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Exam prep– Oleanna. Drama preparation. In Section B the strongest responses were those where candidates: analysed the extract in detail before moving on to discuss at least one other part of the play showed a clear understanding of the text as drama

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drama preparation
Drama preparation

In Section B the strongest responses were those where candidates:

  • analysed the extract in detail before moving on to discuss at least one other part of the play
  • showed a clear understanding of the text as drama
  • discussed the characters as constructs rather than as if they were real people
  • made a brief reference to relevant context in the introduction and integrated references to context throughout the essay.
examiner s report 2012
Examiner’s report 2012

AO1: it is very pleasing to note that the majority of candidates are aware of the requirement to include detailed analysis of the extract. A few candidates, however, ignored the extract altogether, or dealt with it only briefly. As stated in the January report, it might be useful for candidates to think about spending around 50% of their time on the extract (although this is only one approach). In addition, the wording of the questions has been changed from ‘elsewhere in the play’ to ‘at least one other point in the play’. While candidates are free to range throughout the play if they wish, the most successful answers were those where candidates chose one other point in the play and analysed it in detail. This helped candidates to deal effectively with AO2 (close analysis) and AO4 (links between the extract and the wider play).

examiner s report
Examiner’s report

AO2: as stated in the January report, the majority of centres are giving excellent advice to their candidates about the necessity of focusing closely on a range of dramatic techniques. Many candidates wrote confidently about the texts as drama, discussing staging, costume, props, music, for example. However, there is still a significant minority of candidates who are not engaging with the text as drama. In some cases candidates were able to achieve Band 5 marks for AO1 and AO4 but included very little in the way of discussion of dramatic techniques (AO2). In these cases candidates tended to include examples of dialogue to back up their points rather than discussing the techniques used in the dialogue.

ao2 ctd
AO2 ctd.
  • It is important to note that candidates are not required to take on the role of a director. Candidates should therefore avoid a directorial approach, for example, ‘If I were directing this scene I would have the characters positioned...’ Rather, candidates should focus on staging as it appears in the text. As the marking grid for AO2 makes clear, candidates have to show understanding of the playwright’s use of dramatic techniques to create meaning; therefore comments on staging must be grounded in the text. (It is acceptable, though, to refer to a production the candidate has seen and show how anything in that performance highlighted an aspect of the play being discussed in their essay).
ao2 ctd1
AO2 ctd.

Some candidates are writing about characters as if they were real people. Referring to the playwright’s presentation of characters (i.e. how effects are achieved) and to the function of characters makes it clear that candidates understand that characters are constructs.

examiner s report1
Examiner’s report
  • AO4: as with the January examination, the majority of candidates addressed both strands of this assessment objective to some extent: the play as wider context for the extract and the wider contextual influences on the play. However, there were two key issues:
  • ▪ a significant minority missed out wider contextual issues;
  • ▪ some candidates included everything they knew about context: in these cases context tended to be either included as a paragraph at the beginning of the essay (sometimes even before addressing the question) or ‘tagged on’ at the end of the essay.
  • It is essential that references to context are relevant to the question and closely linked to the text. A useful tip is to encourage candidates to view AO4 through the lens of AO2: when a candidate includes analysis of dialogue, staging etc. they then need to make a relevant link to context.