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Examiner's Report 2008

Examiner's Report 2008

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Published by: emilyjaneboyle on Feb 23, 2009
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Examiner’s Report LTB5 Set Texts: Drama before 1770; Poetry before 1900

General Examiner’s saw: • Candidates who knew the texts well and could use specific references and quotations to support their arguments scored highly. However, it should be kept in mind that length is not necessarily indicative of quality. There were a number of very long scripts with low scores, often because the answers tended to be narrative paraphrase. • Examiners also noted that a number of potentially good answers did not engage directly with the questions and consequently lost marks. Candidates are advised against twisting questions to fit prepared answers as this is rarely successful. Equally, candidates who have practised questions from previous papers should avoid representing these answers as they will not necessarily fit this year’s question! • Candidates should also remember that the questions are designed to target the designated assessment objectives and therefore, if they answer the question asked, they will automatically engage with the relevant objectives. • One final general comment concerns the terms of the questions. When questions include reference to literary concepts, candidates are advised to consider their definitions of these concepts very carefully. For example, question 3b on Coleridge asked for consideration of the ‘gothic’ elements and a clear definition of the candidate’s interpretation of this concept would have greatly improved many answers. SECTION A: POETRY • In this section, focus on form, structure and language is essential, as AO3 is targeted. The different texts on the paper seem to invite varying degrees of success with regards to this assessment objective. • Many answers depended heavily on character study rather than analysis of language. • The critical viewpoints expressed in some answers were also often interesting and original, showing some thoughtful engagement with alternative interpretations. • The terms of some of the questions were often not noted with sufficient care. • Tennyson.s poetry was a popular choice this series. Again, though, the specific terms of the questions were not always considered. In question 4a on symbolism, many candidates ranged too freely over many other features of form and language. Whilst examiners were prepared to be fairly flexible about what candidates considered to be a symbol, it was difficult to give credit for discussion of punctuation and syntax. • With regards to AO4, many answers effectively considered a wide range of readings and showed a strong sense of personal response. Although biographical readings of the texts can be valid ways of interpreting the poems, candidates should guard against long passages of biography as a substitute for literary interpretation. There were many examples of paragraphs detailing Coleridge’s opium addiction and an equal number exploring Tennyson’s relationship with Hallam.

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