Assessment This is an external standard, sat under examination conditions. You will not

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  • This is an external standard, sat under examination conditions. You will not be able to take your notes into the examination.

  • You will be given a booklet containing a choice of questions and space to plan and write your essay.

  • You must write your essay in the correct answer booklet for your chosen text, use the 2.1 booklet for this standard.

  • You will write one essay of at least 350 words by choosing from a list of about eight different questions.

  • Typically each question will have two parts. The first part will ask you how an aspect of the text was shown and the second part will ask you to explain and evaluate why or how this aspect was effective. You must answer each part of the question.

  • You will have the entire three hour slot to write your answer!! You would normally only have about 60 minutes to complete this standard. You can divide your time like this:

    • plan – 10 minutes

    • write – 40-45 minutes

    • proofread – 5-10 minutes.

Key tips

  • Use exemplars or examples of student work as a model for your own answers.

  • Make sure the writing is your own. You may not use or repeat material from exemplars or samples, or work written by other students.

  • Read the text at least twice from beginning to end.

  • Practise planning and writing essays of 400 - 500 words within the time limit.

  • Choose a question that suits your text and that you understand fully.

  • Answer the question by applying your knowledge rather than memorising essays.

  • Use keywords in the question to help focus your answer and to link back to the question at the end of each paragraph.

  • Plan your answer and select appropriate evidence to support your points.

  • Answer all parts of the question.

  • Memorise quotations so they are accurate.

  • Respond to the question by explaining what the text made you think about.

  • Demonstrate a wider knowledge of the text by showing how each aspect of the text relates, connects, and influences the other.

  • Make sure you use the correct answer booklet.

  • To help make your meaning clear it is important to aim for quality writing and to check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.


Analyse specified aspect(s) of studied written text(s), supported by evidence.

Make sure you:

  • brainstorm your answer so you focus on the question not the plot

  • include the title and author in the introduction

  • state at least one central idea or argument in the introduction, to be discussed in 4–5 clear paragraphs, and your final thoughts presented in a conclusion

  • answer all parts of the question by addressing the question throughout the essay

  • structure paragraphs by using a topic sentence, explanation, and example(s) from the text

  • use accurate quotations, examples, and details from the text to support your analysis of the text

  • identify how the text makes you feel or what it made you think about

  • write 350–400 words.

Achievement with Merit

Analyse specified aspect(s) of studied written text(s) convincingly, supported by evidence.

Make sure you:

  • reach Achievement

  • directly and fully answer the question using relevant quotations and details from text to reinforce your points

  • frequently use appropriate terminology to examine features accurately and confidently

  • show a strong knowledge of the text and begin to integrate quotations to convincingly discuss and analyse ideas

  • thoroughly examine aspects of the text and begin to make conclusions about writer's purpose

  • clearly analyse how certain effects, ideas, and elements are presented and why they were presented in that particular way

  • examine how language has been used to shape the reader's point of view

  • consider how two or more elements within the text work together to create an effect

  • think independently and show an appreciation of how theme, craft, and author’s purpose are connected across the text(s)

  • make relevant and mature conclusions based on personal response and understanding

  • write 400-500 words clearly, confidently, and logically.

Achievement with Excellence

Analyse specified aspect(s) of studied written text(s) perceptively, supported by evidence.

Make sure you:

  • reach Achievement with Merit

  • show how all elements of the text (plot, structure, setting, character, and craft) work together to support the writer's themes and purpose

  • develop an intelligent and mature response or argument around the text and the question, possibly using comparison and contrast

  • consistently evaluate the effectiveness of how language techniques have been used to communicate a message

  • use appropriate vocabulary confidently, accurately and consistently to explain your ideas connected to the writer's purpose, text type and craft

  • use insightful analysis to make mature or original observations and respond personally to the text and make relevant links to different contexts outside of the text

  • write 400-500 words fluently, purposefully and logically with some originality.

Previous Exam Questions

1. Analyse how the strong personal voice of a narrator or writer helped you to understand a theme in the written text(s).

2. Analyse how the language used intensified the message of the written text(s).

3. Analyse how a main character or individual in the written text(s) was influenced by another for a particular purpose.

4. Analyse how a section of the written text(s) showed purposeful development of a theme.

5. Analyse how a writer purposefully created first impressions of a character or individual in the written text(s) to deceive or surprise the reader.

