This is where your Question tool from your Critical Reading Tools comes in handy, so you can ask: who, what, where, when, why:
Who are you writing as?
So what Role are you taking on
What are you writing about?
What are the key facts from the text and what is the purpose of the writing?
Where has it taken place?
Imagine yourself in the scene.
When did it happen?
If it’s not clear, then you can always make that part up!
Why is this being written?
Who will be reading this and what sort of audience are you writing for?
How should you format your answer?
What form should your writing be in? It will tell you in the question so make sure you layout the answer correctly.
You need to take on someone’s else’s persona for this question; you’re not writing as yourself.
You’re taking on a role, so you need to step into their shoes and write as them; the question will tell you who the persona is (usually a journalist or a person mentioned in Text C). So when you start writing your answer, ask yourself:
How would she/he answer the question?
- What is the character like? Are there any clues from the text to say whether they are conservative or informal?
- What is their writing style? Are they quite formal, or is their writing more conversational and relaxed?
Although you’re writing as the character, make sure you use your own words. Don’t use any phrases from the text in your answer as you’ll lose marks for that.
It might be helpful for you to imagine who these people are – give them an age and name, even if it doesn’t state that in the text, so that when you’re asked to reflect on their thoughts or feelings, they seem more like a real person to you. It’ll then make it much easier to invent a voice for them.
Be concise! Although you’re taking on a persona, this isn’t a creative writing task. Don’t confuse it with any of your descriptive or narrative writing skills with this. You only have 250-350 words, so stay focused on the task directed by the question.
Now you know who you’re writing as, take them with you on a fact-finding mission through the text. Look for the cold-hard facts in the text and highlight or underline them. Referring to the facts is important, as you’ll be graded on your understanding of the text.
Then look further into the purpose of the writing. Read between the lines and pick up on any inferences to find out what people thought and felt about whatever’s happened. Use your other Critical Reading Tools to find out what emotions are there, so you can get the tone of your writing right and use the correct connotations in your language.
Think about where this has taken place. The location might be specified, in which case use your skills from the Setting part of the writing exam to make sure you include enough detail about it. If the location isn’t specified, then you can just make it up! Likewise with the time; The text might specify whether this happened at day or night, or a particular time of year. But if not, you can elaborate on that for some extra detail.
For instance, if you’re writing as a Head Teacher at the end of year assembly, you know that’s likely to be summer – so you can perhaps mention the heat. It will make your answer original and give it some personality. It also makes the writing more interesting, which will always work in your favour to get extra marks from the examiner.
So why are you (as the character) writing this? Who is going to be reading it? Keep your audience in mind by imagining the person reading on the other side. That should help keep your register and tone correct and consistent.
You’ll be asked to write in one of the following forms:
Make sure your answer is laid out on the page correctly and you adapt your language to suit, to make sure the level of formality is appropriate.
Remember you can make up some extra details, like ages and names, which sometimes helps emphasise the form. For example, When a newspaper article refers to a person they usually add their name, so: “Joe Ball, 19, from London says…”. Adding those small details makes your writing sound more authentic, as that’s how a journalist would write.
Although this is a reading paper, almost half the marks for this question is for your writing. So remember your SPAG! (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar)