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WRITING FACTUAL TEXTS – EXAM PREPARATIONS

The arrival of spring made the poet Robert Browning feel that “All’s right with the world!” Many of the over 6000 students across Norway preparing for exams in International English and Social Studies English, however, might not share Browning’s elation about the season.

Statistics from the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training (Utdanningsdirektoratet) reveal that half of the International English students got the grade 1, 2 or 3 on the written exam in 2017, and the same goes for 60% of the students in Social Studies English. I am hoping that the tips and resources in this document can alleviate some of the stresses of exam preparations for both teachers and students, and maybe even contribute to lifting your students’ results on the final exam.

Overview
For both courses, you will find an overview of the topics and tasks that have been given on the last six exams. I have commented on aspects of the different tasks that seem to pose particular challenges, for instance: What is meant by the terms and phrases used in exam tasks, such as “language features and literary devices” and the command terms “discuss” and “comment on”? And what does it mean when the long answer task says to “use” the attached material?

Strategies
In addition, I have suggested strategies for “unpacking” the question and for improving the argumentation in long answers, two common weaknesses pointed out by examiners. As a resource for teaching text analysis (task 1a) there is a step-by-step recipe that you can use with your students in class.

Model texts
I have also included three “model texts” to illustrate how some short answer tasks can be solved; a text analysis (task 1a), a commentary on a cartoon (task 1b) and a commentary on statistics (task 1b).

Good luck with the exam preparations!

April 2018

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ForfatterbildeElisabeth Farstad er lektor i engelsk og norsk ved Ås videregående skole. Hun har hovedfag i engelsk fra Universitetet i Oslo, og har over 15 års undervisningserfaring fra den videregående skolen, blant annet fra Oslo katedralskole og Eikeli videregående skole. Elisabeth underviser i engelsk på IB-linjen, der hun også er kontaktlærer og CAS-koordinator. Hennes interessefelt er litteratur, sjangerlære og kjønns- og rasespørsmål. Hun er opptatt av å skape en følelse av relevans og glede i elevenes møte med språk og tekst. Elisabeth har i flere år veiledet lærerstudenter i fagene engelsk og norsk.

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