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Higher English

Higher English will be based on a combination of internal and external assessment. To gain the award, you must achieve a pass in all the component Units of the Course as well as a pass in the external assessment. External assessment will provide the basis for grading attainment through an external examination (80%) and a folio of writing (20%).

External Examination

The external examination will last for 3 hours 15 minutes. There will be two papers:
  • Close Reading (1 hour 45 minutes) 40%
  • Critical Essay (1 hour 30 minutes) 40%
Critical Essay
The Critical Essay Paper
Mass Media
Close Reading
The Close Reading Paper

Folio of Writing

The folio will be externally assessed for grading purposes.

Two pieces of writing must be submitted:
  • One piece of writing must be of a broadly creative nature
  • One piece of writing must be of a broadly discursive nature.
Creative Piece
Discursive Piece
Your Folio Piece
Prose Fiction
Dramatic Script

English Study Guide

Here are some ideas to improve the skills you need to help you with your English exam:

  • Understand the Higher Literary Terms

  • Read a book
    • Go to bed earlier and read for about half an hour every night
    • Visit your local library to get a wider range of books
    • Ask your English teacher for recommendations
    • Look at your recommended list
    • Enjoyed a film? Read the book

  • Read a quality newspaper regularly
    • Close reading passages are usually taken from quality newspapers. It's not rocket science then, is it?
    • Even 15 minutes while you eat your breakfast will help improve your skills
    • You don't need to read the whole paper, just the sections that you are interested in will still help you.

  • Keep a vocabulary List
    • At your age you're still picking up new words all the time.
    • Listen out for new words, pay attention to the context, work out the meaning or check in a dictionary (nice FREE dictionary apps are available), write them down and try to use them in conversation.
    • Lovely words such as... serendipity, nirvana, catalyst, coagulate etc etc

  • Reread your literature texts and any notes that you have
    • Make up new notes and learn your quotes
    • Reread the literature answers you've done in class
    • Read some more of the author's work
    • Look up the web and see if you can find any secondary materials...ideas other people have has as they've read the text and make notes from these
    • Borrow or buy study guides on your texts

  • Past Papers
    • Borrow, buy or download past papers. Familiarise yourself with the type of questions that are asked
    • Work out how you would answer a particular literature question by writing a plan and/or an opening paragraph and a suitable conclusion
    • Occasionally time yourself on a paper
    • Look up the words you don't know and add to your vocabulary list
    • Revise the mantra : Understand, Analysis and Evaluate...do you recognise the different question types?

  • Work with a friend
    • Compare answers to close reading questions
    • Do a paper together, deciding how to phrase your answers to get maximum points. If you're working on the same literature discuss the text and its main points of interest
    • Test each other on the quotes

  • Put aside as much time for English as you do for other subjects
    • You can do a great deal to improve your skills and maximise your potential

  • Do all the work of the class and the homework to the best of your ability
    • Read every word the teacher has written in comment
    • If you don't understand...ASK!
    • Your teacher is there to help you...make the most of it

  • And finally...
    • Attend study support sessions and/or Easter school classes
    • Use the SQA website for advice

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