1000 X’s & O’s – Component 1: Fiction and Imaginative Writing

You work so hard, you really do
I don’t think that anyone could work as hard as you

Prince -1000 X’s & O’s  –  HITnRUN – Phase One

 

Getting Started: GCSE (9-1) English  – Edexcel

Moving schools means, learning a new spec! Teachers deserve lots of X’x & O’s! For further information on Edexcel go to their website here.  I’ve written this blog to help any newbie to the spec, and to get it straight in my head myself. I will revisit it and ‘edit’ until I am happy with it.  1000 X’s & O’s – Component 1: Fiction and Imaginative Writing is part of a set of two blogs. The second can be found here.

 

Component 1: Fiction and Imaginative Writing

  • Total marks: 64
  • Weighting: 40%
  • Questions to answer: 5 (4 reading; 1 writing)
  • Exam time: 1 hour 45 minutes

 

Paper 1: Fiction and Imaginative Writing

1 hour 45 minutes

Part a: Reading (1 hour)

  • Q1: Identifying a quotation (5 mins) – AO1
  • Q2: Making inferences (5 mins) – AO1
  • Q3: Analysing language and structure (15 mins) – AO2
  • Q4: Evaluation (20 mins) – AO4

Part b: Writing (45 mins)

  • Q5/6: Imaginative writing – AO5/6

For the purpose of this blog I have used Pearson Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9-1) in English Language Paper 1 (1EN0/01) from The Mortal Immortal: Mary Shelley:

Section A: Reading

The focus of this section is on reading and comparing non-fiction and literary nonfiction texts from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Question 1 – Tests AO1 skills – understanding of explicit and implicit information. (1) mark available.

For this question, students must give the only acceptable answer from the board eg

‘A tub had caught all’

Here’s an example from Pearson Edexcel (see above for link)

Q1) From lines 7–9, identify a phrase which describes what happens to the colour of the
liquid when it changes.

Capture

Accept one of the following:

• ‘[it will] turn white’
• ‘[and then] emit golden flashes’
• ‘the rose-colour fades’

Question 2– Tests AO1 skills – understanding of explicit and implicit information. (2) marks available.

For this question, students can use quotes or their own words, using the question focus in a very simple/basic sentence strucure eg

  • he shows them the whole house
  • he encourages them to search ‘well’

Here’s an example from Pearson Edexcel (see above for link)

Q2 From lines 1–10, give two ways tiredness affected Cornelius. You may use your own words or quotations from the text.

Capture2

Accept any reasonable answer based on lines 1-10, up to a maximum of 2 marks.
Quotations and candidate’s own words are acceptable. For example:

  • although Cornelius is anxious ‘sleep weighted upon his eyelids’
  • Cornelius has to throw off tiredness with almost superhuman energy/‘he threw off drowsiness with more than human energy’
  • sleep is described as stealing his senses/‘again and again it stole away his senses’
  • he is described as talking in a quiet and indistinct way: ‘murmured’/ he almost falls asleep talking as the narrator says the last words were muttered ‘in sleep’.

 

Question 3 – Tests AO2 skills – Language, structure and form (6 marks)

The focus of AO2 is on the ways writers use language to create effect; the focus is on specific writer techniques (rather than a judgement of overall success of type, form or
purpose, which is AO4).

Language analysis – take these words and phrases from an (made-up) extract describing weather:

  • The words ‘barged’, ‘fought back’ and ‘enemy outside’ suggest the people are in a battle against nature; ‘enemy’ suggests hostility or an element that could weaken and therefore could imply that the personification of the weather is behaving in an unnatural way by surrounding the characters.

Structure analysis – take these sentences “Faster!” Cathy urged herself on. Her legs urged. Her lungs screamed. But She was gaining on them. She overtook one. Still faster!

  • The short sentences increase the pace in the same way ‘Cathy’s’ movements are rapid creating a sense of apprehension and excitement for the reader.

Here’s an example from Pearson Edexcel (see above for link)

Q3 In lines 14–25, how does the writer use language and structure to show the narrator’s
feelings about Bertha? Support your views with reference to the text.

