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INTRODUCTION
Dear Reader,

For the past year I have been uploading revision videos on GCSE English, English
Language and English Literature onto youtube.com/mrbruff. These videos have been viewed
nearly half a million times across more than 175 different countries. I also host a weekly
podcast, available on iTunes. Over the past 12 months I have been asked so many times to
write a revision guide that I finally gave in and got on with it! This eBook takes the very best
of my videos and puts it all down in writing. Rather than have you spend a small fortune on
revision guides for each course, I am providing this all-encompassing guide for just 99 pence.
I am not endorsed by any exam boards, and I do not have any permissions to reproduce
copyrighted materials. Because of this, there are gaps in what I can do: I do not have many
pictures in this guide and I am not able to produce notes on any of the recent poems which
are copyrighted. Likewise, the sources I use for mock questions belong to me, making my
sample answers a little self-obsessed as I write about myself a lot! Just bear in mind that in
the exam the sources will focus on different topics.
Finally, I couldnt have made this eBook without the help of the wonderful people at
easyit.co.uk. They run an online store selling laptops, desktops, monitors and other
computer equipment. I have first-hand experience of working with them and recommend
them whole-heartedly for all ICT needs.

Enjoy the eBook,


Andrew Bruff
www.mrbruff.com

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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TABLE
of
CONTENTS
GCSE ENGLISH / ENGLISH LANGUAGE:
English / English Language Unit 1 Exam: Foundation Tier Section A....4
English / English Language Unit 1 Exam: Higher Tier Section A..14
English / English Language Unit 1 Exam: Section B (Foundation & Higher Tier
combined)...28

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE:


English Literature: Unit 1 Exam.53
English Literature: Unit 2 Exam.55
Afterword...96

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English / English Language


Unit 1 Exam
Foundation Tier
Section A

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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ENGLISH / ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXAM (FOUNDATION TIER) SECTION A


The first thing you should know is that the exams for English and English Language follow
the same format. Therefore, everything that I write about one is also directly relevant and
applicable to the other. The second thing you should be aware of is that the foundation tier
exam is very different to the higher tier exam for section A. Because of this, you need to
know which tier you are doing and only study the guide on that tier. For section B, both
papers are very similar, so I will deal with that section in one unified chapter.

THE PAPER
This exam is a long one: 2 hours 15 minutes. The exam is marked out of a total of 80 marks,
with 40 available for section A and 40 available for section B. In section B, around 1/3 of the
marks available are rewarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar. In section A, there are
no marks awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar as it is testing your reading skills.
For section A you are required to read three source texts usually a newspaper article,
advert, webpage etc. It is recommended that you spend 15 minutes reading these sources
before moving onto the questions.

QUESTION 1A
Question 1A is a simple question which gives you a great opportunity to pick up 4 marks
very easily. I like to think of it as the exam boards easy opener, where you can get into the
swing of things. Having said that, there are a great many students who fail to achieve the
full 4 marks, so read on for my tips.
This question is based on source 1. You will be asked to list 4 things you learn from the
source.
TOP TIPS FOR QUESTION 1A

List four different things (make sure none of your points


are repeating previous points)
Make sure the four things you list are focused on the topic from the question. You
cannot list just any four things they need to be linked to the topic of the question
Write in your own words (do not lift from the text)
Do not back your answer up with quotations it is not necessary and will waste
valuable time.

OK, lets take a look at a sample question and answer. Take a look at the article Education
for the Nation, found on page 25.

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Imagine you are faced with the following question:


Q: List four things you learn about Andrew Bruff.
Using the tips mentioned in this section, the kind of answer you should aim for is something like this:
1.
2.
3.
4.

He is an English teacher
He began making revision videos in 2011
He has also created a podcast
He is motivated by the support he gets from students around the globe

As you can see, this really is a very easy question. My answer successfully listed four
different things, in my own words, and kept them on topic for the question. Simple!

QUESTION 1B
Question 1B is also based on source 1 and is worth 4 marks.
In this question you are being asked to show you understand source 1 by explaining one
specific part of it. You will need to write two or three paragraphs for this question.

TOP TIPS FOR QUESTION 1B

Make 2 or 3 separate points in your own words (dont just


copy phrases from the text)

Back up your points with a quotation from the text


Explain how your chosen quotation proves your point
Structure your answer in PEE paragraphs.
OK, imagine you were faced with the following question, still based on the Education for
the Nation article:
Q: Why does Andrew Bruff make online videos?
Following the tips given on the previous page, the following answer should be just fine:
One of the reasons Andrew Bruff makes online videos is to save himself time and effort regarding
revision materials. He saves time because, when revision time comes around, there is no need for
him to go to any extra effort; the lesson are already on YouTube for the class to re-watch. This
means that he has only to cover each topic once and let students manage their own revision.
Secondly, Andrew Bruff makes online videos because he gets great pleasure from the responses he
gets from students and teachers. He explains that the messages he receives from grateful viewers
mean he just cant stop. This suggests that he now feels almost responsible to those viewers, like
he has become their teacher and he cares about how they do in their exams.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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For this answer I have clearly written two separate points, structuring each one into a PEE
paragraph. The biggest mistake to make with this question is to only make one point you
have to make at least two different points to do well in question 1B.

QUESTION 2
Question 2 is based on source 2 and is worth 8 marks. It is a comprehension question, asking
you to prove that you understand the source.
You are being asked to show that you understand the source and can point out the main
things you learn from it. You will need to back your answer up with short quotations from
the text. It is testing your skills of inference you need to show how you came to your
conclusions about the text.
TOP TIPS FOR QUESTION 2

Make at least four separate points, written in your own


words
Back up each point with a quotation from the text
Explain how you chosen quotation proves your point
Structure your answer in PEE paragraphs
It is NOT a language analysis question you do not need to
Analyse DAFOREST or other language devices in this question.

OK, the following sample question and answer is based on the non fiction text First Day
Nerves, which can be found on page 27. Look at the following question:
Q: Explain what you learn about beginning a career as a teacher.
The following answer, based on my top tips above, is an example of how to tackle this
question.
One of the things we learn about beginning a career as a teacher is that it is very different to what you
learn in teacher training. The writer explains that Despite everything you learn in your teacher training
year, nothing can prepare you for the start of teaching. This suggests that there is a vast difference
between learning the theory of teaching and actually putting it into practise. It also suggests that
teacher training does not do a good enough job in preparing trainees for the realities of the job.
Another thing we learn about beginning a career as a teacher is that you make mistakes. We see that
Andrew Smith didnt have a seating plan. When writing the text now, he is able to say that was a big
oversight on my part. This shows that no-one is perfect and that part of beginning any career is
making mistakes.
We also learn that beginning teaching is very difficult because you dont know any of the students you
are teaching. Smith writes I knew none of their names and so I struggled. This shows that it is
important to know your students names so that you can clearly identify the one you want to talk to.
However, it also shows the importance of student-teacher relationships. On this first day the teacher
did not know the students and the students did not know the teacher; the result was chaos.

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Finally, we learn that beginning a teaching career is a steep learning curve. Smith writes: over the
coming weeks and months I learnt a multitude of valuable lessons, which shows that his practise
improved very quickly. This suggests that true teacher training can only take place within the
classroom but that it then takes place at a very fast pace.

QUESTION 3
Question 3 is based on source 3. It will ask you to explain how the writer uses language
techniques to engage the reader. The question will be divided into two sections, with each
section focussing on a different element of the text.
This question is worth a hefty 12 marks, so you should spend around 18 minutes answering
it.

A lot of students struggle with this question, particularly with the idea of analysing
language which seems like such a vague term. The key thing for this question is that you
need to have a toolkit to answer it. Well, I have got a toolkit for you, and its called
DAFOREST. Here it is:
TECHNIQUE
DEFINITION
Direct address Referring to the reader
directly using the pronouns
we or you.
Alliteration A group of words beginning
with the same letter or
sound.
Fact Something which can be
proven to be true.
Opinion A belief which cannot be
proven to be true.
Rhetorical question Any question in a piece of
writing which does not
require an answer.
Emotive language Words which elicit a
powerful emotional
response.
Statistics Numerical facts and data.
(rule of) three Lists of three things in a
sentence.

EXAMPLE
You need to give up
smoking
Smoking sucks

60% of teens have tried


smoking
Everyone hates people who
smoke
Do you want to die young?

Smoking is barbaric and


torturous
8/10 smokers want to quit
smoking is expensive,
harmful and anti-social.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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There is no quick way around this other than to say you will need to memorise DAFOREST
and be able to spot it in source 3. The great thing about it is that the effect it has on the
reader is always the same, so if you can memorise it now you pretty much have your answer
ready for question three. Here is another table explaining the effect of each technique:

TECHNIQUE
EFFECT ON THE READER
Direct address Engages the reader to read on as they feel that, by being addressed
directly, the text is specifically for them.

Alliteration Makes the text catchy it sticks in the readers head.


Fact Make the text seem authoritative, accurate and therefore believable.

Opinion Sways the reader towards the writers viewpoint.


Rhetorical question Engages the reader to read on as they feel that, by being addressed
directly, the text is relevant to them.

Emotive language Makes the topic of the text seem overly good or bad, depending on
the purpose of the text.

Statistics Make the text seem authoritative, accurate and therefore believable.

(rule of) three Makes the text catchy it sticks in the readers head.

If you can memorise the details in the table above, then answering question three becomes
simple:

Read source 3, highlighting the DAFOREST techniques as you find them. You may not
find them all, but there should always be at least five of them.
Turn each one into a separate PEE paragraph, using the formulaic answers from the
table above. For example:

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The writer of the anti-smoking leaflet uses direct address in the article, asking
do you want to die young? The use of you grabs the readers attention and
makes them feel the article is written just for them. It makes them want to
read on.
The use of emotive language persuades the reader to want to give up
smoking. Words such as barbaric and torturous make smoking seem so bad
that they are persuaded to see their habit in an extremely negative light. The
writer does this to make them want to quit.

As this question is worth 12 marks, you should aim to write approximately five good
paragraphs, each about a different DAFOREST technique. Remember: the effects on
the reader are always the same as that listed in my table, so you should memorise
them before the exam.

Lets look at a sample question and answer. I will base mine once again on the article
Education for the Nation, but remember: in the exam this question will be based on a
different source to that which previous questions were based on. That said, consider the
following question:
Q: How does the writer use language in this extract?
The vague phrasing of this question means I could write almost anything, but using the tips
above I will keep it wholly focused on DAFOREST. See what you think:
The writer of Education for the Nation uses emotive language throughout the article. One example
can be found when he states that the work Mr Bruff completes is revolutionising learning. The word
revolutionising conjures up images of something grand and historical. The effect on the reader is that
they think the work Mr Bruff is doing is absolutely amazing.
Another use of language in the article is seen through the use of facts such as half a million times
across 179 different countries. The writer uses facts to make the text sound accurate and
authoritative. Whereas the rest of the article is largely made up of positive opinions, the facts and
statistics make the reader believe what they are reading is true. It moves away from sounding too
much like a fan piece to seeming to be real news.
Another language technique used is the rule of three, seen where we read of Mr Bruffs videos,
podcasts and eBooks. By putting things in a list of three it makes them catchy and memorable,
meaning the reader is more likely to remember the services Mr Bruff offers, simply because they are
put into a list of three things.
The writer ends by using direct address, telling the reader to Google his name and youll see for
yourself. By addressing the reader with the personal pronoun you it makes them feel they are being
spoken to personally, and therefore makes them more likely to take note of what is being written.
Ending the article with this command is also a clever way of making sure the reader (when they have
finished the article) goes and researches Mr Bruff right away.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/10

QUESTION 4
This means everything except
words, so you should be
thinking about images, fonts,
pictures, photos etc.

