other autobiographers in the fact that the "voice"
he has chosen to use is not that of an experienced man looking back on his childhood.
Instead it is the voice of the child itself: McCourt as a young boy. This technique is used
deliberately by McCourt to give the reader a strong trust in the themes that Frank is
communicating. Equally important in telling the story, however, are the things that Frank
does not think about or fails to understand. For example in one of the opening passages of
the book: "Malachy goes down…. There's blood. Oh, God. Blood is bad. My mother will kill
me." In this example the sentences are very simple, reflecting a child's simple thought
processes. To young Frank McCourt blood is simply bad because it means that his mother
will be angry, but the reader can think and understand more than young Frank can, and
understands the reasons why Frank's mum will be angry at him: namely that he was
supposed to be looking after his brother at the time and that her anger at Frank will mainly
be comprised of distress for Malachy. The use of the simple syntax and vocabulary is
effective in developing McCourt’s narrative voice and the complexity of expression develops
as Frank ages. Often in Angela's Ashes it is not what Frank is doing or thinking that is
important as much as ‘how’ it is narrated. Instead, important themes are communicated to
the reader by how Frank's acceptance of them or his inability to understand contrasts
sharply with modern, or adult, views on the same themes.
Wasan Forsyth 2006
3.3 Othello Example
Despite establishing Othello as the sympathetic protagonist, Shakespeare continues to
depict the all-encompassing fury of this tragic hero, as he becomes convinced that Cassio
has "Done thy service" (as Iago believes Othello has done his). Iago's vicious and
continually more explicit suggestions of Desdemona's adultery drive him mad. "Jealousy
consumes my innards like a poisonous mineral," Othello rages, cursing Desdemona as a”
strumpet" and slandering her "Excellent, excellent wretch!" It is only a result of
Shakespeare's previous establishment of Othello as "of a true,loving nature" that the
audience continues to relate to him. According to Leavis, though himself critical of this
interpretation, Bradley sees Othello as "a nearly faultless hero whose strength and virtue are
turned against him." The tragedy is not simply jealousy, but that it was his love that created
an equally intense hate. Shakespeare is conscious of crafting the message that the two
emotions are closely intertwined. Othello himself acknowledges this: "Of one who loved not
wisely, but too well." His passion, abused, is what kills Desdemona. Sympathising with
Othello, the audience sees that he is "perplexed in the extreme" by jealousy due to his love
for Desdemona tied with the malicious cunning of Iago. His reaction is not necessarily of
detriment to his character. Instead what the audience sees is that jealousy is a wretched
emotion, and as the worldly Emilia says, "Tis a monster, Begot upon itself, born on itself."
Shakespeare's insight into the human psyche is a universal message, as relevant to modern
society as it was to that of Elizabethan times.
Hannah Clark 2006
3.4 American Beauty Example
Another method of ensuring the integration of the storylines and thus the unity of the film is the
number of parallels and echoes in action and characters. Lester tells us in his opening voice-over that
he "is dead already"; Fitts' wife Barbara – an even greater casualty of the 'American Dream' – is
almost catatonic, a clear parallel with Lester. Lester is shown several times from an overhead shot as
he lies in bed; this shot will be used also for Jane and Ricky near the end, and the final montage
includes several overhead shots. In the climactic scenes, Lester says to the Colonel, "Just tell me
what you need." He uses similar words to Angela a few minutes later: "So... are you going to tell
me? What you want?" Both Fitts and Angela make advances to Lester, who rejects both, equally
gently and compassionately, both approaches having been the result of mistaken ideas. Mendes
consciously develops his characters and storylines through these parallels and repetitions in the
action. Another significant parallel action involves several characters stripping. Carolyn strips to her
petticoat to clean the house she hopes to sell; Lester strips completely to see what he has to offer
Angela; and later, in a tender and beautifully erotic scene, Jane stands at her window and removes
her bra to give herself to Ricky. Later he is comfortably nude as he films, and is filmed by, Jane.
With these scenes Mendes places the viewer in a privileged position as we have more information
about the characters than they have of each other. We get to see these moments of vulnerability in
the characters to make us empathise with them more. By doing this Mendes subtley develops his
themes and ideas, as well as making the film feel coherent and unified.