Capture3

Reward responses that explain how the writer uses language and structure to show the narrator’s feelings about Bertha in lines 14-25. Responses may include the following points about the language of the text:

  • the narrator uses hyperbole and repetition to heighten his sense of loss: ‘a thousand charming scenes never to be renewed – never!’
  • he uses metaphor: ‘Serpents and adders were in my heart’ shows how negative his thoughts are about Bertha and her deceit
  • he uses critical language and negative adjectives to show his sense of hatred towards her: ‘False girl! – false and cruel!’; ‘Worthless, detested’
  • the description of how he seeks his ‘vengeance’ by wishing Albert would die or ‘expire at her feet’ shows his anger and extreme abhorrence at Bertha’s relationship with Albert
  • the description of Bertha’s contemptuousness and power over him illustrates his misery: ‘she knew my wretchedness’; ‘exciting my hate’ (juxtaposition)
  • the narrator feels ‘rejected love’ for Bertha but has to ignore his feelings of love and wishes to appear ‘indifferent’ to cope with her rejection: ‘regard her with careless eyes … that were indeed a victory!’
  • the metaphor of battle is used to apply to his emotions to succumb to a ‘victory’ and ‘triumph’
  • the use of questions to show his torment – ‘Yet what power had she?’ and exclamation marks throughout to show his anger and despair
  • the use of the personal pronoun ‘she’ rather than using her name shows his disdain and disgust for Bertha.

Responses may include the following points about the structure of the text:

  • the narrator uses repetition to show his despair and anger: ‘Never’; ‘False’
  • the section is structured to show the narrator’s range of feelings for Bertha
  • the use of connectives shows how the narrator’s torment is emphasised: ‘Serpents and adders’; ‘false and cruel’; ‘disdain and triumph’
  • the section is structured as all one paragraph which shows the pace of events as his torment unfolds
  • a variety of sentence types including rhetorical questions, exclamations, short sentences and the use of pauses in the form of dashes to show his spontaneous thinking.

Question 4 – Tests AO4 skills – Evaluate (15 marks)

This AO asks students to look at how well the writer presents ideas, events, themes and settings (rather than how they are presented). Students must put forward their own critical judgements about how well a text fulfils the requirements of type, form or purpose. Their comments must be supported with appropriate references to the text(s) and these may include content, language and/or structure analysis to support their positive or negative comments. The focus here is on the student’s ability to make a critical judgement of the type, form or purpose of a text and, where students refer to the writer’s techniques without making a judgement on a text, they will not be able to move up to the higher bands of the mark scheme. At the highest level, AO4 requires a sustained critical overview from the student and a level of critical distance.

Evaluate – take this extract from a piece of fiction

“It landed on the petrol and with a speed that took Sam’s breath away as the flame leapt up, blues, oranges and yellow filled the darkness, it was alive. He stood there for a moment watching the flame, mesmerised by its beauty as it grew. It spread along the floor as if by magic, moving effortlessly, almost gliding over the petrol.”

The flames are described as if they are alive. Evaluate how successfully the author has achieved this.

By using a third person point of view, the author’s choice allows the reader to see the flames from more than just the character’s perspective. The personification of the fire as it grows and ‘leaps’ around skilfully makes the flames appear exciting and fun almost like a friend to the character, not a dangerous enemy. The flames come alive with the listing of colours “blues, oranges and yellow” as the fire escalates.

Here’s an example from Pearson Edexcel (see above for link)

Q4) In this extract, there is an attempt to show how important it is to concentrate on
a task. Evaluate how successfully this is achieved. Support your views with detailed reference to the text

Reward responses that evaluate how successfully the purpose of conveying the importance of concentration is achieved. References to writer’s techniques should only be credited at Level 2 and above if they support the critical judgement of the
text.

Responses may include:

  • the opening idea of tiredness is introduced and developed as Cornelius has watched for three days and nights, showing a sense of exhaustion through concentrating on the liquid
  • the narrator’s clear explanation of Cornelius’s determination to carry out the task further suggests he has to use super-human strength to see the experiment through: ‘threw off drowsiness with more than human energy’
  • the writer shows the idea of self-determination; despite his exhaustion, Cornelius has to convince himself that it is vital he concentrates on monitoring the liquid
  • Cornelius shows how important it is to concentrate; he has to trust the narrator as he cannot concentrate any further: but he explains that the narrator has to concentrate and wake him up when the liquid changes colour
  • Cornelius gives a detailed explanation of changes in the liquid to show how critical precise timing is
  • the philosopher is so focused that he is unable to stop concentrating: even in sleep he gives the narrator further advice: ‘do not touch the vessel’, ‘beware to drink!’
  • the structure shows the consequences of failing to concentrate. The narrator takes the task on, briefly concentrating for ‘a few minutes’ before his ‘thoughts wandered’ to Bertha which shows the conflict between his job and his feelings for her
  • the language used shows that failure to concentrate can have destructive consequences: ‘destroyed the labour of my life’
  • structure is used effectively to contrast the theme of concentration on doing something (observing) and thinking about something (Bertha) and the effect of this contrast
  • the theme of the extract is explored very successfully as the reader is shown that concentration means different things
  • the narrator’s concentration is brought swiftly back following ‘A bright flash’, but instead of awakening Cornelius he concentrates on his own thoughts and feelings and decides to drink the liquid.