Question 4 will ask you to explain how the writer uses presentational devices to engage the
reader. The challenging part here is that you will need to compare how two of the sources
use presentational devices.
This question is worth 12 marks, so again the exam board are expecting a detailed response.
You are required to pick out a number of presentational devices and comment on the effect
on the reader.
The best way to approach this question is to imagine that the sources began as blank white
pieces of paper. Every single colour, image and font was therefore chosen with purpose, and
the placement of these elements was also a deliberate choice. That means you will have
plenty to choose from.
Because of copyright, I cannot reprint any texts here. However, imagine the front cover of a
weekly womens magazine. The colour pink is used across the tect, and the main image on
the cover is of an attractive woman with blonde hair; she isnt a celebrity or a glamour
model, but a homely and nice looking woman. Why might these colours and images have
been used in this source? Well, youll need to explain your thinking in PEE paragraphs
something like this:
In source three the colour pink in used throughout the text in both the title, headings and banner. The
colour pink is a signifier which has a connotation of femininity. The colour is used to make the
audience realise that the magazine is primarily pitched at a female target audience.
The main photo on the magazine front cover is of an attractive woman. This woman adheres to the
stereotypical image of female beauty: blonde hair, blue eyes and straight teeth. The image is used to
appeal to female readers in the same age range as the model; she acts as a role model to readers
who aspire to be like her. The connotation is that the magazine contains information on how to be like
this woman.

As you can see, my answer clearly focuses on the purpose of the text in this case the
magazine front cover is trying to attract women to buy the magazine. From there I explain
how the colours and images are attempting to do this. Never write about different elements
in the same paragraph keep them for a separate paragraph.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/11

Because this is a comparison question, you will also need to consider how the two texts are
similar and different. Imagine the second source is the front cover of a skateboarding
magazine. A comparative paragraph may read:
In stark contrast to source three, source one does not use the colour pink at all. Instead, the
background colours are a mix of blue and black. This is because the source has a different target
audience: young males. Blue is a colour which has a stereotypical association with males and would
therefore draw them to the magazine. The connotation of black is that it suggests danger and even
evil, symbolising the bad connotations often associated with skateboarding. Although the magazines
use different colour schemes, they are united in the fact that the colours they use are chosen to
appeal to their differing target audiences.

TOP TIPS FOR QUESTION 4

Think only about colours, images, font size and placement


on the page (do not write about language)
Write PEE paragraphs which address target audience and
effect on the reader
Remember to compare comment on the similarities and differences between the
two texts.

For my sample question and answer I will, once again, refer to my article Education for the
Nation. I will compare it to the poster which can be found on page 26. Following the tips
above, I will answer this question:
Q: Compare how the two sources use presentational features
And here is my answer, which I spent 18 minutes on:
The article Education for the Nation uses very few presentational features and relies more on
language to get its message across; this is in great contrast to the poster.
The only image in Education for the Nation is a photograph of Andrew Bruff. In this photo Andrew is
smiling / laughing. The suggested meaning here is that Andrew is a fun person to be around. This
would appeal to students who may think revising is boring; if Andrew makes it fun then that would
certainly make them want to look at his resources.
In the revision guide poster, image is also used to show the fun revision materials. However, this
source uses cartoon imagery to achieve this. The cartoon imagery suggests that the material is not
only fun but also clearly aimed at a youth audience. However, the style is more in line with teen
cartoons such as The Simpsons and South Park, suggesting that there is humour and a gritty edge to
the revision guide. In conclusion, both sources aim to make the material look fun and therefore
appealing to the target audience, but they achieve this in different ways.
Secondly, the Education for the Nation image shows Mr Bruff wearing a pair of sunglasses. The
suggested meaning and the effect on the reader is that they therefore think Mr Bruff must be cool.
For teenagers (Mr Bruffs target audience) image is very important as is street cred, so appearing
cool would be very important to attract the right target audience. In contrast to this, the revision
poster doesnt pay so much attention to looking cool. Although the cartoon image has a cross-over

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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meaning of both fun and cool, there is more emphasis in the poster on diligent study. For example,
the image of a post-it or sticky note is used in the poster. This is referring to conscientious students
who stick notes around when revising (or in everyday life). This is not a cool thing but a
conscientious thing which a hard-working, grade focused student is likely to do. The creator of the text
does this because it balances out the fun imagery, suggesting that there is serious academic value
to the revision guide. Education for the Nation doesnt need to do this through its use of
presentational features, as it has the text of the article to do this.
Finally, the colours used in the texts are interesting. In Education for the Nation there are very few
colours used apart from black and white. This backs up the format of the text which came from a
newspaper. In contrast, the poster uses a lot of different colours. The most important ones are blue
and pink, both used in two different parts of the text. These are colours we stereotypically associate
with boys and girls (blue for a boy and pink for a girl) and by using them both throughout the poster
the meaning is clear: Mr Bruffs revision guide is for both boys and girls. The creator of the poster is
keen not to alienate anyone through the use of presentational features. Again, this message is also
portrayed in Education for the Nation, but it is portrayed through the hundreds of words of text, which
are something the poster does not have the benefit of.

And that brings us to the end of Section A. Everything you need to know about Section B is
the same for the higher tier paper too, so please now turn to page 28.

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/13

English / English Language


Unit 1 Exam
Higher Tier
Section A

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/14

ENGLISH / ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXAM (HIGHER TIER) SECTION A


As I have already stated in the foundation tier section of this eBook, you should know that
the exams for English and English Language follow the same format. Therefore, everything
that I write about one is also directly relevant and applicable to the other. The second thing
you should be aware of is that the foundation tier exam is very different to the higher tier
exam for section A. Because of this, you need to know which tier you are doing and only
study the guide on that tier. For section B, both papers are very similar, so I will deal with
that section in one unified chapter.

THE PAPER
This exam is a long one: 2 hours 15 minutes. Your paper is marked out of a total of 80 marks,
with 40 available for section A and 40 available for section B. In section B, around 1/3 of the
marks available are rewarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar. In section A, there are
no marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar as it is testing your reading skills.
For section A you are required to read three source texts usually a newspaper article,
advert, webpage etc. It is recommended that you spend 15 minutes reading those sources
before moving onto the questions. In the higher tier paper all three texts tend to be very
dense no easy posters here!

QUESTION 1
Question 1 is based on source 1 and is worth 8 marks. You are given 3 pages in the answer booklet,
and should aim to fill at least two of these. The question is testing your ability to read and
understand a text, backing up your points with quotations. It is a fairly easy opener to the exam
paper. You are being asked to summarise the text in your own words, pointing out subtleties or
inconsistencies if you can spot them.
Although this is a fairly simple question, there are still a few pitfalls you need to avoid. To begin with,
this is not a language analysis question. You should not be picking out DAFOREST techniques and
commenting on their effect on the reader. In fact, all you are being asked to do is summarise the text
in your own words.

TOP TIPS FOR QUESTION 1

Make a range of points which summarise all parts of the text.


Comment on how the text begins, what it is saying in the
middle and how it ends.
Use your own words dont just copy out the text.
Back up your points with appropriate quotations.
Look for subtleties such as inconsistencies or contradictions.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/15

The following sample question and answer is based on my article Education for the Nation
which can be found on page 25.

Q: What do you learn from the article about the ways students are revising?
The article Education for the Nation shows us that students are revising in a number of different
ways. To begin with, they are revising through watching online videos, such as those recorded by
Andrew Bruff. We know this to be true because the videos have been been viewed nearly half a
million times. This is a staggering statistic which must represent a massively part of the population
who take exams. Considering such a great number is being achieved by just one teacher, we can
hypothesise that the majority of students are now using this method of online videos to revise.
Another way students are revising is through downloading eBooks. Again, Andrew Bruffs eBook has
been downloaded over 10,000 times in a month which suggests that there is a big call for this type of
revision material. The beauty of eBooks is that they can be downloaded not only onto PCs but also
iPad, iPhone and the like. This suggests that students are revising on the go, at times and places
where they want to revise. This perhaps shows that students are no longer just revising at home or
school, but are utilising their mobile technology to revise whenever they can fit it in during car trips
for example. If an actual print book sold 10,000 copies it would be considered a bestseller, so clearly
this huge figure points to the fact that students WANT to revise on the move.
Students are also revising through podcasting. Podcasts are a relatively new phenomenon, but clearly
students revise through them as Andrew Bruff has seen the need to create the walk to school
podcast. Again this suggests that students want to revise on their own terms, at times and places that
are convenient for them.
The final thing we learn about student revision is that students want instant feedback and results.
Andrew Bruff has 1,000 followers on Twitter and gets asked questions which he responds to in real
time. This shows that students want 24/7 communication with teachers and are utilising technology to
achieve this. They dont want to have to wait until they get to their English lesson to speak to their
teachers.

QUESTION 2
This means everything except
words, so you should be
thinking about images, fonts,
pictures, photos etc.

Question 2 will ask you to explain how the writer uses presentational devices to engage the
reader. This question is worth 8 marks, meaning you should spend around 12 minutes on it.
You are expected to analyse the presentational devices mentioned in the question and
comment on their effect on the reader. Unlike in the foundation paper, there will be a
second part to the question, usually asking how the presentational devices relate to the text
itself.
COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/16

The best way to approach this question is to imagine that the sources began as blank white
pieces of paper. Every single colour, image and font was therefore chosen with purpose, and
the placement of these elements was also a deliberate choice. That means you will have
plenty to choose from.
Because of copyright, I cannot reprint any texts here. However, imagine the front cover of a
weekly womens magazine. The colour pink is used throughout, and the main image on the
cover is of an attractive woman with blonde hair; she isnt a celebrity or a glamour model,
but a homely and nice looking woman. Why might these colours and images have been used
in this source? Well, youll need to explain your thinking in PEE paragraphs something like
this:
In source two the colour pink in used throughout the text in both the title, headings and banner. The
colour pink is a signifier which has a connotation of femininity. The colour is used to make the
audience realise that the magazine is primarily pitched at a female target audience.
The main photo on the magazine front cover is of a beautiful young woman. This woman adheres to
the stereotypical image of female beauty: blonde hair, blue eyes and straight teeth. The image is used
to appeal to female readers in the same age range as the model; she acts as a role model to readers
who aspire to be like her. The connotation is that the magazine contains information on how to be like
this woman.

As you can see, my answer clearly focuses on the purpose of the text in this case the
magazine front cover is trying to attract women to buy the magazine. From there I explain
how the colours and images are attempting to do this. Never write about different elements
in the same paragraph keep them for a separate paragraph.
TOP TIPS FOR QUESTION 2
Make a direct reference to illustrate the device. Obviously
you cant quote a picture or colour, but you can refer to it
like this: the colour pink is used for the magazine title.
Explain why the writer has used this device.
Comment on the effect on the reader.

Because of lack of source material, I will once again base my sample answer on my article
Education for the Nation. However, please note that question 2 will be based on a different
source to question 1 in the exam.

Q: How are the headline, subheadline and picture effective. How do they link to the text?
There are basically 4 different parts to this question:

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/17

1)
2)
3)
4)

How is the headline effective?


How is the subheadline effective?
How is the picture effective?
How do they link to the text?

