Last minute tips for Unfamiliar Texts

In this post I will remind you about how to approach a piece of unfamiliar text and how to avoid common errors.

  • Take note of the the title – you will often find clues to the meaning of the passage there. It might even help you to work out the mood or angle of the piece.
  • Follow instructions – if you are told to write an answer in your own words that is exactly what you should do!
  • Support your answers with evidence from the text. Make sure to add relevant quotes – don’t copy out half the passage.
  • Identify and quote, identify and quote, identify and quote … I hope I am getting my point across! If they ask for that make sure you do BOTH!
  • Explain your answer, be specific. Answers like “it makes it sound good” as a discussion of why a sound device was used will not cut it!
  • Use examples! No really … USE EXAMPLES!
  • Point of view means whether it is first, second or third person narration.
  • Syntax is about sentence structure. For a more detailed discussion go here.
  • Tense is about verbs, it is not about your mood. Check it out here.
  • Know your terms and read questions carefully. Know what you are being asked.
  • The most important thing to do is to answer the question, in detail with supporting evidence.

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