English Lit GCSE - set text not finished- tips for help?

(31 Posts)
Lessstressy Sun 01-May-16 20:06:13

DD's English lit GCSE exams are in 3 weeks. She plans to do the A level and probably study it at University.
The problem is that the teacher has not yet finished one of the set texts, not sure why, the other groups finished a while back apparently.

DD should have 4 lessons left until GCSEs begin but will miss at least 2 of these due to being off timetable for two+ days over the next two weeks due to full day drama/ art GCSE exams/ rehearsals at school.
I'm going to buy some York notes but what else can DD be doing at this late stage? She could do past papers but there is no one to mark them so hard for her to know how she's doing- I wouldn't know where to start.

Are there other resources I can buy? Or any schemes whereby good English teachers mark past paper questions online? Thanks

BeckyWithTheMediocreHair Sun 01-May-16 20:12:51

What is the text?

Applepie45 Sun 01-May-16 20:13:23

I'd say the first thing you need to do is make sure you have a copy of the book and your DD should finish reading it. Then have a look at BBC Bitesize and perhaps the CPG revision guide for the text. We sell these to our pupils and they're quite good.

It would be worth her having a look at the past papers because it will give her a clue as to what types of things she might need to cover. And even if there isn't anyone to mark it, it's still useful having a go at answering them. It's worth her asking the teacher if she can drop in essays for her to look over-I will always do this for my class even once study leave has started.

Don't panic though-there are only a finite number of skills tested in English, and she will have covered these skills when studying the other texts and the language paper, so it will just be a case of transferring these skills to the other text.

BossWitch Sun 01-May-16 20:19:38

1. Make sure DD has read the text to the end at least twice.
2. Get past papers questions from the exam board website.
3. Get a revision guide for the appropriate exam board/ paper or text. These will always have stuff on how to do the question, sample essays, assessment objectives for each part of the exam, etc.
4. Email the head of English, explain the situation calmly, and politely ask if s/he could mark a couple of past papers of your DD brings them to them. Make sure DD actually does this.

The lit papers are usually pretty simple and the grade boundaries are fairly generous. If your DD is naturally good at the subject and does the above, she'll be fine.

SKYTVADDICT Sun 01-May-16 20:23:05

My DD has been using a you tube man to help study Of Mice and Men. I don't know if it will any good to her but she feels more confident and says she understands much more now!

Applepie45 Sun 01-May-16 20:23:44

Ah yes, Mr Bruff on YouTube is quite popular. I think he also does revision guides.

blueemerald Sun 01-May-16 20:25:39

Yikes. What's the text/exam board?
Papers are readily available online. I also recommend Mr Bruff on YouTube. He seems to have videos on most texts/areas of the GCSE English syllabus.

SKYTVADDICT Sun 01-May-16 20:26:22

Yes that's him. I hope he knows his stuff as she has written pages today. Says her English teacher has been rubbish and her class disruptive so she hasn't been able to learn but he has helped loads!

Lessstressy Sun 01-May-16 20:32:32

The book is Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha. The exam board is WJEC (England).
Thanks for the suggestions, I'll point DD in the direction of Mr Bruff.

Bosswitch- her teacher IS the Head of English which makes it a bit tricky. I suspect the teacher may have had a lot of other commitments but that doesn't help DD unfortunately.

Acopyofacopy Sun 01-May-16 20:37:12

Go to your exam board website, there should be past papers and mark schemes there.
Finish reading the text.
Have a look at some revision guides, you tube, interpretations.

Your school does not sound switched on at all - I would carefully investigate why your dd is not prepared for her exams.

blueemerald Sun 01-May-16 20:41:56

Ok. WJEC is an odd ball. There are videos on YouTube but they are less common.

Lessstressy Sun 01-May-16 20:55:13

SkyTVAddict- does Mr Bruff mark papers?
I've ordered the York notes but can't find a CGP guide to Paddy Clarke on Amazon.
I know it's way too late to find a tutor but if any one would be happy to mark a couple of past paper questions please PM me!

BeckyWithTheMediocreHair Sun 01-May-16 21:01:10

I'm sorry, stressy, but you have a double whammy of a relatively unpopular text on a relatively unpopular exam board. I teach WJEC but am snowed under with my y11 at the moment and don't know PCHHH, I'm afraid.