To me, it seems logical therefore to attempt these four parts one by one, following all of the
guidance set out in the top tips section above.
The headline of the article Education for the Nation is effective for two reasons. To begin with, it does
what every good headline should do it hints at the topic of the article and it is catchy and memorable
due to the use of rhyme. It is also effective because it summarises the most important part of the
article: that Andrew Bruffs online resources are teaching students across the country. It links to the
text because the text goes on to explain just how Andrew is educating the nation, e.g. Andrew
created over 200 videos [on YouTube].
The picture is effective because it really symbolises so much of what Andrew Bruff does. The photo
shows Andrew smiling / laughing. The connotation here is that Andrew is a fun person who has a
good sense of humour which is likely to be used in his revision materials. This would appeal to
students who may think revising is boring; if Andrew makes it fun then that would certainly make them
want to look at his resources. This links to the text because Andrew himself says I try to throw in
some humour where I can, just to keep things lively.
Also, the Education for the Nation image shows Mr Bruff wearing a pair of sunglasses. The
connotation and the effect on the reader is that they therefore think Mr Bruff must be cool. For
teenagers (Mr Bruffs target audience), image is very important as is street cred, so appearing cool
would be very important to attract the right target audience. This ties in with the text because the text
goes on to explain how Andrew uses YouTube, Twitter and iTunes: all sites which are very popular
with young people. Through utilising sites which are popular with young people, Andrew is, as
suggested in his pose in the photo, contemporary and relevant to young people.
My final point about the photo is that Andrew is faced away from the camera. This symbolically refers
to the relationship Andrew has with his audience: they watch him but he cannot see them. It shows
that the responsibility lies with the student to make the effort to watch his materials. This is different to
school life where the teacher will be checking up on the class. In the online world where Andrew Bruff
operates, the onus is on the student to watch the teacher, not the other way around. This links to the
text because in the text we see that Andrew uses Twitter to answer questions. The focus here is on
students coming to Andrew and Andrew responding, not the other way around.
Finally, the subheading is effective because it summarises the whole article in a short space. This is
the purpose of a subheading if the headline has grabbed the readers attention, the subheading will
then show them whether the article is going to be of interest to them. When we read An English
teacher from Devon is revolutionising the way students learn, utilising web2 technologies such as
YouTube, iTunes and Twitter we have a full understanding of what the rest of the article is going to
be about. It links to the text because there is a paragraph in the article about each of the points
mentioned in the subheading: one on YouTube, one on iTunes and one on Twitter.
The subheading is also effective for another reason. Through the use of emotive language. One
example can be found when he states that the work Mr Bruff completes is revolutionising learning.
The word revolutionising conjures up images of something grand and historical. The effect on the
reader is that they think the work Mr Bruff is doing is absolutely amazing, and therefore it makes the
reader want to read on to find out just what is so stupefying.

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/18

QUESTION 3
Question 3 is based on source 3. It is a difficult question in that it appears to be quite vague.
It will ask you to explain to make clear and understandable, something you have read
about in the source. The question is, once again, worth 8 marks. It will often, but not always,
be based on a non-fiction text such as a journal or autobiography piece.
Like question 2, this question will be testing your ability to understand and interpret
meaning, this time in source three. Again, it is not a language analysis question, and
language should only be analysed if it specifically answers the question. You should not
write about the effect on the reader in this question (that comes in question 4).
As with question 1, you should aim to make a range of points which cover all parts of the
text. Comment on how the text begins, what it is saying in the middle and how it ends.
TOP TIPS FOR QUESTION 3:

Write about all parts of the text beginning, middle and


end
Back up your points with quotations from the text
Do not write about the effect on the reader.

This sample question and answer is based on the biography extract titled First Day Nerves,
which can be found on page 27.
Q: Explain the feelings and thoughts Andrew Smith had on his first day of teaching.
Using the top tips above, here is my sample answer:
One of the first feelings Andrew Smith had on his first day of teaching was of feeling unprepared for
the job. On that first day Andrew came to the worrying realisation that, despite everything you learn in
your teacher training year, nothing can prepare you for the start of teaching. This suggests that there
is a vast difference between learning the theory of teaching and actually putting it into practise. It also
suggests that teacher training does not do a good enough job in preparing trainees for the realities of
the job and clearly Andrew was panicked when he realised this personally on day one.
As the lesson began the students were grinning at Andrew and he felt confused about just why they
were so amused. This sense of confusion is backed up by the short sentences used in this part of the
text such as I froze. This short sentence perhaps reflects the short breaths or fast heart beats that
Andrew was experiencing in this difficult lesson.
As the lesson went on, Andrew began to feel angry at the students, blaming them and their
backgrounds for the poor lesson. We see this when he refers to the students as a rabble in
paragraph four, a stark contrast from the collective term of group which was used at the beginning of

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/19

the text. This change of language choice shows how Andrews thoughts were turning bitter against
the students that he could not control.
When Andrew began sending numerous students out, he felt self conscious and paranoid at how his
Head of Department would feel. We see this when he imagines the Head of Departments thoughts:
had the new guy cracked already? Andrew was clearly feeling paranoid here as the Head of
Department didnt even say anything, but Andrew imagined his thoughts and imagined them in a very
negative fashion.

QUESTION 4
This is the trickiest question in section A, in that it will require you to choose which sources
you will write about. You will be asked to compare the language use in two texts one is set
and the other is to be chosen by you. This question is worth 16 marks and requires a very
detailed answer.
A lot of students struggle with this question, particularly with the idea of analysing
language which seems like such a vague term. The exam boards have stated in their
examiners reports that many students struggle with this question because they do not have
a tool-kit to analyse language. Well, I have got a toolkit for you, and its called DAFOREST. I
will happily share it with you but I must make it clear that it is not going to get you an A or
A* - it is a good building block to start with, and I include it here for those of you looking for
a starting point when it comes to language analysis, but I will give some more sophisticated
techniques afterwards.
Here is DAFOREST:
TECHNIQUE
DEFINITION
Direct address Referring to the reader
directly using the pronouns
we or you.
Alliteration A group of words beginning
with the same letter or
sound.
Fact Something which can be
proven to be true.
Opinion A belief which cannot be
proven to be true.
Rhetorical question Any question in a piece of
writing which does not
require an answer.
Emotive language Words which elicit a
powerful emotional
response.
Statistics Numerical facts and data.
(rule of) three Lists of three things in a
sentence.

EXAMPLE
You need to give up
smoking
Smoking sucks

60% of teens have tried


smoking
Everyone hates people who
smoke
Do you want to die young?

Smoking is barbaric and


torturous
8/10 smokers want to quit
smoking is expensive,
harmful and anti-social.

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/20

There is no quick way around this other than to say you will need to memorise DAFOREST
and be able to spot it in the two sources. The great thing about it is that the effect it has on
the reader is always the same, so if you can memorise it now you pretty much have your
answer ready for question three. Here is another table explaining the effect of each
technique:

TECHNIQUE
EFFECT ON THE READER
Direct address Engages the reader to read on as they feel that, by being addressed
directly, the text is relevant to them.

Alliteration Makes the text catchy it sticks in the readers head.


Fact Make the text seem authoritative, accurate and therefore believable.

Opinion Sway the reader towards the writers viewpoint.


Rhetorical question Engages the reader to read on as they feel that, by being addressed
directly, the text is relevant to them.

Emotive language Makes the topic of the text seem overly good or bad, depending on
the purpose of the text.

Statistics Make the text seem authoritative, accurate and therefore believable.

(rule of) three Makes the text catchy it sticks in the readers head.

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/21

If you can memorise the details in the table above, then answering question 4 becomes
quite simple:

Read the two sources, highlighting the DAFOREST techniques as you find them. You
may not find them all, but there should always be at least five of them.
Turn each one into a separate PEE paragraph, using the formulaic answers from the
table above. For example:

The writer of the anti-smoking leaflet uses direct address in the article, asking do you want to die
young? The use of you grabs the readers attention and makes them feel the article is written just for
them. It makes them want to read on.
The use of emotive language persuades the reader to want to give up smoking. Words such as
barbaric and torturous make smoking seem so bad that they are persuaded to see their habit in an
extremely negative light. The writer does this to make them want to quit.

BUILDING ON THE BASICS OF DAFOREST


As I have said, DAFOREST is a useful starting point but for those of you aiming to achieve the
very top grades you will need to do more than churn out simple PEE paragraphs verbatim.
For example, you should also try to consider the structure of a text as seen in this sample
answer:
The writer uses a mix of fact and opinion to persuade the reader to give up smoking. When we read
'each cigarette contains 0.2 grams of asbestos', this fact makes us feel that the article is accurate and
to be believed; facts give an air of authority to a text. By following this with the opinion 'smoking is a
disgusting habit', we are led to believe that this too is a fact, like the one that went before it. The effect
is that we believe the opinion to be fact and are therefore persuaded that smoking is both a
dangerous and disgusting habit.

You should also look for examples of humour, irony, satire, hyperbole and other techniques.
When you find these you should follow the same format as stated above: mention the
technique, back up your point with a quotation and write about the effect on the reader.
Finally, if you are naturally a top level student you should also be willing to go with your
gut. If there is a word or phrase which seems significant to you then you should write about
it.
Do not forget that this is a comparison question. Because of this, you will also need to
consider how the two texts are similar and different. A comparative paragraph may read:
Source three does not use fact at all, but relies on emotive language to do its bidding. In an attempt to
sell the holiday package the text is littered with words such as awe inspiring and breath-taking.
These words are hyperbolic; this is but a simple two star package holiday. However, the desired effect

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/22

is that the reader will fall in love with the holiday, rating it far higher than it does in actuality deserve.
Whereas source one uses facts to sound authoritative and accurate, source three sees no such need.
Perhaps this is because the whole advert is tongue in cheek , using a wry sense of humour to
entertain its reader and ultimately cause them to amiably book the holiday.

TOP TIPS FOR QUESTION 4

Choose your second source carefully the easiest thing to do


is choose the one which contains most of the DAFOREST
techniques.
Read both sources, highlighting the DAFOREST techniques as
you find them. You may not find them all, but there should
always be at least five of them.
Turn each one into a separate PEE paragraph, using the
formulaic answers from the table above.
Look for more sophisticated points if you are aiming for A and
A* grades.
Remember to compare write about similarities and
differences.

