English Language Exam: Writing Questions

In the second half of the Language exam, you will have to write two pieces of non-fiction. You have an hour to complete the tasks:

writing timings



Firstly, be aware of TAP; text type, audience and purpose. You are being tested on your skills at writing particular types of non-fiction texts for specific purposes.

writing TAP REAL

The next thing you need to do is plan. It’s best to follow the five paragraph essay plan under exam conditions. It is a rather predictable format, but will ensure that your essay is organised:

writing 5 para plan


Once you have the skeleton of your writing planned, it’s time to add the meat and write. This is your chance to prove that the last 11 years of learning literacy were not in vain (not too much pressure eh?) Write in a way that is interesting and engaging for the reader, choose vocabulary carefully and develop detail in your writing. You should also be aware of the conventional style of the particular type you have been asked to write; for description, evoke the senses; for persuasion, use rhetorical questions and hard-hitting facts. Here are some features of the four writing styles:

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Proof Reading

Try to allow some time for proof-reading your work. One-third of the marks available are for grammar, spelling and punctuation. Ensure that sentences make sense, and are clearly structured using a range of punctuation. You could also check that your paragraphs are suitable and well linked, and that spelling is correct – maybe even change a word or two to add variety to vocabulary. Here is the mark scheme for accuracy of writing:

writing mark scheme - accuracy

Here are the mark schemes for the top two bands of both writing questions (A*-D):

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To revise further you could read articles online (Click for link to websites):




You could also plan and write responses to the following questions:

  • Argue whether life is hard or easy for teenagers in the 21st century.
  • Write an argument either for or against having metal detectors in school.
  • Write an informative article for the local newspaper about opportunities for young people in your town.
  • Write an informative blog about someone you admire – it could be someone you know, or a famous figure.
  • Describe a scene in a war-torn area.
  • Describe your dream home.
  • Write a letter to your local MP to persuade them to invest more in facilities for young people.
  • Write a speech to your classmates to persuade them to vote for you as ‘Student of the Year 2013’.

Reading Paper Mark Schemes

Here are the mark schemes for the reading section of the higher and foundation papers. Use them to mark the mock exam that you were given, also useful for wider revision to see what each question requires. This mark scheme is from the November 2012 exam (you did this mock in class)


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English Language Exam: Reading Overview

Hopefully you have had a rest over the weekend, and are now ready to begin revision for the Language exam.

You should start by looking back at the notes we made in class. Are you sure about timings? What each question is asking? How many marks they are worth?

If you are unsure, take a look at the overview of the reading section in both exams:

reading paper overview


Next steps:

  • Why not try the reading section of the mock exam that you were given?¬†Ensure that you time yourself properly, it’s a good chance to rehearse for the exam.
  • Read over notes that we made in class.
  • Take a look at the powerpoints on our Fronter page.

Keep an eye out on the blog over the next few days for some more reading revision, as well as some tips on the writing section. If there is a particular area that you would like help on, please comment below.