Adapted from Jo Morris Essay
Essay Planner Grid
Questions Key
Topic Sentence
Point One
Point Two
Point Three
Point Four (?)
Examples &
Examples/Quotes &
Specific Details
Purpose & Effect
Author’s Purpose &
Beyond the text & Lit
Crit element
Comment Banks
As well as learning quotes and examples you
should develop comment banks/ phrase banks for
different aspects of T.E.E.P.E.E.
i.e. comments for mentioning author’s purpose, or
author’s use of techniques and craft, or referencing
critics or authors, or comments to link points and
ideas etc.
Work together with others doing your text to do
this. Look at exemplar essays and find useful
phrases and examples.
3.5 - Unfamiliar Texts
There are eight questions.
Three questions offer opportunities for Achievement only.
The remaining five questions provide opportunities for Achievement, Achievement with
Merit, or Achievement with Excellence.
Grades can credit down so 3A plus 1M is Achievement.
Achievement with Merit
Achievement with Excellence
Respond critically to ideas and
language features.
Respond critically and perceptively
to ideas and language features.
Respond critically, with sustained
and detailed insight, to ideas and
language features.
A candidate must show 4 pieces of
evidence of meeting the criterion
for Achievement.
A candidate must show 2 pieces of
evidence of meeting the criterion
for Achievement plus 2 pieces of
evidence meeting the criterion for
Achievement with Merit.
A candidate must show 2 pieces of
evidence of meeting the criterion
for Achievement plus 1 piece of
evidence of meeting the criterion
for Achievement with Excellence.
2  A plus 2  M
2  A plus 1  E
3.5 Strategies to Use/Develop
I have trouble
understanding the
[a] Read both the poem and the passage through once. The poem and the passage
will be related to the same topic in some way. Could be contrasting ideas or different
ways of viewing the same ideas - but they WILL be related. If you understand the
passage it may help you to understand how the poem relates to it.
[b] Read the poem for its “literal” or “obvious” and “surface” meaning first before you
look for “figurative” meanings. This will help you not to get carried away with seeing
things that aren’t there. Stay “real”.
[c] Stanzas (verses) of poems are like paragraphs in prose passages. That is they will
be on different “topics” or “ideas” or “images”. Look for the reasons why the poet has
divided the poem into sections the way that he/she has - it will show a progression of
ideas or images - just like an essay. All the “paragraphs” will combine together to
‘prove’ a point.
[d] If you’re still having trouble the next thing is to read each line very carefully - word
by word - and think about the connotations of words used and repeated ideas or images
that come up in a stanza or the poem as a whole. The poet has chosen these words for
a reason - why this word in this place?
[e] Read the poem “aloud” in your head to help you to “hear” the rhythm and pace and
pauses and sound effects the poem creates. You should practise this at every
3.5 Strategies continued…
I have trouble
writing about the
“effects” of the
language devices.
[a] No easy solution here. This depends on being able to relate the effect of the device
and example back to the context and overall meaning/purpose of the passage.
In general any device used will be attempting to show an idea or image in a new way to bring the qualities of either image or sound to the idea being expressed.
This can be hard to explain sometimes.
Examples of imagery - ie simile, metaphor, personification etc can be easier to explain
than sound devices. Just because alliteration is easy to find - it may not be the best to
talk about because explaining the effect can be hard.
I can never explain
what the tone of a
passage is.
[a] Make sure you’ve done the suggestions for how to understand a poem first.
[b] Understand that tone is about the emotional feeling or mood of a piece of writing. It
conveys the author’s attitude to the subject matter. Tone may not be obvious.
[c] Firstly, identify “emotive” words that are used in the text and decide what “mood” or
“connotations” these have. 1st clue.
[d] Secondly, look at the overall meaning of the piece and then see how these words
link back to that meaning. 2nd clue.
[e] Repeated words or ideas are likely to be the most important ones and should also
be a clue to tone.
3.5 Strategies continued…
I don’t know the
terms. I can’t
find them in the
text’s and I can’t
explain why
they’ve been
[a] You must learn the terms and definitions through self-testing of memory. There are
several hundred possible terms. Obviously you can’t learn them all.
