Preparation and Strategies for the English Regents Winter 2015
For my Chinese Bilingual and ESL classes students by Ms. Zhang-Shi
“Getting prepared is half the victory.” Overview of the Format of the Regents:
Multiple Choice Questions
There are altogether 25 multiple choice questions: 8 for Part 1 (Listening), 12 for Part 2 (Reading), and 5 for Part 3 (Paragraph writing). Each multiple choice question is worth approximately two credits of 100 scale! So read carefully all the choices and double check by going back to the reading and use the process of elimination to get the best choice. Also, for each reading, all the questions are under one main idea. If in doing the multiple choice questions, you find your choice to one question contradictory from your choice of another question, stop and think twice: there must be something wrong with one of your choices.
Then there are two paragraph writing in Part 3: one is called Controlling Idea Paragraph (Question #26) and the other is Literary Element Paragraph (Question #27). The controlling idea paragraph has to discuss TWO passages under one controlling idea while the Literary Element Paragraph only discusses ONE of the two passages (it’s your choice which one to write about; usually the one you understand better). For question #26, you need to show: 1) you have established the controlling idea, 2) you discuss TWO passages under that controlling idea (you must indicate the two passages’ titles and their authors names), 3) in your discussion, you must indicate which passage you’re talking about, 4) in this paragraph, you don’t have to use literary element: but you have to include details with evidence (quotation). Focus on the controlling idea in your discussion and conclude mentioning the controlling idea as well. For question #27, you must indicate which passage you’re discussing by giving the title and its author’s name again. You must include at least one literary element in your discussion with evidence (quotation) and your explanation to the quotation to show how the author uses the literary element to develop the passage. Preferably discuss two pieces of evidence of one literary element if you can find them.
The only essay you have to write is in Part 4: A Critical Lens Essay. It’s worth 6 big credits, approximately 1/3 of the whole test weight. So you must do it well. See the Appendixes for all the writing at the end of this pamphlet.
Time Arrangement: (Total 4 ½ hours for ELL students)
1:00 -1:15 pm Administration matter
1:15-2:15 pm Part 2 (passages A &B plus 12 multiple choice
2:30- 3:10pm Part 1: Listening (8 multiple choice questions)
3:10- 4:10 pm Part 4: Essay (Q28)
4:10- 5:30pm Part 3: (Passages 1& 2 plus 5 multiple choice questions
and Q26 and Q27)
Part 2: Fiction and Nonfiction Reading and Multiple Choice Questions
This is in fact the first part you’re supposed to do. You have two reading passages in this part. Each one contains 6 multiple choice questions. Teachers check your understanding of the passages according to how many multiple choice questions you can get correct. So make sure you do them well.
One passage is fiction and another one is nonfiction. In reading, summarize the main idea for each paragraph of the nonfiction passage in order to understand the whole passage. However, in reading nonfiction passage, you have to summarize the main idea of the section you determine yourself. There could be dialogues in the fiction reading.
Do the 12 multiple choice questions carefully, using the strategies learned in class, such as 1) paragraph summary by writing one word or two next to the paragraph, 2) determine the vocabulary via the context 3) read the questions before reading the paragraphs 4) the process of elimination, etc.
Again, one passage usually focuses on only one main idea. Whether the questions ask about main idea, vocabulary or detail, the meaning should be consistent for one passage. If you find your choice of one question is contradictory from your choice of another question, this should alarm you that your understanding of one of them is wrong. Do the correction before it is too late. If necessary, go back to the reading and find out.
Before the teacher reads aloud, spend approximately 15 minutes going over the 8 multiple choice questions to know 1) the topic, 2) the new vocabulary, 3) the gist of the questions so that you can listen selectively later on.
During the listening, concentrate on listening; do not read the multiple choice questions at the same time, because it will distract your attention on listening and understanding. Take some notes if you can, especially if there are numbers. Concentrate greatly on anything you remember in the multiple choice questions. Don’t feel bad if you don’t understand something: it may not be asked in the multiple choice questions and it may not be important. Try to get the main idea of the listening (we call this “see the forest instead of seeing one tree or two”). Try to summarize each paragraph. Usually there is one multiple choice question about one paragraph, so it is very important to understand the main idea of each paragraph.
After one listening, you have 5 minutes to do the multiple choice questions. Do them carefully by using the elimination method. You don’t have to do every one this time, because you will have two more listening chances. Focus on the ones you cannot do now, try to listen more attentively on these questions in the next listening chance.
After second listening, you again have 5 minutes to do more multiple choice questions. You may be able to finish all the 8 questions this time. Put question marks on these you are not sure and concentrate on the 3rd listening for these questions to double check your accuracy.
After the third listening, you have to finalize your all 8 multiple choice questions. Then you’re done. Make sure you match the number correctly in the test paper and the test questions. Careless mistake is costly!