You need to find a tutor, urgently. Do you know any teachers who might be willing to help out? Would any other members of the English team be willing to help? You'd need the HT's permission if you wanted to pay them - s/he needs to know about this situation, anyway.

SKYTVADDICT Sun 01-May-16 21:21:54

I have just asked DD and she says no she doesn't think so. Have a google and see maybe? And good luck to your DD

Lessstressy Sun 01-May-16 22:20:54

Okay, thanks everyone- onwards and upwards hmm

Lessstressy Sun 01-May-16 23:22:58

I've just chatted with DD about a plan of action and she had one last off the wall question- she has read Lord of the Flies more than once for pleasure (she really enjoyed it), it isn't one of her school's set texts but according to the WJEC website it IS a GCSE set text which other schools choose.

DD reckons she could come up with loads of ideas if she had to write about Lord of the flies - is there anything to stop her getting the York notes for this instead and ignoring Paddy Clarke altogether (she's not enjoyed what she's read so far anyway)? DD seems to think that they wouldn't get the opportunity to answer an exam question for anything but the books they've studied.

Becky and any other WJECers- are the children on the actual GCSE day given an exam paper containing questions for ALL the board's possible set texts or just the ones they have studied to avoid confusion? It isn't clear from the website.
Thanks again.

BeckyWithTheMediocreHair Sun 01-May-16 23:41:37

Sorry, stressy - no. LOTF is a WJEC text but it's on a different paper.

Here is the spec.

Schools choose between two papers for
Unit 2. Your DD's school does 2a, and she will have studied a play for half of this paper (othello, much ado, an inspector calls, Hobson's choice or a taste of honey). Her options for the other half are PCHHH, Heroes, Never Let Me Go, About a Boy, or Resistance. The questions for all of these will be on her paper.

LOTF is on paper 2b. Your DD has been entered for 2a and the 2b paper won't be an option (she'd have to study a new play, anyway).

notagiraffe Sun 01-May-16 23:52:00

Online, there will be loads of material, including breakdowns of the plot and analysis of the characters and themes and prose style. BBC Bitesize is very reliable. There's also theenglishzone and yorknotes online. Just Google for it.

DramaQueenofHighCs Sun 01-May-16 23:55:52

Don't know how helpful this will be, but my advice is don't panic - I HATED one of my AS level texts but still got an A in the exam on it even though I chucked it across the room halfway through! I got it by readibg the York Notes from cover to cover!

Lessstressy Sun 01-May-16 23:55:53

Ah okay, thanks Becky. It's probably just as well really.

Lessstressy Sun 01-May-16 23:57:19

And thanks drama and notagiraffe. York notes it is then!

RalphSteadmansEye Mon 02-May-16 08:13:06

What? She's not even finished reading it herself anyway, ignoring the fact that the teacher is so far behind? Even though she wants to do English A level? Blimey.

I hope you manage to get plenty of secondary criticism and also school find out what's going on with the teacher.

Ds is in year 10 and they've done all 4 of their set texts in great detail already - I mean he's practically written an essay on every chapter of his Dickens novel. But they did have to do all the reading in their own time (not the Shakespeare).

Lessstressy Mon 02-May-16 10:24:46

You make a good point Ralph. I asked DD for more details and she has not yet finished going through the book in school but finished reading it herself at half term and was reading it for a second time last night when she raised her concerns about not finishing studying it in school. She reads a lot for pleasure but hasn't enjoyed this book.
This morning she told me that they have not written a single essay on the book, let alone multiple essays. In class they discuss elements of the writing and make notes so your post really worries me Ralph.
I have no idea about English or how it is taught so hopefully essay writing is not always possible in large classes but that can't be good. I wish I'd found out about this ages ago but assumed the school would get through everything in good time. She got A* in her mock but they hadn't started Paddy Clarke at that point sad

The English zone link looks great and DD has already listened to the podcast this morning and enjoyed hearing from Roddy Doyle himself.
DD is planning an intensive Paddy Clarke day today. Thanks again for your help.

BeckyWithTheMediocreHair Mon 02-May-16 10:32:04

Don't forget that Ralph's DS is in year 10 and therefore studying for the new 1-9 GCSE, which is 100% exam. Stressy's DD will be taking a different format exam. There will be two Qs on PCHHH - one 10 mark question on an extract, and one 20 mark essay question. She will be familiar with the format from her other papers.

Lessstressy Mon 02-May-16 10:35:11

Ah yes of course, that's a relief. I know DD did coursework last year.

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