Choose about 25 - 30 terms. Self-test yourself 3* a week for between 10-20 mins at a
time 10 terms at a time.
Don’t include terms like simile, metaphor, alliteration etc which you (should) already
Choose a range of terms/devices from: Syntax ones; Figurative language ones;
Sound device ones; language ones. Your teacher has likely given you a list. Learn as
many of these as you can.
[b] Practise identifying terms and asking questions about anything you read. ie while
you’re reviewing literature notes, re-reading books, learning science, reading the
If you are reading and NEVER ask yourself the question about what technique is this?
what effect does this have? how does this link to the meaning of the text? are there
any patterns of imagery? etc - you’ll never be testing or reinforcing your knowledge.
You must practise!
3.5 Strategies continued…
I can’t write about
syntax elements
[a] As above - learn the definitions of different types of sentences and ways of ordering
words. What effects do different types of sentences have. Self-test yourself.
[b] Practise identifying types of syntax in anything you read. (as above). You’ve got to
ask yourself the questions to think about it - how else can you expect to learn it?
I find it hard to
write about and
identify the
similarities and
between the
poems and the
prose passages or between parts
of the poem or
prose (I.e
beginning vs end
[a] Ideas. Look at the ideas in the two passages first. You are probably better at
discussing and identifying similarities and differences in the ideas of the two texts than in
[b] Tone. Consider the “tone” of the two passages. They are likely to be different. How
and why?
[c] Imagery. Is there any common or contrasting imagery being used? Does one piece
use more imagery than the other?
[d] Style. How are the two passages divided up? Do they both fall into sections? How
do the sections relate or differ? Are there types of words or ways of using words that
relate or are different between the passages?
[e] Syntax. How are the words actually organised and ordered between the two pieces?
Any patterns that emerge? Punctuation - how is this used in the pieces?
[f] Diction. What types of words/vocabulary are chosen or used? Verbs? Adjectives?
Past tense vs Present tense? Emotive words or clinical/detached language etc.
Consider how they are similar or different between the two passages.
3.5 Strategies continued…
F.E.E or Q.T.E
This forms the foundation of every answer in unfamiliar texts
F - feature/technique
E - example(s) - quote words & phrases
E - effect - explain the effect of the examples
and the use of the technique
(Q.T.E. = quote, technique, effect)
3.5 Merit & Excellence Answers
To gain Achieved you usually need to ‘do’ “F.E.E.” once, and to gain a Merit you need
to do it two or three times - accurately.
For Excellence it is both the number (usually three) and quality, of features, examples
and explanations of effect that make the difference. Being able to identify and comment
accurately on aspects of ‘syntax’ or ‘form’ is also considered more difficult than being
able to identify figures of speech (metaphors, alliteration etc) and thus is more likely to
enable you to get ‘Excellence’. Also - as in essays - being able to ‘weave’ discussion of
techniques with author’s purpose and how the reader responds lifts the answer up a bit
2005 Criteria:
Achieved = Literal
- On the Line - factual/accurate identification
Merit = Relational
- Between the Lines - how examples & techniques relate to and build on each other
Excellence = Evaluative/Interpretive
- Beyond the Line - evaluating effectiveness in terms of author’s purpose and as a reader
responding to the text
3.5 - 2004 Exemplar Answer
5. Describe the
effects achieved
by the
combination of
the following
phrases to
describe the flat
in lines 4-9.
“breezy window
sashes”, “out of
Identifies the
rickety, ramshackle,
unstable nature of
the flat; it is not like
a home.
Links the
ramshackle or
unstable idea to
boats and sailing
and the instability
of winds and sails.
Explains the metaphor more
fully through picking up on the
colloquial / cumulative effects
of the combination.
“The scrim blows out from the
wall like a sail as it is so
draughty. The window frames
are also battered by the wind;
in fact, the wind seems to
nearly blow the house away.
The frames are not aligned with
the floor, and you canユt open
or close the windows.
Everything is lop-sided,
moving, broken, in a state of
flux, affected like the students,
by the outside world.”
Cannot just

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