Interpreting exam questions


A short interactive activity to help learners understand how to identify and interpret GCSE English exam questions.
Sarah Holmes
Quiz by Sarah Holmes, updated more than 1 year ago
Sarah Holmes
Created by Sarah Holmes almost 8 years ago

Resource summary

Question 1

Read this exam question carefully and then choose from the drop-down menus to correctly identify and interpret the key words.
  • What techniques are used
  • Why has it been written
  • Want to read it
  • Decide to buy it
  • You! the person reading it
  • Someone who read it in the past
  • Whole text
  • Just the bit about Scheherazade
  • Must!
  • Don't have to
  • How he is created
  • Personality
  • What he does
  • How he behaves
  • Specific character focus
  • Name of the story
  • How she has been created
  • Her personality
  • Specific character focus
  • The ideas linked to this name
  • How she will save the women
  • Her ideas
  • ideas and emotional reactions
  • ideas and physical actions
  • Minor character focus
  • Main character focus
  • Particular techniques & devices
  • The words used
  • Direct reference and quotation
  • Mention the title
  • Prove your points
  • Pad out your essay
  • use embedded quotes
  • use floating quotes
  • Give short, relevant direct quotations
  • Quote whole sentences & paragraphs

Question 2

When the final bullet point asks you to write about language all you need to do is add a paragraph at the end of your essay which identifies some specific language features used. It is O.K to list this.
  • True
  • False

Question 3

Look at the exam question opposite and then choose the correct interpretation based on the key words.
  • Write an essay which examines the techniques the writer has used to create tension and how well they have done this. Include relevant direct reference and quotes to prove points.
  • Write an essay which explain how tension is created, using short, relevant direct quotations to support all points made.
  • Write response which says whether you think this extract builds tension or not. Use direct quotes from the text to prove points.

Question 4

The key word have been removed from the following exam question. Complete the question by dragging and dropping the key words to the correct place. [blank_start]Compare[blank_end] [blank_start]how[blank_end] the writers of Text 1 [blank_start]and[blank_end] Text 2 [blank_start]present[blank_end] their [blank_start]ideas[blank_end] and [blank_start]perspectives[blank_end] about modern technology. [blank_start]Support[blank_end] your answer with [blank_start]detailed[blank_end] [blank_start]reference[blank_end] to the [blank_start]texts.[blank_end]
  • Compare
  • Contrast
  • how
  • why
  • and
  • or
  • present
  • express
  • ideas
  • thoughts
  • perspectives
  • prejudices
  • Support
  • Back up
  • detailed
  • occasional
  • reference
  • quotes
  • texts.
  • main text

Question 5

Choose the exam question that matches the interpretation in this image.
  • Analyse how the writer uses language and structure to interest and engage readers. Support your views with detailed reference to the text.
  • Give one example from lines 1 to 8 of how the writer uses language to show how the recruitment process has changed. Support your example with a detailed text reference.
  • Leo Marks attempts to engage the reader through the description of his relationship with ‘the girls’. Evaluate how successfully this is achieved. Support your views with detailed reference to the text.
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