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Advices for Paper 1 English A SL

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Hello everyone,

I hope you guys are doing well. I would like to ask if you guys have any advice regarding Paper 1 for English A SL. My teacher recommend us to use the Big 5 and to have a thesis statement that we should always come back to it after every point. What do you think about it? Do you have any other approach?

Thank you,


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The BIG5 is not really an organizing principle. It is just to remind you of elements of a text that you should write about. Your response and how you structure it will very much depend on what you have in front of you. Allow the text to shape how you write to it.

A predetermined structure (like the infamous 5 par. essay) will lead to a generic-sounding response (and therefore dull) and, worse, can blind you to the subtleties of the text....  I think your teacher is not giving the best kind of advice.  Compare it to the regular examiner reports, for instance, which tell you to steer clear of all pre-structuring. We went through these in class and I also got them from outside sources. It is the same every year. 


*be open and make sure to incorporate the BIG 5 into your response.

* Let the text speak to you and decide what is most salient (voice? characterization? image?) or interesting about it.

* I got a lot of practice with Paper 1 exams and practice does make perfect, as they say. It is true. Nothing else can replace real practice with real exams. 

The best responses emerge from that approach.   

Edited by Blackcurrant

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