In this part, you have two passages. Usually one poem and the other an excerpt from a short story or biographic reading. You have 5 multiple choices in this section.
The procedure for this section should be as follows:
Find and underline the controlling ideatopic before reading so that you know what to focus on in the reading.
Read the two passages, underline anything you find related to the controlling idea.
Do the 5 multiple choice questions. Hopefully they will help you understand the passages.
Then start write two paragraphs: Question #26 (Controlling idea paragraph) and Question #27 (Literary element paragraph). Do them according to the following formats.
Teacher’s prompt for writing responses to Q26 and Q27
Response to Q26 (a controlling idea paragraph): 1. Both Passages establish the controlling idea that……. (write your controlling idea sentence).
2. Passage 1 entitled “…… “ by ….. is about …… (write the main idea of Passage I).
3. For example, … (choose a clear and appropriate detail in passage I that best supports your controlling idea)
4. This evidence shows that …….. (explain the quote (why do you choose this quote? Usually you have to summarize the text to explain this evidence.)
5. Passage 2 entitled “………..” by ….. is about …. (write the main idea of Passage II).
6. For instance, the poet writes, “ “ (choose a quote in passage II that best supports your controlling idea)
7. This evidence displays that ……. (explain the quote (why do you choose this quote? Sometimes you have to summarize the passage to best explain it)
8. Thus, both passages demonstrate that …. (write your controlling idea again)
Exemplary writing Q26 About work by Chen, Jian Both passages establish the controlling idea that people must make their efforts and work to improve their abilities and contribute to the society. Passage 1 entitled “Clearing Path to the Past” by Kevin Coyne is about the narrator learning the obligation of work from his grandfather. He always shovels snow so that people can move in the road. The author writes, “But children would be walking past my house to school in the morning, and it was my job to make the way clear before they arrived.” It means the narrator thinks it is his duty to shovel the snow for the children to go to school. Passage 2 entitled “To Be of Use” by Marge Piercy is about hard work as a virtue that everyone should strive for. The poet writes, “I love people who harness themselves an ox to a heavy care,/Who do what has to be done, again and again.” It means people should try to make effort to work for the society instead of being lazy with nothing to do. Therefore, both passages demonstrate that everyone in the world has an obligation to work in order to contribute and help the society and its people.
Response to Q27 (a literary element paragraph): 1. Passage 2, a poem entitled “ …” reveals that (its main idea)…
2. The poet uses …. to develop…
3. … is …. (give the definition of the literary element.)
4. The poet writes, “…….” (quote the lines showing a literary element)
5. Here the poet appeals to our sense of … (if it’s an image) …and it means… (explain how the literary element evokes our sense(s) and what it means)
6. In addition, the poet writes, “……” (quote the lines showing a literary element)
7. Again the poet appeals to our sense of ….. (image again) and he means to say that… (explain how that literary element evokes our sense(s) and what it means)
8. Therefore, … is effectively used to develop the main idea that …
Q27 Characterization Discussion by Zhao, Yixuan Passage II, a poem entitled “The Horseman” by Gretchen Schol, reveals even you change your current life situation, some of your old habits might not change. The author uses characterization to develop the main idea. Characterization is the discussion on the character. The author writes, “he sold the horses… He bought a Ford and learned to drive it.” This evidence shows the horseman wants to keep up with the time, because no one else uses the horse for transportation any more. That’s why he sells the horses and buys a Ford truck. In addition, the author writes, “Without flicking invisible reins, /And when he braked, he always/Closed his eyes and whispered, “Whoa.” This means he cannot change his habit of riding the horse even when he drives. Therefore, the literary element of characterization is effectively used to develop the main idea that even when you change your life style, you sometimes don’t change your habit of doing things.
Q27 Imagery Discussion The poem, "Wilderness River" by Elizabeth Coatsworth reveals that we should preserve nature. The poet uses imagery to develop the passage. Imagery is a group of images that appeal to our senses of sight, hearing, etc. The poet writes, "These rivers are white with rapids/ swift to roar,…”. Here the poet uses the color “white” to appeal to our sight and the word “roar” to appeal to our hearing. We can see these rivers remain so clean, so white because they have never been polluted. We can also hear the roaring sound of the rivers, which means they are very free without any farms nearby to bother them or make them dirty. They are pure nature. In addition, the author makes us feel that these rivers are “cold/ relentless churning.” They feel cold because all the water in these wild rivers comes from ice and melting snow. Everything is natural and untouched by human. Therefore, imagery is effectively used to develop the main idea that the author greatly favors the nature to remain wild rather than being changed by humans.
Passage 1, a story entitled “ Mother Has a Job” reveals how a parent changes to adapt to her life in the new country. The writer uses conflict to develop this main idea.