For my sample answer, I will use the texts Education for the Nation and First Day Nerves
to answer the following:
Q: Compare the use of language in two texts
The writer of Education for the Nation uses emotive language throughout the article. One example
can be found when he states that the work Mr Bruff completes is revolutionising learning. The word
revolutionising conjures up images of something grand and historical. The effect on the reader is that
they think the work Mr Bruff is doing is absolutely amazing.
The writer of First Day Nerves also uses emotive language. However, whereas the purpose in
Education for the Nation is to present the topic in positive terms, the emotive language used in Firs
Day Nerves is used to show how awful the students were. Describing the group as a rabble of
yobbish lads is clearly used to have the emotive effect on the reader of thinking that these students
were incredibly uncouth. The inconsistency here is that Mr Smith had only just met the class, so
clearly these assumptions were being made on first impressions.
Another use of language in the Education for the Nation is seen through the persuasive mix of fact
and opinion. The writer uses many facts such as half a million times across 179 different countries.
The writer uses facts to make the text sound accurate and authoritative. Whereas the rest of the
article is largely made up of positive opinions, the facts and statistics make the reader believe what
they are reading is true. It moves away from sounding too much like a fan piece to seeming to be real
news. This is important as the text comes from a newspaper and should therefore aim to appear
impartial. The truth is that the text is not impartial it clearly aims to promote the online work of Mr
Bruff. However, by cleverly mixing facts and statistics along with the more persuasive opinions such
as an English teacher from Devon is revolutionising the way students learn, the reader is inclined to

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/23

believe that everything they are reading is fact. The subtle juxtaposition of fact and opinion is used to
make the reader believe every part of the article is fact.
The line between fact and opinion is also blurred in the source First Day Nerves. Facts such as the
group was a year 11 class make the reader believe that they are going to be reading a factual
recount piece. However, opinions are then mixed in, such as: nothing can prepare you for your first
ever lesson as a newly qualified teacher. This particular opinion is used to suggest that Smith was
not to blame for this poor lesson, that there was nothing he could have done about it. Were the piece
wholly made up of opinion we might question this, but being once again juxtaposed with facts, the
effect on the reader is that the whole thing seems accurate.
Another language technique used in Education for the Nation is the rule of three, seen where we
read of Mr Bruffs videos, podcasts and eBooks. By putting things in a list of three it makes them
catchy and memorable, meaning the reader is more likely to remember the services Mr Bruff offers,
simply because they are put into a list of three things. The writer of First Day Nerves also uses the
rule of three unkempt, uninterested, yobbish lads. The rule of three is once again used to make
something stick in the readers head but, in this case, it is the fact that the boys were so difficult.
The writer of Education for the Nation ends by using direct address, telling the reader to Google his
name and youll see for yourself. By addressing the reader with the personal pronoun you it makes
them feel they are being spoken to personally, and therefore makes them more likely to take note of
what is being written. Ending the article with this command is also a clever way of making sure the
reader (when they have finished the article) goes and researches Mr Bruff right away. In contrast,
direct address is also used in First Day Nerves, but for a completely different purpose. When we
read how was I to know? we can see that the writer is trying to gain sympathy from the reader. The
technique is the same, but the purpose is very different.

So that concludes Section A. Next up I will take a look at section B of the exam. Section B
follows the same format whether you are taking foundation or higher tier, so I will combine
the two in one mammoth chapter.

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Education for the Nation


An English teacher from Devon is revolutionising the way students learn, utilising web2
technologies such as YouTube, iTunes and Twitter.
Andrew Bruff began recording lessons in his class-room in 2011: I had spent around eight hours
prepping the starter for a lesson which would only take around ten minutes to deliver. Knowing
that the lecture would be missed by absent students, Andrew looked for a way to gain maximum
value from his efforts. The solution: film the lesson with a handheld camera and upload it onto
YouTube for the class to re-watch as revision.
I quickly realised that actual video footage
was not the way to go I looked bald and
overweight, the room was untidy, the lighting
ineffective. At that point I began researching
screen capture software. From here, Andrew
fell into his regular format: animated videos
with his voice-over added. He began uploading
to youtube.com/mrbruff.
What quickly became apparent was that Mr
Bruffs students were not the only ones
watching: in that first few months I had just
under 5,000 views from across 76 different
countries. I received dozens of message of
support and from that point on I was hooked.
Over the next two years, Andrew created over
200 videos on GCSE and A Level English which
have, to date, been viewed nearly half a million
times from across 179 different countries. But
it didnt stop there.
Last month Andrew launched his own website:
mrbruff.com and with it his first eBook, a
revision guide based on his videos. Within a
month the eBook had been downloaded over
10,000 times.

English revision master Andrew Bruff


With the chaos of teaching, leading a
department and running the online revision
site, I asked Andrew if the pressure can be
too much. His response: I try to throw in
some humour where I can, just to keep
things lively Every day I get messages from
students, teachers and authors across the
world who tell me that what I am doing is
making a difference, so I guess I just cant
stop!

In February, he launched a walk to school


podcast made up of 15 minute episodes which
cover key exam skills and tips. I guess I am
motivated by making a difference to students,
making sure that any student anywhere can
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access outstanding teaching and learning.

/25

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/26

FIRST DAY NERVES


English teacher Andrew Smith here writes about his first lesson as a qualified teacher.
Despite everything you learn in your teacher training year, nothing can prepare you for your
first ever lesson as a newly qualified teacher; mine still gives me nightmares to this day.
The group was a year 11 class made up, for the most part, of street-wise boys. I met the
group at the door with a wide smile, but as each one slowly filtered in I could feel the energy
drain out of me. I had pictured well dressed, keen-to-learn children, but those who entered
my room were unkempt, uninterested, yobbish lads who probably all had ASBOs. Seating
plans werent even invented back then, so the students simply placed themselves down
wherever they fancied that was a big oversight on my part, but how was I to know?
When I was sure I had the whole group in, I slowly closed the door and turned to face them.
There, staring back at me in suspense were fifteen arrogant boys, all grinning from ear to
ear. I remember feeling confused about just why they were so amused. Looking back with
the benefit of hindsight I now know that it was because they knew they had me; the
following hour was going to be a nightmare. These boys were surrounded by a harem of
adoring chav girls the kind who would go on to be hairdressers no doubt.
The minute I opened my mouth they began talking over me. At this point I knew none of
their names and so I struggled with a hey you, dont talk over me, which the offender
simply ignored. It was like I wasnt there. I froze. I simply did not know what to do with this
rabble. I tried sending one out much to the amusement of both the boy in question and
the rest of the class. Did this silence the others? No way! If anything it spurred them on. I
sent another out, then another and another and another until I had sent out what would go
on to be my career best of nine students. After three or four, my Head of Department
looked at me with concern had the new guy cracked already? I was asking myself the same
question.
Over the coming weeks and months I learnt a multitude of valuable lessons in how to
manage a class, and by the end those boys and girls were working, learning and achieving. If
I could go back in a time machine I would do it all differently, but alas there is no such thing,
so I will simply have to remember with discomfort that painful first ever lesson with Year 11.

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/27

English / English Language


Unit 1 Exam
Foundation & Higher Tier
Section B

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/28

ENGLISH / ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXAM SECTION B (FOUNDATION & HIGHER


TIER)
Section B follows the same format no matter which tier paper you are taking. Whether you
are aiming for a C grade or an A* you should aim to do everything I cover in this chapter in
your section B answer.
Section B is the writing section of the exam, requiring you to write two long answers. You
are recommended to spend around 25 minutes on question 5 and 35 minutes on question 6.
Around 1/3 of the marks available in this section are awarded for spelling, punctuation and
grammar, so it is not just about what you write but how you write it.
I shall divide this chapter into 4 parts: purpose, audience, format and technical skills.

PURPOSE
The section B questions are based on a number of purposes: writing to argue, persuade,
inform, explain and describe are the most common ones. However, there is one great set of
linguistic devices which applies to all of these: DAFOREST.
Here are some typical questions you might see in Section B of the exam:

Write a letter to your head teacher arguing that you should be able to wear what you
want to school.

Write an article for your school website which persuades prospective parents to send
their children to your school.

Write a letter to your parents in which you persuade them to let you go on holiday with a
friend this summer.

Write the text for a speech in which you argue for or against compulsory PE lessons.

All of these questions would suit the DAFOREST linguistic devices.

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/29

LINGUISTIC DEVICES: USING DAFOREST


TECHNIQUE
DEFINITION
Direct address Referring to the reader
directly using the pronouns
we or you.

Alliteration A group of words beginning


with the same letter or sound.
Fact Something which can be
proven to be true.

Opinion A belief which cannot be


proven to be true.
Rhetorical Any question in a piece of
question writing which does not
require an answer.

EXAMPLE
You need to give
up smoking

Smoking sucks

60% of teens
have tried
smoking
Everyone hates
people who
smoke
Do you want to
die young?

Emotive Words which elicit a powerful


language emotional response.

Smoking is
barbaric and
torturous

statistics Numerical facts and data.

8/10 smokers
want to quit

(rule of) three Lists of three things in a


sentence.

smoking is
expensive,
harmful and antisocial.

WHY WE USE IT
Engages the reader to
read on as they feel
that, by being
addressed directly, the
text is relevant to
them.
Makes the text catchy
it sticks in the readers
head.
Make the text seem
authoritative, accurate
and therefore
believable.
Sway the reader
towards the writers
viewpoint.
Engages the reader to
read on as they feel
that, by being
addressed directly, the
text is relevant to
them.
Makes the topic of the
text seem overly good
or bad, depending on
the purpose of the text.
Make the text seem
authoritative, accurate
and therefore
believable.
Makes the text catchy
it sticks in the readers
head.

When you use DAFOREST in your writing, it automatically hits the highest bands in the mark
scheme for both section B questions. Below is an example of just how you can do that. This
article argues that the elderly are to blame for todays problems (its an old exam question I
tried to answer). As you will see, you can use DAFOREST to make up the majority of your

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answer. Everything that is highlighted is an example of DAFOREST can you work out which
bit is which technique?
PENSIONERS POLLUTE
As current surveys show 75% of old people hold young people responsible for today's problems,
Andrew Bruff suggests today's youth are not the key offenders; the elderly had the planet ruined
before they even arrived.
Look around you. What do you see? Do you, like me, see a world that is full to the brim of rubbish,
creating pollution by the bucket-load? Do you see wasteful consumerism gone crazy, an insane,
insatiable desire to have everything? Now look up from this problem; who are those doing these
things? Is it, as a recent survey shows, young people's fault? No way.
In a recent article it was argued that the make do and mend generation knew something about how to
save the environment. Of course, what the writer failed to mention was why they were make do and
mending in the first place: World War 2. Oh yes, whilst grandma was washing her tin-foil, grandad
was being shipped off the Poland, destroying natural landscapes with tanks, clogging up the Polish air
with fuel emissions from the machinery of war (not to mention the killing).
I am a young person. I care. I care about the environment, I care about pollution, I care about
recycling. Old people dont seem to realise that 80% of members of Greenpeace are under 25: young
people care. Old people are to blame take my granddad for example.
Roger Bruff is 81 years old. He lives alone, but refuses to downsize from the three bedroom house
that he brought his family up in. This is common of many of the elderly you dont need a big house
unless you have a family! I visit granddad once a week. I often check his green and brown bins, but
the recycling one is always empty. His argument is that hes too weak to be sifting through his
rubbish, yet hes not too weak to get to the pub every week. In granddads driveway is a car a big
beast that guzzles fuel. Like all old people, hes stubborn, and refuses to walk anywhere, but drives.
My granddad is not a rare case, he is a typical old person: selfish. His house is always bathed in heat
with his radiators kicking out toxic waste 24/7.
Whats my point? It isnt young people who are to blame. We are not the homeowners, the car drivers,
the consumers. We are not those who fly around the world on holiday. What do we do? We go to
school, we see our friends. It is the elderly who do these things they torture and destroy the world.
They crucify nature in their desire for satisfaction. Yes, all young people have mobile phones, but we
use them for music, phone calls and internet, not like the wasteful elderly who make a call once a
year.
The youth of today are the most educated people in the world; our conscience does not allow us to be
wasteful.

PLANNING DAFOREST:
For these long answers you need to spend a few minutes planning before you begin writing.
A great idea is to write DAFOREST down the side of your page and actually plan the
sentences you will write for each one. It might look something like this:

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/31

D: You need to give up smoking


A: Smoking sucks
F: 60% of teens have tried smoking
O: Everyone hates people who smoke
R: Do you want to die young?
E: Smoking is barbaric and torturous
S: 8/10 smokers want to quit
T: smoking is expensive, harmful and anti-social.
Everyone plans in different ways, so I wont prescribe any set way of doing it. However, you
must make a plan examiners have to read them, and they give off a great first impression
if youve got things like DAFOREST in your plan. If you do not plan your answer, the
likelihood is your work will begin strong (with your best ideas) but get weaker and weaker as
you write. A well planned answer, on the other hand, can stay strong throughout the entire
piece.