6. Analyse how a conflict was used to explore a theme in the written text(s).

7. Analyse how the beginning and / or ending of the written text(s) demonstrated the writer’s purpose.

8. Analyse how the structure or organisation of the written text(s) affected your understanding of the theme(s).

9. Analyse how an internal and/or external conflict was explored in the written text(s).

Note: “internal conflict” means conflict within a character, and “external conflict” means conflict between a character and other individual(s) or group(s).

Examples: Introductions, paragraphs and conclusions

Note: These are from different essays – but do give you the idea of what an introduction, paragraph and conclusion will look like. Some of these could be improved but they show you the basics of how to do it.

Example Introductions:

Many negative emotions stir through your mind while you read either of Wilfred Owen’s “Disabled” or “Dulce et Decorum est.” Horror, fear and all other negative emotions that are evoked in the reader cause them to view war as a bad thing, as it is the closest thing to a first-hand experience of war that most readers will have had. These negative emotions are achieved by Owen with effective use of language features such as similes, negative connotations, imagery and even monosyllabic wording.

The idea of war and devastation is strongly portrayed through the writer’s use of language techniques in the poems “The Gunner’s Lament” and “A Bucket of Blood for a Dollar” by James K. Baxter. The use of these techniques enabled the author to convincingly develop his thoughts and vivid views of the corruption and suffering involved in the Vietnam War.

Example Paragraphs:

In “Dulce et Decorum est”, imagery is the language feature that stands out, as it is used so prominently by Owen as a method of conveying the emotions of horror and fear to the readers. This imagery included similes, for example, “his hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin.” This implies that the face of one of Owen’s fellow soldiers and perhaps even his friends was so dehumanised and gruesome that even the devil, a symbol of evil, would be disgusted by it. Another emotion that is felt from “Dulce et Decorum est” is helplessness, which is heavily implied during the first stanza, using negative connotations; “trudge… towards our distant rest”. The word “trudge” makes readers imagine that it wasn’t just a walk, the soldiers were “drunk with fatigue” and every step required enormous effort and power, which eventually leads them to their graves. “Distant rest” contributes strongly to the helplessness of the soldiers, which is also felt by the reader, as it makes us picture them fighting with all their power to reach their destination, only to end up killed. This also brings a sense of dishonour, which is further conveyed to the reader in stanza three, when they “flung him in” the wagon. The word “flung” suggests a lack of respect received by the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for their country. Owen is angry that soldiers were life to by propaganda poets such as Jessie Pope, who guilt-tripped men to enlist through her highly jingoistic poetry. His use of similes and negative connotations to reveal the true horrors of world war one warfare stirs negative emotions in his readers, and a contemporary audience would have been shocked and angry at the government for lying to them. 100 years on, a modern audience would still find the images and descriptions in this poem harrowing. Although the television and media screens shocking images of warfare almost daily, this poem still jolts its readers. They are reminded of the emotional and physical pain crippling thousands of innocent men during and after the war. Owen reminds us that these men will be just as damaged by their experiences and many will require long term help to recover mentally from the trauma they have suffered.

The author creates a critical tone which is consistent throughout each of the two poems. Baxter’s negative views are evidently based on New Zealand’s involvement in the battle of Vietnam and this is apparent as he uses figures associated with New Zealand. “The Gunner’s Lament” features a Maori soldier and his last words, whilst “A Bucket of Blood for a Dollar” concentrates on Keith Hollyoake, the Prime Minsiter of New Zealand at the time of the Vietnam War. “The Gunner’s Lament” is written in the form of a speech. The poem is about a Maori soldier sent to battle in Vietnam, believing he was fighting for liberty but discovering that this was not the case. As the unnamed soldier lay dying on the battlefield, he confides in his “pakeha cobber” his newfound thoughts on guns and wars. Baxter incorporates the use of several language techniques throughout the poem to develop the reader’s understanding of his thoughts of war and devastation. In the second stanza, the writer uses a simile to express the soldier’s longing for his home in New Zealand. “And if I could fly like a bird to my old granny’s whare, A truck and a winch could never drag me back to the army.” This reveals what the soldier has found, that his life in the army and the reality of war is miserable. The author’s use of the bird also represents freedom and shows the reader the dying soldier’s inner desire.