Conflict is the problem in the story. The problem in the beginning of the passage is the narrator finds lots of joy accompanying her mother to work because her mother has difficult finding her way to work. The conflict develops when the mother asks her daughter to stop doing this because she wants her child to sleep more in the morning. However, she requests her daughter to teach her English so that she can be independent in the US. The conflict is solved after the mother learns English from her daughter diligently. The evidence from the passage is “indeed in a couple of weeks she learns enough English to do marketing on her own and travel freely by subway”. This evidence proves that mother knows that learning English is the key to survive in the new country and she succeeds in doing this. Therefore, conflict is effectively used to develop the main idea that you need to change to adapt to the new situation.
Part 4 (A critical lens essay) Following the Format for writing the response to Q28, making sure you discuss two literary elements in detail from each work so that you can get score 5. Paragraph 1: Introduction (5 sentences)
#1 (Copy the lens you’re going to write about in this essay).
#2 (Write your understanding of the lens: complete sentence after “that”):
This quote means that ________________________________
or b. In other words, it means that____________________________
#3 (Write if you agree or disagree with the lens and your reason):
This lens is valid/invalid, because *____________________________________
#4 (Write the titles and authors’ names of the two works you will analyze in your
Two works, “ ____________ “ by _________ and “ _____________ by ______,
will help prove this lens.
or b. Two works will help prove the validity of this lens. They are _______________
“ ____________ “ by _________ and “ _____________ by ______________.
#5 (Your thesis statement):
Literary elements such as __________________will be discussed in this essay.
Sample Introductory Paragraph to Q#28 Marcus Aurelius once said, “Whosoever does wrong,
wrongs himself…” In other words, this means if you harm
other people, in the end you also harm yourself. This lens is
valid, because after you hurt other people you will feel guilty
and fearful. You can never live a normal life. Two works will
help prove the validity of this lens. They are Macbeth by
William Shakespeare and “Desiree’s Baby” by Kate Chopin.
#4. (Does this literary element relate to the critical lens? Why?)
This literary element relates to the critical lens, because *______________________
#5. Concluding sentence relating to the lens under the discussion.
Therefore, it is evidenced in this story that *______________________________
Sample Paragraph 2 of Q#28
Macbeth can help prove my opinion on the lens that after you harm other people, you will harm yourself eventually. One way to prove this point is through the literary element of conflict, which is defined as the problem in the story. Tempted by the three witches and pushed by his wife, Macbeth kills King Duncan. But after that he suffers the internal conflict: he can never sleep and suffers constant fears. This helps support the lens that when you commit the crime, your conscience makes you feel you’re a criminal and you can no longer live a normal life. The conflict develops when he regrets his wrong doing suffer fears. He wants to return to his old self, but there’s no turning back, because he realizes that all the waters of the seas in the world cannot wash away the blood on his hands. On the other hand, he is frightened that his crime will be discovered. He even dreams of the ghosts of his victims. His fear then makes him grow more evil: he keeps killing innocent people. This development of the conflict helps support the lens that after he wrongs the king, he is haunted by his memory of his wrong doing. But the fear only makes him do more wrongs to make him suffer more. The solution of the conflict is he makes a lot of enemies and is hated by his people. Finally he gets defeated. This solution of the conflict relates to the lens because when Macbeth murders the king, he also harms himself: he murders his normal life and his conscience. It is this internal conflict that eventually leads to his downfall. Therefore, it is evidenced in the story that if you hurt other people, you yourself will suffer the consequences in the end.
Sample Paragraph 3 of Q#28
“Desiree’s Baby” can also illustrate my opinion on the lens that harming other people harms yourself. In this work, the author utilizes characterization to make the point, which is defined as the discussion of characters’ words, actions, and thoughts, etc. Set in the slavery time, the story reveals that the antagonist, a plantation owner Armand, believes that his wife, Desire, an adopted child of another plantation owner, is black when their child turns back at three months old. His love for her then turns into hatred because he hates his wife for bringing black blood into his family. This example relates to the lens because his wrong thinking of discrimination leads him to wrong his wife. In addition, his coldness and cruelty to Desiree finally drives her to suicide. But after her death, he finds out from his mother’s letter to his father that it is he who is black, not Desiree. This revelation of the truth indicates that his racial discrimination against his wife also hurts himself, because after his discovery, he can never forgive himself for killing his wife. He will forever suffer the guilty feelings of his crime. And by discovering that he is black, he is in fact discriminating against himself. Here the author is asking the question: “If you discriminate against black people, what if you’re black yourself?” So the characterization of Armand closely relates to the lens because when Armand hurts his wife, he also hurts himself and his family. Therefore, it is evidenced in the story that if you hurt other people, you also harm yourself.