AUDIENCE
For questions 5 and 6 you need to think very carefully about your audience. Consider the
two very similar tasks:
Write a letter to your head teacher in which you argue for the abolition of school uniform.

Write a letter for the student newsletter in which you argue for the abolition of school
uniform.
The purpose of both of these texts is exactly the same: arguing for the abolition of school
uniform. A good answer would be riddled with DAFOREST and all the other topics in this
chapter. However, the difference in target audience the head teacher or fellow students,
will make both pieces very different.
The first thing to think of is the tone and level of formality you write in. To the head teacher
you would write with a formal and polite tone, whereas there would be room for a more
relaxed tone in the student newsletter. You have to consider the person reading the text
and how you can best communicate with them to achieve your purpose.
The second thing to be aware of is the art of second guessing. This is an often overlooked
area which basically means this:
Anticipate your reader's response and argue against that.

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So, when writing to your head-teacher arguing that he / she should abolish school uniform,
you would anticipate these responses:

School uniform encourages good behaviour


Some students couldn't afford the expense of smart clothes for school
It's a time honoured tradition

With this as your starting point, you then argue against these ideas e.g.
I know you will say that school uniform encourages good behaviour, but I disagree. At the moment,
students are using their poor behaviour to express their individuality. Allow students to wear what they
want to school and their clothing choices will become their expression of self, resulting in better
behaviour across the school.

By pre-emptively striking against your audiences response you are effectively winning the
argument before they even have a chance to make their points: its a very clever technique
and the examiners love it!

SATIRE
If you are trying to hit the A / A* grades in your exam then it is important to use satire or
humour in your writing. Satire is the use of humour to attack injustice. On TV, the best
example is the show Have I Got News For You. In writing, the Irish satirist Jonathan Swift
(1667 1745) wrote some very popular satire. In his essay A Modest Proposal he
suggested that poor Irish people should sell their children as food to rich Americans. Of
course he wasnt serious, but he laid his essay out in a very formal way. The point was to
mock heartless attitudes towards the poor.
Let me show you an example of how you can use satire in your own writing. Imagine the
following question:
Write a letter to your fellow school students in which you inform them of the benefits of
school uniform.

Now consider the following response:


The current school uniform gives us a sense of community and belonging. Because we wear the
same clothes there is no room for bullying over appearance; we all look the same, so we all treat each
other the same.

This is a very acceptable paragraph, but it fails to jump off the page and grab the readers
attention. The next two examples use humour to engage the reader. See what you think:

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/33

By wearing the shirt, tie and blazer, we are preparing ourselves for the world of work and our future
careers. Dressing up for school today shows you how to dress up for McDonalds tomorrow or, maybe
for the lucky few of us, even Primark.
It is a well known fact that imposing a school uniform results in improved behaviour from students.
Indeed, since introducing the blazer last year, we have been able to completely dispose of the
behaviour system completely. One Year 7 student even told me "wearing a tie makes me want to be a
better boy". Other have said that just slipping on school shoes stops them from swearing.
Indeed, school uniform makes us behave so well, I suggest we start wearing it at home too. The
magical effect will mean we never back chat our parents again!

As you can see, the use of tongue in cheek humour makes the piece far more engaging. If
you are naturally a funny person, then attempt to use some of that humour in section B of
the exam.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/34

FORMAT
The most common formats required in section B are letters and articles.
LETTER FORMAT
If you are asked to write a letter you should use the following format:

Exam Headquarters
15 GCSE Street
London
SN21 4SQ

Your address goes on the right


hand side; their address goes on
the left. It is fine to make up both
addresses but make sure you use
capitals correctly.

5 Banana Gate Rd
Hr St Budeaux
Plymouth
PL2 6TZ

Todays date should be placed


under your address.

Dec 30th 2012

Address your reader, then indent


the next line and begin your
Dear Sir / Madam,
letter.
I am writing to you with reference to
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

Yours faithfully,
Andrew Bruff

If you dont know the name of the person you are


writing to, sign off with yours faithfully. If you do
know the name of the person you are writing to, sign
off with yours sincerely.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/35

ARTICLE FORMAT
If you are asked to write an article of any kind (newspaper, magazine, web-page etc.) then
you should use the following format:
Your headline should be
Your subheading (first
short, snappy and alliterative.
paragraph) should summarise
It should hint at the topic of
the whole article in a few
the story but not give too
sentences.
much away.
PENSIONERS POLLUTE!
As current surveys show 75% of old people hold young people responsible for today's
problems, Andrew Bruff suggests today's youth are not the key offenders; the elderly had
the planet ruined before they even arrived.
Look around you. What do you see? Do you, like me, see a world that is full to the brim of
rubbish, creating pollution by the bucket-load? Do you see wasteful consumerism gone
crazy, an insane, insatiable desire to have everything? Now look up from this problem; who
are those doing these things? Is it, as a recent survey shows, young people's fault? No way.
In a recent article the writer argued that her make do and mend generation knew
something about how to save the environment. Of course, what she failed to mention was
why they were make do and mending in the first place: World War 2. Oh yes, whilst
grandma was washing her tin-foil, granddad was being shipped off the Poland, destroying
natural landscapes with tanks, clogging up the Polish air with fuel emissions from the
machinery of war (not to mention the killing).
I am a young person. I care. I care about the environment, I care about pollution, I care
about recycling. Old people dont seem to realise that 80% of members of Greenpeace are
under 25: young people care. Old people are to blame take my granddad for example.
Richard Smith is 81 years old. He lives alone, but refuses to downsize from the three
bedroom house that he brought his family up in. This is common of many of the elderly
you dont need a big house unless you have a family! I visit granddad once a week. I often
check his green and brown bins, but the recycling one is always empty. His argument is that
hes too weak to be sifting through his rubbish, yet hes not too weak to get to the pub
every week. In granddads driveway is a car a big beast that guzzles fuel. Like all old
people, hes stubborn, and refuses to walk anywhere, but drives. My granddad is not a rare
case, he is a typical old person: selfish. His house is always bathed in heat with his radiators
kicking out toxic waste 24/7.
The rest of your article should go into
more detail about the topic. It should
ideally include quotations from interviews
with relevant people (you make these up).
COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/36

TECHNICAL ACCURACY
1/3 of the marks available for section B are awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Because of this, you need to learn the following technical skills.

CAPITAL LETTERS
Capital letters may seem like a very easy place to start, but in actual fact there are many
uses of a capital and if you make mistakes with these supposedly 'simple' pieces of
punctuation then you will struggle to get a high grade. Despite their hidden complexities,
there is little more off-putting and instantly recognisable to an examiner than the incorrect
use of a capital letter.
You should use a capital letter for:
1) The start of a sentence e.g. 'Today is Monday'.
2) Names of people, brands, days of the week and months e.g. 'Andrew, Nike, Monday,
January'.
3) Countries and cities e.g. 'America, Plymouth'.
4) Languages and religions e.g. 'French, Buddhist'.
5) Holidays e.g. 'Christmas, Easter'.
6) Titles. The first and significant words in a title need a capital e.g. 'The Lord of the Rings'.
In this example the words 'of' and 'the' are not significant- they don't hold the meaning,
so they are not capitalised.
7) The personal pronoun 'I' e.g. 'I love Mr Bruff's revision videos'.
8) Abbreviations e.g. 'BBC'.
9) Emphasising words: if you wish to show strong emotion such as anger you can put
whole words or sentences in capitals e.g. 'I HATE YOU!'
As you can see, capital letters are not as simple as you might have thought. Why not try
writing a paragraph which incorporates all nine types?

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/37

APOSTROPHES OF POSSESSION (BASIC LEVEL)


Apostrophes of possession show us who or what owns something in a sentence. For
example:

Mr Bruffs videos are an amazing resource.

Because the videos belong to Mr


Bruff we put an apostrophe after
Mr Bruff.

There is a technique worth learning here, as it makes it all very easy when we get to
advanced level apostrophes:
1) Ask yourself who the thing belongs to. Whatever the answer is, the apostrophe goes
after that. E.g. who do the revision videos belong to? The answer is Mr Bruff, so the
apostrophe goes after Mr Bruff.
If you can understand that simple technique then we can apply it to the advanced level of
apostrophes of possession.

APOSTROPHES OF POSSESSION (ADVANCED LEVEL)


The thing about apostrophes of possession is that they very quickly become very difficult.
Consider the following two sentences:

The students work was awesome (when talking about an individual student).
The students drama show was a real let down (when talking about a group of
students).

Where would you put the apostrophes in these sentences? Well, if you apply the technique
above its simple:
In the first sentence who does the work belong to? The answer is the student, so we put the
apostrophe after the word student, making the correct answer: the students work was
awesome.
In the second example, who does the drama show belong to? The answer is the students, so
we put the apostrophe after the word students, making the correct answer: the students
drama show was a real let down.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/38

This simple reversing technique should help you to work through the following tricky
sentences:
The womens movement was a seminal event in history.
The childrens park was in need of some repair.
The babies hats were so cute.
If you find those three difficult be sure to watch the video.

APOSTROPHES OF OMISSION
These are the simplest type of apostrophe, used to show where letters or words have been
taken out. Look at the following example:

I didnt even know that spiders could bite.

Here we have shortened the words did


and not into the one word didnt. In
doing so, we have taken out the letter o,
so we put an apostrophe of omission in its
place to indicate this.
The only tricky bit with apostrophes of omission is that there are some words which have been
shortened for so long that you might not realise it. For example: 8 o clock should be written 8
oclock, as it was originally shortened from 8 of the clock.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/39

CONNECTIVES
Connectives are words which link sentences and paragraphs together. You should aim to use
them in your writing to show that there is some cohesion between the different parts of
your answer. Without connectives, it will look like you have simply written a bunch of
random thoughts.
Here are some of the main connectives you can use. I recommend trying to memorise five
or six to use in your written work:

Firstly Secondly Eventually Meanwhile After Next Before


Consequently Because Therefore As a result Likewise Also In the
same way Equally Similarly Although Conversely In contrast
Whereas On the other hand In particular Above all Indeed
Especially Significantly In addition Furthermore Whats more
Moreover For example For instance
So how should you use them? Here is a slightly over the top example, but it gives you an
idea or how your writing will appear so much more cohesive with the use of connectives.
Because of a power-cut, my alarm did not sound at the prescribed hour of 7AM. Furthermore, a traffic
jam on the A38 delayed me by an extra ten minutes. Consequently, I arrived at the office twenty three
minutes later than planned. However, my boss Michael was also late, meaning that I still arrived
before him. Nevertheless, I threw myself into my work with reckless abandon, working fiercely to
redeem the lost twenty five minutes. As a result, by the time Michael did arrive, I had caught up with
the missed work.
In contrast to this, Kelly arrived at work on time. However, she spent the first forty boss free minutes
of the day catching up on Facebook and Twitter. Therefore, when Michael walked in, it was Kelly that
was disciplined, not me. Provided that no-one informs the boss of my blunder, I am now in prime
position for a job promotion.

