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Paper 2: Reading Comprehension AICE English General Paper Review
Reminders: Dos and Don’ts ● DON’T restate the questions in your responses! ● DON’T use “essay brain”- your responses should be as CONCISE as possible! This means you CAN use contractions! ● DON’T spend a lot of time on the lower mark questions. They should not take more than a few minutes. ● DON’T think that because grammar isn’t as heavily weighted that it doesn’t matter at all. You still may not be awarded marks if the grammar clouds clarity! Use the best grammar possible! ● DON’T waste time counting your words unless you have time to go back at the end. If you are filling the lines provided you should be fine. ● DON’T use words from the text OR the question itself!!! ● DON’T use filler! You can connect with the question in your response, but don’t fill your answer with fluff! It’s a waste of words!
Reminders: Dos and Don’ts ● DO read each question CAREFULLY and be sure you understand EXACTLY what it is asking you to do. ● DO make sure to respond with the appropriate pieces of P/I/E! (Point, Ideas, Evidence) When in doubt, add more PIE! ● DO SUPPORT your answers if they are the higher mark questions with command words like “Explain” or “Justify. ” ● DO be cognizant of your marks! If you are leaving a lot of empty lines in your responses you are probably NOT answering with all the PIE you’re supposed to! ● DO remember that some of the questions will instruct you to answer “in continuous prose” (this just means sentences, as in, not a list) and some may instruct you that you CAN answer in bullet points. ● DO ANNOTATE as you read! ● DO use YOUR OWN WORDS!!!
Marking- Paper 2: Longer Reponses We already know the word count relates to the marks. But another aspect to consider is how many points/ideas/pieces of evidence (P/I/E) they want you to bring up in the longer responses. This is the general breakdown: Marks: How many p/i/e: 10 4 -5 100 8 3 -4 80 6 3 60 Basically you can cut the marks in Words: HALF when it comes to P/I/E. But if you have 3 strong, well developed points for an 8 mark question, for example, you’ll still be okay. Keep in mind, if the questions SPECIFICALLY asks for a certain NUMBER of P/I/E (advantages or disadvantages, for example) then FOLLOW WHAT THE QUESTION SAYS!!! 12 mark questions are POSSIBLE, but not likely
Section A: Logic and Reason For this section you will be given a scenario and have to answer a series of questions about it. In this part you will have to use persuasive writing skills to convince your reader of your choices. Remember to PREVIEW the questions, READ the information carefully, and ANNOTATE as you read, marking any parts in the reading that will answer or help answer your questions. If applicable, make a graph like the one we practiced in class. Remember, the test will not have as much information as the band vacation practice that we did in class. You can make it as you read. You can use different colored pens in your booklet as long as your ANSWERS are written in blue or black ink.
Section B: Prose (How language behaves) This section could be an article, an email (or series of emails), a letter, a script, an excerpt from a book, basically anything. You will need to use skills such as making inferences, finding meaning of words through context, summarizing, paraphrasing, identifying tone, etc. Remember that paraphrasing means not merely finding synonyms for each word in a sentence, but taking the main idea of a sentence and finding your own words to rephrase it. Summarizing means pointing out the MAIN POINTS a person or text is providing, NOT the details or examples.
TIP: Annotating Comprehension questions will most likely ask you to identify different types of information from the text, like reasons, options, or evidence. Before you read, decide on a different, unique annotation mark for each TYPE of information so you will be able to go back in and quickly locate it. For example, you could mark main ideas with MI, examples with EX, evidence with stars, reasons with a double underline, etc.
Strategies for Planning Your Response Just like we did with the band’s vacation, there are certain strategies you can employ to organize your responses to the comprehension questions. You will have extra paper you can use to plan your responses, and just like with your essay, the best responses will be ones that you PLANNED, and did not just mindlessly and quickly jot down on the paper in order to get it over with. ESPECIALLY because you need to be concise with your language, and you want to provide CLEAR answers, planning your responses is vital if you want a good score.
Point/Reason -> Challenge Questions Example Question: Identify five points mentioned in the director’s speech and explain how these were challenged by the development team. Points to notice: This question has two command words- identify and explain. In this case, you will need to do a little planning before you respond because you have to make sure you cover all that is being asked, the points AND challenges. As the question is brief, you may be tempted to write your answer without planning, but a simple chart can help you get your thoughts in order and allow you to produce a more complete and organized response. Point 1: ______ -> Challenge: ____ Point 4: ______ -> Challenge: ____ Point 2: ______ -> Challenge: ____ Point 5: ______ -> Challenge: ____ Point 3: ______ -> Challenge: ____
Strategies Comprehension Question: Briefly explain the differences between the features of the two programs mentioned in the article. Planning/Organizing Strategy: Create two columns and make a quick list of the features of both programs. Then draw an arrow between clear differences.
