Sunday, 22 April 2018

Exam Hacks: Paper 2 Writing

Last year, before the exams I wrote some ‘hacks’ for students. Short little mini lessons or tips to help them get better at answering the question. They often were stylistic choices rather than big ideas guiding how to answer the question. Click here to see my ‘Poetry Hacks’. Click here to see my ‘AQA Paper 1 Reading Hacks’.   

Anyway, here are my hacks for AQA’s GCSE Language Paper 2.  

[1] Start in an interesting way:

Imagine ….

What if…

What does _______ and __________  have in common?

A famous woman said….

The word ‘____’ means ….

[2] Talk to the reader

My friend, I know that…

As you know,…

You know….

Picture this…

Act now and …

Save yourself…

[3]Build a relationship with the reader. Flatter and creep up to them.

My loyal, kind reader…

Only smart, intelligent people, like yourself, will see the benefits of this approach.

Obviously, you know…

A person like you has experience of the issue.

[4] Use pronouns to build up that relationship.

We must …

It is our….

[5] Move between ‘I’ to ‘you’ and then ‘We’ within a paragraph

I think …

You expect …

We know …


My concern is

Your worry is

Our duty is

[6] Repetition is better than chucking every technique under the sun in a paragraph. Repeat a word, phrase or sentence to convince the reader.

I have a plan. I have a plan to change the world. A plan to make things better.

[7] Ethos: don’t forget you need to convince the reader why you are the best person why you should be listened to.

As a teenager, I have had first-hand experience of ….

You probably think I know very little of ….., but I assure you I do because…

I may have the body of a weak teenager, but I have the strong heart and complex brain of an adult.

[8] Use a metaphor and an extended metaphor for dramatic impact.

Bad things – plague, disease, cancer, chains,

Good things – medicine, plants, seeds, light, beacon

Homework is a cancer that plagues a child’s life. They can’t move, play or think without the pain of homework affecting their life.

Exercise is a ray of light in dark, dismal world.  

Tip: it is best if you explain your metaphor in a sentence after the metaphor’s use.

[9] Lists are important – especially verbs and adjectives

Pain, anguish and anxiety are the main problems with …

We all think, feel and know the dangers of …

[10] Verbs are incredibly important when writing a piece of a non-fiction and they can often been underused.

Students cry, weep, sob at the idea of completing homework.

Parents endure the pain of homework too.

[11] Adjectives are your secret to improving your vocabulary. Show off and learn some sophisticated adjectives.

We all want to live in a harmonious society, yet we live in a distorted and disjointed world of discord and chaos.

[12] Plan for a change in tone and mood during your writing. Make your reader cry, laugh and be scared in one piece of writing. Take them on an emotional journey.

Fear -   Children are having their childhood eroded away.

Sarcasm – Most homework is as exciting as reading the Worthington bus timetable.

Serious – We must address this now or will be facing one of the biggest problems today.

[13] Use indirect speech from others to strengthen your arguments. Don’t use direct speech – direct quotes from sources. It weakens your writing.

Parents say…

Teachers say…

Scientists say…

Teenagers say…

[14] Think of the order of things in a list. What do you want to place the emphasis on?

Teachers, students, friends and family are all affected by homework.

Homework restricts fun, friendships and freedom.

[15] Raise the level of urgency and importance with modal verbs. Start with ‘could’ / ‘might’ and end with ‘must’ and ‘have to’

We can

You might ...

We should

You will

We must


Thanks for reading,



  1. It’s really helpful for the student to get practice and good score. English is a basic necessary thing in the day to day life. In online, there are lots of sites available they provide the English sample paper for the student. Student or their parents or teachers are bought those sample paper and give their child or student for practice. I bought some test paper form for my brother. He will get a good result after the practice.


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