SENTENCE VARIETY
The following is an absolute must for those students aiming to achieve A and A* grades. So
many students fail to vary their sentence structure, and the result is pure boredom for the
examiner. If you incorporate the following into your answers for questions 5 and 6, your
work will stand out from the rest and impress that examiner.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/40

1) Two adjective beginnings


The aim here is to start your sentence with two adjectives which describe the subject
of the sentence. For example:

Informative and entertaining, Mr Bruffs eBook was a worldwide


bestseller.

The adjectives informative and entertaining


transform this sentence into something much
more engaging than Mr Bruffs eBook was a
worldwide bestseller. Simple but effective.
Here is another example:
Exhausted and frustrated, the students finally finished their GCSE exams.

2) Starting with an ing word


What you do here is start your sentence with an ing word, leading into a clause
which tells us more about the subject of the sentence. For example:

Straining with the effort, Grandma did a back-flip.

Rather than the simple sentence Grandma did


a back-flip, the ing clause at the beginning
makes the sentence so much more interesting.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/41

3) Beginning with an ly word


For this third example of sentence variety, we begin the sentence with an adverb (an
ly word) which gives us more detail on how the verb is performed. For example:

Happily, Mr Bruff wrote a 15,000 word revision guide over the holiday.
Without the adverb happily, the reader
would have no idea how I felt about
making the eBook. On top of that, it
again avoids having to start your
sentence with the subject.

So what would it look like if you were to use these three types of sentence variety in an
exam response? Well, let me take part of the article from earlier in this chapter and edit the
structure of some of the sentences.

This is our starting text:


In a recent article the writer argued that her make do and mend generation knew something about
how to save the environment. Of course, what she failed to mention was why they were make do and
mending in the first place: World War 2. Oh yes, whilst grandma was washing her tin-foil, grandad
was being shipped off the Poland, destroying natural landscapes with tanks, clogging up the Polish air
with fuel emissions from the machinery of war (not to mention the killing).

Heres the same text with some sentence variety added in:
Disillusioned and despondent, the writer recently argued that her make do and mend generation knew
something about how to save the environment. Curiously, what she failed to mention was why they
were make do and mending in the first place: World War 2. Hoping to be economical, grandma was
washing her tin-foil whilst granddad was being shipped off the Poland, destroying natural landscapes
with tanks, clogging up the Polish air with fuel emissions from the machinery of war (not to mention
the killing).

The most notable thing here is that altering the sentence structure does not alter the
content of your answer the content stays the same, but the quality of written
communication is dramatically improved.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/42

SEMI-COLONS
The semi-colon is the undisputed king of punctuation; use it correctly and you are bound to
impress the examiner. Surprisingly, it is a very simple to use piece of punctuation. In your
answers to questions 5 and 6 you should aim to use one at the beginning and one at the
end; you never want to commit semi-colon overkill.
Semi-colons are used to join two sentences, where both sentences are about the same
topic.
For example:

Mr Bruffs revision videos are hosted on YouTube; his eBook is hosted on his
own site.
In this example there are two separate sentences:

Mr Bruffs revision videos are hosted on YouTube.


His eBook is hosted on his own site.
However, both of the sentences share a common topic they both focus on the hosting
sites of the revision materials created by Mr Bruff. Because of this, a semi-colon can be
used.
Here are some examples where a semi-colon should not be used. Can you work out why it is
not correct to use a semi-colon?

I like Christmas; because I get lots of presents.


It is Thursday today; my Christmas tree is fake.
In the first example, the clause because I get lots of presents is not a complete sentence (it
is a subordinate clause). Remember: semi-colons can only be used to join two complete
sentences. A sentence (for those of you asking) is a group of words that makes sense on its
own. It also needs to contain a verb (a doing word). Because I get lots of presents does not
make sense on its own and is therefore not a sentence.
In the second example, although they are two complete sentences, the sentences are not
about the same topic. There is no direct link between stating the day in one sentence and
the nature of your Christmas tree in the next.
So there you have it: use a couple of semi-colons in your answers to questions 5 and 6.
Ideally you should use them right at the beginning and right at the end (this way they stick in
the examiners head and remind him / her just how great you are).

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/43

COMMAS
Commas direct us on how to read a piece of writing and are an incredibly complex piece of
punctuation to use correctly. As with capital letters, there are a number of uses of commas.
1) Listing commas
This is the one everyone knows: we use commas to break up the items in a list,
except for in-between the last two items where we use the word and. The comma
is correct if it can be replaced with the word and or or.

The four flavours of Starburst are: orange, lemon, lime and apple.
2) Commas for joining
Commas are used when two complete sentences are joined using conjunctions such
as and, but or so.

The boys wanted to stay up and see Santa, but they grew tired and fell
asleep.
3) Bracketing commas
This is my own personal favourite use of the comma, largely because it is a simple
way of making your written work seem very impressive. Bracketing commas are used
to mark off the beginning and end of a weak interruption to a sentence. In other
words, you can lift the words out from between the two commas and the sentence
still makes sense. Let me show you what I mean:

MrBruff.com, a brand new website, is being viewed 1000 times a day.


The above sentence would still make sense if we took the bit out between the
bracketing commas, leaving us with:

MrBruff.com is being viewed 1000 times a day.


Like the previous section on sentence variety, the weak interruption is giving us
more information about the subject of the sentence- in this case MrBruff.com.

4) Commas for subordinate clauses


Commas are used to break up the clauses in complex sentences. The comma always
comes after the subordinate clause:

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/44

I am very tired, because I woke up at 5AM this morning.

On either side of this comma is a clause. The


independent clause I am very tired makes sense
on its own, whereas the dependent clause
because I woke up at 5AM this morning
requires more information to make sense. The
clauses are divided with a comma.

One of the interesting things about complex sentences is that you can start the sentence
with either clause. If you begin some of your sentences with the subordinate clause in the
exam, it will add more variety to your writing:

Because I woke up at 5AM this morning, I am very tired.

Despite the
rearrangement of
sentence structure, the
comma still comes after
the subordinate clause.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/45

PARAGRAPHS
Paragraphs are often misunderstood. Students tend to skip a line when they have written
quite a lot of text, but that is not what paragraphing is all about.
To start with, you should start a new paragraph when you change to a new idea or focus in
your writing. Therefore, it helps if you are following a plan for your answer; you simply start
a new paragraph when you move onto a new part of your plan.
Every paragraph needs a topic sentence. A topic sentence is the first sentence of the
paragraph, which explains what the paragraph will be about. The rest of the paragraph then
goes into more detail on this point. For example:

Here is our topic sentence which explains


what this paragraph is about: the lack of
comfort in the school uniform,

You should be able to wear what you want to school because the uniform is too
uncomfortable. The jumper is 90% asbestos; you dont stop scratching yourself the
whole day. The ties have you half choked and the trousers dont even talk to me
about the trousers; they cut you at the waist and the ankle. Its a joke.

Here is the rest of the paragraph which goes


into more detail on the topic of just how the
uniform is uncomfortable.

If you find yourself drifting onto a topic that is not the same as the topic sentence then it is
time to start a new paragraph.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/46

SAMPLE ANSWERS
OK, lets look at some sample answers for section B. Imagine this is your question for
question 5:
Write a letter to your headteacher in which you argue that you should be able to wear
what you want to school.
This is typical of the kind of question you will get in the exam; something everyone can
answer. The exam boards have to set general questions that everyone is guaranteed to
understand, so be prepared for that.
You should begin with a plan where you map out your ideas; you can do this in bullet points
if you like. Spend two or three minutes thinking about the question and come up with four
or five points you are going to make, along with a reminder of the skills you are going to use
(e.g. DAFOREST).
My plan would look something like this:

Uncomfortable - itchy jumpers, choking tie


Expensive many families cant afford uniform
America no uniform and they are very successful
DAFOREST, semi-colons, wide vocabulary

Here is the kind of answer you should aim to write if you are entered for foundation tier.
Have a read through it to see if you can work out what makes it a good answer. On the next
page I will give you the answers! Since youve spent 3 or 4 minutes planning, you now have
around 20 minutes to write. In the foundation paper you should aim to write around 1-2
pages. Remember, my answer is typed so it looks shorter than a handwritten answer.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/47

FOUNDATION TIER SAMPLE ANSWER:


Vunderschool
Walkplanton Rd
Devon
PL3 3 ER

6 Bananagate Rd
Plymouth Devon
PL20 6TR
April 1

st

Dear Mr Smith,
I am writing to you to argue that we should be able to wear what we want to school.
Do you like being uncomfortable? Well I feel uncomfortable every single day. The school jumper is
torture! Its so itchy that I come out in a rash whenever I put it on. The only person I know who wears
itchy woollen jumpers like that is my grand-dad, so why are you making me wear one? The tie is also
very uncomfortable I feel half choked most of the time. Wearing a tie is a health and safety hazard,
especially considering that there are 1400 of us moving around the building every hour. The chances
of us getting caught on something and choked (not to mention those mean bullies doing the same) is
worryingly high.
In a recent survey, 85% of students in the UK said they would like to wear their own clothes to school.
You cannot ignore this! I know you will probably think that students who wear their own clothes will
misbehave in school but I disagree. I think that students will behave more maturely if you treat them
more maturely by letting them make their own choices over what they wear. You may not think it, but
students are mature, intelligent and responsible.
America is the most powerful country in the world, the market leader in industry and guess what?
Students in America wear their own clothes to school. Surely this is a clear sign that what children
wear to school has no influence on how they go on to perform in future life?
Finally, did you know that 65% of students in our school come from a one parent family? How are
these parents supposed to afford school uniform? By the time you buy the PE kit parents can spend
as much as 200 on uniform. If you let students wear their own clothes then they wouldnt have any
extra costs they already have these clothes at home, so it wont be adding to their shopping
expenses.
I hope you will agree with my thoughts,
Yours sincerely,
Andrew Bruff

So what makes this a successful answer? Well, there are at least 4 things it does very well:
1) Follows the letter form, complete with address, date etc.
2) Uses DAFOREST each paragraph is based on DAFOREST. The whole thing is filled
with direct address, fact, opinion, rhetorical question, emotive language, statistic
and rule of three.
3) Is broken into paragraphs, with each paragraph focusing on a different part of my
argument.
4) Uses a range of punctuation: 5 types can be found in my answer.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/48

Next lets look at a higher tier sample answer for the same question. As you will see, the
kind of response required for higher tier is very different to that needed at foundation.