Example Conclusions:

The theme, setting and language features all contribute to the negative emotions that you feel towards war when reading these two poems. Owen’s exceptional writing, using vivid imagery and negative connotations in particular, achieves his purpose of communicating to contemporary and modern audiences alike, the real horrors of war.

Through the author’s clear use of language and techniques, the idea of war and devastation was strongly developed and a general understanding of the suffering caused by the Vietnam War was created. James K. Baxter uses these techniques to convince the readers of his decided opinion of the battle of Vietnam and New Zealand involvement in the war.

Example Essay

In the short texts, “Disabled” and “Dulce et Decorum Est”, the author Wilfred Owen uses many language techniques to portray his ideas to the audience. One of the key ideas recurring in both of his poems are the physical and mental effects that soldiers suffered as a result of war.

In ‘Disabled”, Wilfred Owen uses third person narration to tell the story of a soldier who survived the war. “He sat in a wheeled chair” tells us that the survivor is unable to walk as he is in a wheel chair.

The word “wheeled” suggests that he must rely on others to push him around and emphasises his lack

of control in his life as a result of the war. The words “legless, sewn short at elbow” presents an image of a severely wounded man – both of his legs are gone and one of his arms is missing. This imagery provides us with a clear and realistic consequence of war – the physical scars are evident in this returned soldier. These quotes describe the physical effects that a surviving soldier has from war, and he is now spending a “few sick years in institutes.” This shows that war has also taken away his independence, and he is now in an institute where he relies on others to take care of him. “Why don’t they come and out him to bed?” explains that war has taken his limbs and his independence, and that he can’t do anything for himself because of it. Third person narration is effective here as we are able to actually picture what his wounded body looks like. As his physical appearance is described we are forced to imagine what he must be feeling inside, and therefore can relate in some way to what he must be experiencing.
In ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ the emotional and mental effects of war are revealed through the narrator of the poem. The poem is narrated from a first person perspective and it is as though the reader is looking at the soldier’s memory of his horrific experience. Since the poem is narrated from the central character’s perspective, it adds an immediacy and realness to the images he describes. The vivid memory outlines the death of a fellow soldier who is overcome by gas. “In all my dreams, before my helpless sight..” tells the reader that this memory plays back in the soldier’s mind every time he shuts his eyes. “Before my helpless sight..” suggests the soldier is hurt and anguished that he could not do anything to help his colleague who was dying after being gassed. Wilfred Owen also uses the present progressive tense when he describes the soldier’s death: “Guttering, choking, drowning.” This makes the reader feel as though they are right at the scene and that the soldier is dying in front of them. The poet wanted to affect the audience emotionally by allowing them to imagine their own reaction in this situation. The poem’s message is clearly anti-war since no-one would wish to witness such a death and suffer the guilt associated with it.
In the second stanza of ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, Wilfred Owen uses monosyllabic words like ‘Gas, gas, quick boys!’ to quicken the pace of the moment and create a sense of panic. He also describes the injuries that soldiers were suffering through the eyes f the soldier who narrates the event. “All went lame, all blind” and “blood shod” tells us that the men suffered nasty wounds on their feet, and they couldn’t see very well as they were so tired. “Drunk with fatigue” and the simile “coughing like hags” describes that in the war they were ill and so tired they were barely able to think. A;; of these images paint the reality of war and present it as a type of hell on earth. Again, there is an underlying anti-war sentiment presented.
Wilfred Owen uses contrasting images in the final stanzas of ‘Disabled’ which reflects the soldier’s life both before and after his experience of war. Before the war “there was an artist silly for his face, for it was younger than its youth last year,” showing that before his limbs were blown off, he was an attractive, good-looking young man. But “now he is old, his back will never brace…he will never again feel how slim girls’ waists are.” This tells us that after war, he looks old and he doesn’t have a chance with women anymore – he is no longer an attractive option to them anymore. His life is now full of regret. He “wonders why” he joined up to fight in the war. “He didn’t have to beg” shows that it was easy for him to sign his life away without even realising what he was giving up. Even though he was underage, they still accepted him: “smiling they wrote his lie.” The poem presents the irony of this young man who thought war would make him into a hero. However, the reality of it saw him dwelling on his pre-war life, and he is deeply full of remorse about the foolish choice he made.
Overall, Wilfred Owen uses a number of language techniques to help us understand just how devastating the physical and mental effects of war can be. It is also a warning to readers that war is not positive and that the effects of it can be serious and life-changing.

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