 

Section B – Imaginative Writing

(40 marks)

AO5: Composition and organisation – This AO is the first of the writing AOs. When assessing composition, the focus will be on an awareness of purpose and audience as well as the creation of style, tone and register.

● Organisation and structure focuses on content management in terms of constructing paragraphs as well as overall text cohesion.

AO6: Range of vocabulary and sentence structure, accurate spelling and punctuation – The focus is on the following areas:

● spelling – accuracy of spelling is the focus with an acknowledgement that this is
directly related to vocabulary used
● punctuation and grammar – the focus is on how the accuracy and complexity of
punctuation impacts on sentence structure.

Here’s an example from Pearson Edexcel (see above for link)

SECTION B: Imaginative Writing

Answer ONE question. You should spend about 45 minutes on this section. Write your answer in the space provided.

EITHER

 

Q5 Look at the images provided.

Write about a time when you, or someone you know, had to work hard on something.
Your response could be real or imagined. You may wish to base your response on one
of the images.
*Your response will be marked for the accurate and appropriate use of vocabulary,
spelling, punctuation and grammar.
(Total for Question 5 = 40 marks)

OR

Q6 Write about a time when you, or someone you know, did something without thinking
it through.

Your response could be real or imagined.
*Your response will be marked for the accurate and appropriate use of vocabulary,
spelling, punctuation and grammar.
(Total for Question 6 = 40 marks)

My (very) short story is based on *6* a time when I did something without thinking it through:

Pretending to be distracted by a non-existent item, I flick one foot over the other and ignore the clicking of the heels as they walk toward me. My eyes remain fixed on the square marble effect tiles with mottle green swirls.  I don’t look at the closed door in front of me; I don’t want to attract any attention. When the corridor becomes silent I glance sideways at the shiny laptop just sitting there on the desk. I could grab it and run or tip it onto the floor but I know any action will prove futile; my destiny had been set in stone when I’d hit “send”. 

I thought back to that day. The day it began…

Jealousy; that was the reason, I was jealous of her perfect face and her perfect hair and her perfect grades. She was popular with the boys and the girls. Everyone liked her, expect me and that was because more important than those small things; she was kind, and nice. Simply  I wanted to be her.

5* Purpose: to write a real or imagined piece about a time a person had to work hard on something. This may involve a range of approaches, including: description, anecdote, speech, narrative, literary techniques.

Audience: the writing is for a general readership. Candidates can choose to write for an adult audience or an audience of young people.

Form: the response may be narrative, descriptive or a monologue. There should be clear organisation and structure with an introduction, development of points and a conclusion. Some candidates may intentionally adapt their language and style to their audience by using, for example, a more informal or colloquial approach. Candidates may
introduce some literary elements.

Responses may:

  • use the images to inspire writing: a project for school, homework, a practical task like making something, working hard on a physical activity or working together as a team
  • give reasons why it was hard work and the impact on the person doing the work and others: what was achieved as a result of the hard work
  • use appropriate techniques for creative writing: vocabulary, imagery, language techniques
  • use a voice that attempts to make the piece interesting and believable to the chosen audience
  • demonstrate particular understanding of the form used
  • be written in a register and style appropriate for the chosen form, which may include colloquial elements, dialogue within description or narrative, a sustained single voice in monologue.

6* Purpose: to write a real or imagined piece about doing something without thinking it through. This may involve a range of approaches, including: description, anecdote, speech, literary techniques.

Audience: the writing is for a general readership. Candidates can choose to write for an adult audience or an audience of young people.

Form: the response may be narrative, descriptive or a monologue. There should be clear organisation and structure with an introduction, development of points and a conclusion. Some candidates may intentionally adapt their language and style to their audience by using, for example, a more informal or colloquial approach. Candidates may
introduce some literary elements.

Responses may:

  • use an example of doing something without thinking it through: this could be physical (an extreme sport or activity, an adventure, an expedition) or emotional (telling someone something, hiding something)
  • give reasons why the writer did it and whether the experience was positive or negative
  • talk about the impact the experience had on the writer and/or others
  • use appropriate techniques for creative writing: vocabulary, imagery, language techniques
  • use a voice that attempts to make the piece interesting and believable to the chosen audience
  • demonstrate particular understanding of the form used
  • be written in a register and style appropriate for the chosen form, which may include colloquial elements, dialogue within description or narrative, a sustained single voice in monologue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “1000 X’s & O’s – Component 1: Fiction and Imaginative Writing

  1. Pingback: 1000 X’s & O’s – Component 2: Non-fiction and Transactional Writing | alwayslearningweb

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