Strategies Comprehension Question: In your own words, describe what it was like to visit the sanctuary. Planning/Organizing strategy: Find the relevant information in the text. Make a quick list of points, rewriting the original phrasing in your own words.
Strategies Comprehension Question: Using evidence from the reading material and your own opinion, explain why it makes sense to accept the board’s proposal to revamp the downtown area. Planning/Organizing Strategy: Create a mind map. First, include evidence from the text. Then use these to generate your own ideas. Add your own ideas to your mind map before you draft your response.
Strategies Comprehension Question: Job sourcing has become increasingly popular in the retail industry in particular. Why do you think this is so? Planning/ Organizing strategy: Create two columns. On the left side, list reasons. To the right of each reason, list evidence to support it. Reasons Evidence
Strategies Comprehension Question: Of the four options provided, which one is the best fit for Paloma’s family? Planning/Organizing Strategy: Create four columns and briefly list the key points of each option. Circle the points that are the strongest in each option before making your decision. Then use these notes to draft your response.
Summarizing When you are asked to summarize information, you must use your own words to express the key points of the writing. It can also imply that you need to express the given ideas more simply, using fewer words. If you can summarize the information, it shows you understand what you’re reading.
Summarizing: Give a short, clear description of the main points or facts from a piece of writing. Specifically, a summary: ● Restates the central ideas expressed ● Covers the content comprehensively, but avoids too many details ● Satisfies the audience’s basic need to know who, what, where, why, when and how ● Presents only information mentioned in the piece of writing To summarize information effectively you need to use key reading comprehension skills such as identifying the main idea and understanding tone.
Strategies for Writing Summaries In order to summarize ideas, you need to make sure you understand them. Paying close attention to both the content and the structure of the material can help you better understand the main message. As you read, pay attention to what the text says and how it’s organized. Once you understand the material thoroughly, you can then identify which information to include in your summary. Sometimes you will be asked to summarize a few sentences. Other times you might be asked to summarize whole paragraphs or more. Whatever information you are summarizing, be sure to communicate the message in your own words, as opposed to lifting words or phrases from the text.
Strategies for Close Reading to Help Summaries 1. Annotate as you read. Here are some guidelines you can use to annotate, or create your own system: ● Circle important people or groups (Who? ) ● Put a box around relevant locations and time frames (Where? When? ) ● Use an asterisk (or brackets) to mark any phrases or sentences that explain the main idea of the material (What? ) ● Underline any details you think are important to the point (Why? How? ) 2. Review what you have read and marked. Also, look carefully at subheadings, illustrations, and other graphics or organizational elements, and ask yourself: ● What purpose do they serve? ● How do they complement the text being summarized?
Strategies for Close Reading to Help Summaries 3. Using a highlighter, distinguish between primary and secondary information. ● Primary information includes ‘big picture’ ideas (i. e. reasons) which support the main message ● Secondary information contains background information and context TIP: The main idea is often mentioned at the beginning or end of a text, or both. Scientists, for example, usually indicate a general direction at the beginning of their research but they don’t arrive at their main point until the end of their article, after they have analyzed all their evidence. In this case, the main point would not appear until the conclusion.
Paraphrasing Whereas a summary is a shortened version of a text, a paraphrase maintains the length of the original idea, but expresses it using different words and grammatical structure. A paraphrase offers the reader the same level of detail provided in the original source.
Strategies for Paraphrasing ● Imagine that you are explaining the material to a friend who doesn’t understand it well. (“Dumb it down”) ● Break down complex ideas into smaller pieces. ● Identify relationships between the pieces, e. g. , cause/effect or contrast. Write the paraphrase using words that signal the relationship, e. g. , because, therefore, however. ● Put the information in a new order. ● Change the expression from active to passive voice, or passive to active. ● Use different vocabulary. Consult a thesaurus if necessary, then consult a dictionary to make sure the new words are synonymous. ● Transform words into different parts of speech, e. g. , decision–>decide. ● Be clear that the ideas presented are clearly attributed to the author.