HIGHER TIER SAMPLE ANSWER:

Vunderschool
Walkplanton Rd
Plymouth
PL3 6TR

6 Bananagate Rd
Fishtonk
PL3 3ER

st

April 1

Dear Mr Smith,
Responsible and mature, the young adults at Vunderschool are eagerly looking for ways to prove to
you just how trustworthy they are. Will you give them the chance? Clearly this is a great opportunity
for you to strengthen your relationship with the student body. Because you are undoubtedly a busy
man, I will get straight to the point: I am writing today to ask you to consider the abolishment of school
uniform.
In a recent Vunderschool survey, 85% of students said they want to wear their own clothes to school;
you cannot ignore this statistic. As I walked past your office this morning I was reminded of our school
motto Developing independence is the route to success. Well, what better way to create
independence in students than by letting them choose their own clothes?
You may begin by enquiring what exactly is wrong with the school uniform? Well, Im glad you asked.
To begin with, the jumper is so itchy I would not be surprised to see that it is made from loft insulation.
The tie is a health and safety hazard it threatens to choke us on an hourly basis. There are 1400
students at Vunderschool who travel around the building every hour; I think this is an accident waiting
to happen. And the trousers are just ridiculous. Rigid and cold, I feel like I am wearing a pop up tent
rather than a pair of trousers.
I imagine you will say that school uniform encourages good behaviour, but I disagree. At the moment
students are using their poor behaviour to express their individuality. Allow students to wear what they
want to school and their clothing choices will become their expression of self, resulting in better
behaviour across the school. Have you ever been into the city centre and seen the youths who
frequent the sun-dial? These teens wear long leather jackets and black boots. On first inspection, they
may seem intimidating but nothing could be further from the truth; these children do not engage in
anti-social behaviour! They simply spend time together with their friends. You see, their clothes are
expressing their individuality.
Can I ask you a question? What are your career aspirations for your students? I imagine you want us
to be rich and successful. Well I have bad news for you by making us all wear the same uniform day
in day out you are simply preparing us for workplaces that do the same, namely fast food restaurants
and shop workers. You see, the high powered business-men and entrepreneurs of this world choose
their own clothes. Indeed YOU choose your own clothes. You have the freedom to choose your own
suits, your own shirts, your own ties (even the whacky ones you wear every Friday). You are
operating within the constraints of a dress-code, but you wear what you choose. We deserve the
same. Give us a dress code by all means, but dont keep us in this barbaric uniform.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/49

You may also feel that wearing our own clothes would lead to a reduction in our academic
achievement. To prove you wrong I need only point to our transatlantic cousins in America. America is
the richest, most powerful and most successful nation in the world and guess what: school students
wear what they want to school. Surely this proves that there is no link between what we wear to
school and how we will succeed in life.
I look forward to your reply,
Yours sincerely,
Andrew Bruff

OK, so how did this answer achieve more than the previous one? It comes down to three
points:
1) Second guessing throughout the letter, the writer anticipates how the headmaster
will respond and pre-emptively argues against those points.
2) Sentence variety the two adjective openings and adverb openings are used
occasionally, as is a short sentence for effect. This careful crafting of sentences will
set your work apart from the rest.
3) Complex points the points made are a little more sophisticated than in the
previous example. In higher tier you need to spend a little longer planning to ensure
you have sophisticated ideas you can use.

QUESTION 6 SAMPLE ANSWER


Now imagine a question 6 which looks like this:
Write an article for your school parents newsletter in which you persuade them of the
benefits of mobile phones in school.
Once again, you should start with a plan. In your plan you should aim to come up with 4 or 5
good points, along with a reminder of the skills you will want to use.

Use the calculator feature for Maths

Use the camera to take photos of homework (a


virtual planner)

Use reminders for homework deadlines

Go online for research purposes

Access existing online revision materials

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/50

FOUNDATION TIER SAMPLE ANSWER:


PHONES FOR SCHOOL!
Mobile phones can dramatically improve your childs success at school. Year 11s Andrew Bruff
reports.
90% of students in the UK own a mobile phone, but only 60% of them bring them to schoole every
day. I believe that mobile phones can really help your children to achieve their potential, and I will tell
you why.
Firstly, mobile phones can be of great use in a Maths lesson. Nearly every lesson I have in Maths
requires me to use a calculator. Do you know how much a graphic calculator costs? No, neither do I. I
dont need to know. I have my own calculator built into my phone. Not only does this save money from
buying a calculator separately, but it also saves me valuable space in my bag. There is one boy in
class who has a graphic calculator and it is huge! Whats the point? He needs a phone.
Another great use of mobile phones in school centres around the camera. If you dont have your
homework planner you can simply take a photo of your homework off the board. Cameras on phones
can also be used to record so, with the teachers permission, we can now record parts of lessons
where we know the teacher is saying something really important.
I only got my phone last year. Before that I was always late handing in my homework but not any
more! Do you know why? Because I use the reminders and alarms on my phone to remind me when
to do the work. Wouldnt you like it if your child never got into trouble again for late work? Well the
answer is simple: buy them a phone.
The final reason all students should have a phone and bring it to school is because they promote
safety. If there is ever a problem, or if students have or witness an accident on the way to or from
school, then they can use their phone.
So I hope you can see that phones really are the way forward, and I hope you will let your child bring
one to school.

OK, that was a very simple answer. It used DAFOREST, made a range of different points and
was clearly expressed, but there was so much it didnt do. Now read the following answer
which is a higher tier example. Try and pick out the differences. Remember, even if you are
taking foundation paper you should try and write as impressive a piece as you can, so think
carefully about what makes this next piece so impressive.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/51

HIGHER TIER SAMPLE ANSWER:

Mobile Phone Master-Class: Smart Phone = Smart Student


The world of education is changing. Your children need calculators, planners, cameras and
online research skills. In this article, year 11 student Andrew Bruff explains the good news: if
your child has a mobile phone then theyve already got all that they need.
Schools today are nothing like those of the 80s and 90s: fact. Gone are the blackboards and OHPs, in
are the iPads and interactive white-boards. Yes, the schools of today are unrecognisable from their
historic counterparts. In fact, walking through a school these days feels more like walking through the
fancy Apple Store in the mall than a group of classrooms. Modern and exciting, the technological age
is upon us. More than ever before, students are utilising technology to own their learning; will you let
your children become a part of this exciting development?
It can seem very intimidating for a parent who, despite having their childs best interests at heart, is
simply overwhelmed when it comes to technology. Well, let me help you with that. Students today
need to be able to do a number of things which can all be achieved through using a simple, off the
shelf mobile phone. If you buy them a smartphone, it really will smarten up your child.
Firstly, imagine your child is sat in a Mathematics class and needs to use a calculator. Do you know
how many students these days carry around those bulky calculators? None! No, students use the
calculators built into their phones. Now imagine its homework time. The homework is written on the
board for your lovely son or daughter to copy up but whoops! Wheres that homework planner? Is it
the same one that got soaked in the bottom of his bag last week? Well it doesnt matter: they can use
their phone to take a photo of it.
But it doesnt stop there. Studies show that students who have regular ICT access learn at a faster
rate. Well wed love to give every student their own laptop but it just isnt feasible in the current
budget. However, a smartphone can perform all of the online functions that you would find on a
laptop. Let me explain.
Although it gets a bad press, the internet is a wonderful place these days. Sites such as mrbruff.com
are packed with revision videos, eBooks and podcasts which help thousands of students to achieve
their exam potential. Dont you want the same for your child? All they need is a phone and they can
forget the laptop they can even access the school wi-fi to surf for free, meaning theyre not racking
up a high bill. With our own safety filters in place, there is no chance of them finding something
inappropriate online either.
Think back to your own education wouldnt you have loved the chance to use the internet, take
photos, set reminders and more? Well you can make that dream become a reality for your child.
Of course there are other benefits to for example safety. With a mobile phone, you never need to
worry again about your childs whereabouts. Not only can they get in touch with you when they need
to, but you can get in touch with them to. I know you want your child to be safe, and I also know that
the average contract price of 15 a month is nothing compared to the peace of mind you will receive
knowing that your child can contact you whenever they need to.
So, in conclusion, I hope that you can see now that buying your child a mobile phone is one of the
smartest things you can do. Please choose to be a smart parent and buy your child a smart phone.

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So what do you think? This was clearly a better answer, but why? Well to begin with it really
paid attention to its audience, second guessing their likely response. The vocabulary and
tone were also very persuasive, with emotive language deliberately used to manipulate the
readers response. On top of that there was a more sophisticated range of punctuation and
sentence variety. In your answers in section B you should really aim to go beyond the basics
of DAFOREST and write the most sophisticated answer you can.
Well, thats it for the English / English Language Paper. I hope you found it helpful. Check
out the videos at youtube.com/mrbruff and the Mr Bruff podcast on iTunes for more help
on these sections of the exam.

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/53

English Literature
Unit 1 Exam

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THE PAPER:
This exam is 1 hour 30 minutes long. The exam is marked out of a total of 60 marks, with 30
available for section A and 30 available for section B. You need to choose one question from
section A and one from section B.
Due to copyright restrictions, I cannot give any sample answers or detailed points for this
paper as all of the texts it focuses on are still in copyright. However, there are over 50 videos
based on this exam unit available on my YouTube channel youtube.com/mrbruff, so please
do take advantage of those and accept my apologies for the lack on detail here on this
exam.

TOP TIPS FOR THE UNIT 1 EXAM:

Try to analyse language, structure and form


Write in PEE paragraphs
Write about the authors themes and the effect on the
reader
For higher paper look to give alternative interpretations look for more than one
answer to the question.

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English Literature
Unit 2 Exam

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THE PAPER:
This exam is 1 hour 15 minutes long, which is incredibly short when you consider what you
have to do. It is marked out of a total of 54 marks, with 36 available for section A and 18
available for section B. You need to choose one question from section A and one question
from section B, spending around 45 minutes on Section A and 30 minutes on Section B.
As you can see, this is a very fast paced exam, and even more difficult when you consider
that section B requires you to analyse a poem you have never seen before. However, I have
come up with a tried and tested method to attack an unseen poem (which we will get to in a
bit).

SECTION A:
You may not know it, but there are many different clusters of poetry being studied for this
exam up and down the country. For section A you need to begin by finding the question on
your cluster of poetry, for example relationships. There are two questions to choose from,
so the first challenge is to decide which one to answer.
The question will give you a named poem, a topic and the choice to choose a second
question. To help you choose which question you want to attempt you should think about
the following:
1) How well do I know the named poem
2) How confident am I on the set topic
3) Can I think of a second poem which I know well that would compare strongly
For example, imagine this question:
Q: Compare the methods poets use to convey meaning in Sonnet 116 and one other poem
Well the good thing about this poem is that the topic is very general. Rather than asking you
to focus specifically on language or structure it asks you to analyse methods which
basically means you can write about language and/or structure and/or anything you like.
The set poem is Sonnet 116, which happens to be my favourite (what a co-incidence).
However, to see if this is a good question to choose I need to think carefully about two more
things:
a) What is the meaning of Sonnet 116
b) Is there another poem I know well which is similar, that I can compare.
So lets take those two points and break them down further:
a) The meaning of sonnet 116 is actually quite ambigious. We know it is addressed to
a man, and there is no real way of knowing if the love professed in the poem is

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romantic or platonic. However, the general gist of the poem is that it is about the
nature of true love how true love is perfect, stable, strong and eternal. This
meaning is mostly presented through the use of the sonnet form and language.
b) With those points in mind, you should then flick quickly through the anthology and
look for a poem which, perhaps, also uses form and language to present a message
about love. The big tip here is not to simply settle for the first one you come across,
but to actually look through every poem before you make your decision. For me, I
would choose Sonnet 43 because it uses the sonnet form but presents love in more
religious terms, and with less idealism that sonnet 116.

Remember, this is not a comparison question. However, higher tier students will
naturally tend to compare. What follows is an exemplar higher tier answer. In your
planning you should try to map out the similarities and differences between the two
poems. However, before we get to that, let me teach you about the two poems in
question, so that the answer clearly makes sense to you.

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/58

English Literature
Relationships Poetry
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sonnet 43

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ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING: SONNET 43


THE POET: ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING
When it comes to biographical detail, it is important that we only look at the details of a poets life
that are relevant to the poem itself. Therefore the following details should be considered:

Born in 1806 and died in 1861


A very successful poet who was published from the age of 15
Suffered great sickness and invalidity for her entire adult life
Famous in both the UK and USA during her lifetime
The poet Robert Browning wrote to her as a fan and ended up becoming her husband
A deeply Christian woman.

THE FORM: SONNET


The sonnet is a genre of love poetry which originated in Italy in the 13 th Century. The 14th
Century poet Petrarch is the most recognised Italian sonneteer. Falling in love with a woman
known only as Laura, he wrote 366 sonnets to her. However, she rejected his proposals. The
Italian Sonnet follows a strict form:

14 lines
The first 8 lines (known as the octave) present a problem
The last 6 lines (known as the sestet) present a solution to the problem
Line 9 (known as the Volta) introduces a sharp twist, or turn, which brings about the
move to the resolution
ABBA ABBA rhyme scheme.

THE SHAKESPEAREAN SONNET


In the 16th Century, the sonnet made its way into English poetry. Sir Philip Sidney
developed what has come to be known as the Shakespearean Sonnet (after Shakespeare
made it truly famous). This is written in iambic pentameter (lines of 10 syllables, with
alternating stressed and unstressed syllables). It was divided into 3 verses of four lines
each, known as quatrains, and finished with a rhyming couplet which also served as the
Volta. Its rhyme scheme was also different: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
Brownings Sonnet 43 follows the conventions of the Italian sonnet; perhaps Browning
related to Petrarchs intense pre-marriage love more than Shakespeares mixture of
romantic and platonic sonnets? Perhaps she related to Petrarchs spirituality and shied
away from Shakespeares overtly sexual poetry.
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THE CONTEXT: SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGESE


During their engagement, Elizabeth wrote 44 sonnets to Robert Browning, her husband to
be. Robert was so impressed with the sonnets that he pushed Elizabeth to publish them.
However, the sonnets were deeply personal and Elizabeth would only agree to publish them
anonymously; she didnt want anyone to know that they were written by her.
Sonnets from the Portugese was published in 1850, promoted as an English translation of a
collection of Portugese poems. The Portugese part is a nod to Luis De Camoes, a Portugese
sonneteer who Elizabeth admired greatly. My little Portugese was also Roberts nickname
for Elizabeth.

THE POEM: SONNET 43


You should begin by having a read through the poem. Most poems on the GCSE course have
a simple, literal meaning and a hidden, deeper meaning. As you read the poem for the first
time you should try and work out the simple, literal meaning. Also, highlight any words you
dont understand. After reading, look up each word you are unsure of.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.


I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints!---I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!---and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

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A MODERN TRANSLATION
This poem is particularly difficult to understand. To help, I will begin with a modern
translation to help you get to grips with what the poem is saying at its most simplistic,
literal level.

THE ORIGINAL POEM

MODERN TRANSLATION

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

How much do I love you? I will write you


a list.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and


height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love you massively and without


knowing where our love will take us. My
love for you is God-like and holy.

I love thee to the level of every days


Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love you enough to cook and clean for


you.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

I love you without having to try.

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love you with absolute purity.

I love thee with the passion put to use


In my old griefs, and with my childhood's
faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints!

I love you with the same strong


emotions I used to feel when I was really
sick, and when I was a little girl learning
about God.

-I love thee with the breath,


Smiles, tears, of all my life!---

I love you for better and worse with all


my life.

and, if God choose,


I shall but love thee better after death.

If its OK with God, I will carry on loving


you in heaven.

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/62

LINE BY LINE ANALYSIS


Now you understand the basics of the poem, lets look at it line by line.

We begin with direct address


the poem is written to Robert
Browning, seemingly in response
to a question he has asked
Elizabeth.

The tone in this question is hard


to read is Elizabeth angry that
she has been asked such an
accusatory question?

Far from being offended or upset


by the question, Elizabeth
delights in the opportunity to
express her love for her husband
to be. The exclamation mark
shows just how excited she is to
do this.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

A spatial metaphor is used


(highlighted in yellow) to say I
love every part of you.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height


My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
The soul is the mind and emotions of a
person. It is every part of a person that isnt
spiritual.

Grace is the Christian concept of Gods


undeserved favour in our lives; God does
good things for us regardless of our
performance.

By combining spiritual and non spiritual


imagery in this sentence, Elizabeth is
suggesting that the love she has for Robert
is all encompassing; it engages both the
spiritual and non spiritual parts of her her
whole being.

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/63

By quiet need Elizabeth means the simple,


domestic elements of life. In other words I will
be a submissive wife to you and make your tea,
scrub the toilet etc. This is all the more powerful
given the fact that Elizabeth was a celebrity at
this point, yet she is willing to humble herself for
the love of her life.

I love thee to the level of everyday's


Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

Sun and candlelight are symbols for youth and


old age, day and night, strength and weakness. In
all of these interpretations the message in clear: I
will love you forever, through all stages of life.

The first part of each of these


two lines is fairly simple to
understand: I love you of my own
free will and I love you with
purity and goodness.

This simile suggests that just a people freely


choose to act morally, I freely choose to love
you. The term Right is capitalised as it means
the definitive right i.e. moral rightness.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;


I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

Just as it is pure to modestly shy away from


peoples admiration, my love for you is pure.
Elizabeth is surely writing from her own
experience here of dealing with fame.

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/64

However, there is a secondary meaning to these lines, based in the religious imagery they
connote. Consider the following:

Free will: the God given right to


make choices for ourselves
without prejudice. This gives us
the choice to accept or reject
God, and also gives Elizabeth the
choice to accept or reject Robert.
In both cases, she chooses to
accept.

Righteousness: one who is pure


in heart. The connotation here is
that Elizabeths love for Robert is
pure and holy. It is as if she sees
him, quite literally, as a gift from
God.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;


I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

Purity is defined as freedom from


guilt or sin. Again there is a sense
that the love Elizabeth feels for
Robert is holy and anointed;
there is no need for feelings of
guilt concerning her love for her
husband to be.

Praise means to magnify or


glorify. Elizabeth feels that her
pure love for Robert is worthy of
honour and commendation.

And there we have our first eight lines, the octave of this sonnet. In this section of the poem
Elizabeth has basically been comparing the love she has to the power of God. Like her love
for God, her love for Robert is pure, holy and to be admired. As we move into the sestet of
the poem it is clear that things become a little more sinister and even worrying.

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The passion is a religious term, referring to the suffering Jesus went through before his
crucifixion. Beaten, whipped, flogged and nailed to a cross, this word is deliberately used at
this point of the poem to introduce a theme of suffering. What Elizabeth is essentially saying
is that she will love Robert in the bad times, just as Christ remained faithful to God as he
went through the agony of the passion.

I love thee with the passion put to use


In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.

Elizabeth is referring here to


her lifetime of illness and
invalidity which she
experienced from the age of
15. She is saying that the
intensity of feeling she felt in
sickness is the same intensity
she now feels in her love for
Robert. Again this is a very
negative image, surely
pointing out that Elizabeth
knows her relationship will
contain problems, but she is
more than happy to embrace
them. She is not going into this
relationship with unrealistic
expectations.

This line is a Biblical reference


to Matthew 18: 2-14 Unless
you change or become like
little children you will not
enter the kingdom of heaven.
This Bible verse speaks of
accepting Jesus with your
heart, not trying to
intellectualise or figure
everything out. In the same
way, Elizabeth is loving Robert
with a blind, trusting and
child-like faith. Again this
echoes earlier lines which
suggest that this relationship is
a risk Elizabeth does not
really know Robert that well
but is committing her whole
life to him.

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I love thee with a love I seemed to lose


With my lost Saints!
The catholic faith presents saints as virtuous people who have already entered heaven. However,
Elizabeth wasnt a catholic, so the meaning here is unclear. My guess is that Elizabeth learnt about,
and loved, the concept of saints as a child but as an adult rejected this catholic concept. Here she
remembers the love she had as a child and translates it to Robert. Is there a suggestion that her
love for Robert is unrealistic and will change as she learns the reality of him, just as she learnt the
reality of saints?

The positive image of smiles is juxtaposed with


the negative image of tears to suggest that
Elizabeths love echoes the wedding vows of
for better or worse. Again we get the sense
that Elizabeth has very realistic expectations of
the limitations of true love, but embraces it all
the same.

-I love thee with the breath,


Smiles, tears, of all my life!--- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

The idea here is that, if God allows it, the couple


will go on loving after death when joined in heaven.
By bringing God into the equation it again suggests
a holiness and purity to the relationship.

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/67

So there we have it: Elizabeth is very aware of the limitations of relationships. She fully
understands there will be elements of for better or worse and yet loves Robert with a
religious zeal that suggests their love is holy and pure.
Of course, all this is backed up by the strict adherence to the sonnet form. It isnt easy to
follow those conventions in a poem, but by doing so Elizabeth is using structure and form to
exclaim her love for her husband to be. To finish with, lets take a look at how the poem
follows the sonnet form.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints!---I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!---and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

The octave compares Elizabeths love


for Robert to her love for God.

The sestet makes comparisons


between Elizabeths intense feelings
now and her intense feelings from
childhood.

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/68

English Literature
Relationships Poetry
William Shakespeare
Sonnet 116

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/69

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: SONNET 116


THE POET: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
William Shakespeare is undoubtedly the most well-known poet in the anthology, meaning
there is a plethora of biographical information available to sift through. However, this is
actually a bad thing as it means we need to be discerning over which details to memorise.
First off, lets look at the basics:

Born in 1564 and died in1616


An English poet and playwright, he wrote 38 plays and 154 sonnets
Married Anne Hathaway at the age of 18 and had 3 children.

These simple facts give us the basics, but there are also some very important biographical
details which will play a key part in our analysis of the poem:

Shakespeare was a great friend of Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton.
Henry was a patron of Shakespeares who supported him financially. Shakespeare
dedicated his first published poems (The Rape of Lucrece and Venus Adonis) to
Henry. This is important as it has often been suggested that Sonnet 116 is addressed
to Henry (watch the video for evidence that suggests this to be the case).
Shakespeare was famous at the time of writing this sonnet. This is significant
because, at the end of the poem, Shakespeare wagers his entire writing career in a
bet. This would have been a significant bet as Shakespeare was an established and
successful writer at the time of writing.

THE FORM: SONNET


The sonnet is a genre of love poetry which originated in Italy in the 13 th Century. The 14th
Century poet Petrarch is the most recognised Italian sonneteer. Falling in love with a woman
known only as Laura, he wrote 366 sonnets to her. However, she rejected his proposals.
The Italian Sonnet follows a strict form:

14 lines
The first 8 lines (known as the octave) present a problem
The last 6 lines (known as the sestet) present a solution to the problem
Line 9 (known as the Volta) introduces a sharp twist, or turn, which brings about the
move to the resolution
ABBA ABBA rhyme scheme.

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/70

THE SHAKESPEAREAN SONNET


In the 16th Century, the sonnet made its way into English poetry. Sir Philip Sidney developed
it, but it came to be known as the Shakespearean sonnet (after Shakespeare made it truly
famous). This form is quite different to the Petrarchan sonnet:

It is written in iambic pentameter (lines of 10 syllables, with alternating stressed and


unstressed syllables).
It is divided into 3 verses of four lines each, known as quatrains, and finished with
a rhyming couplet which also served as the Volta.
Its rhyme scheme is also different: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

However, the topic of Shakespearean sonnets remains the same: they are all about love.

THE CONTEXT
Shakespeare published his sonnets in 1609. The collection contained 154 sonnets in total. In
a shocking twist to the standard use of sonnets, the first 126 were addressed to a man
known only as fair youth. Since the date of publication there has been speculation over
whether this male to male love was purely platonic and friendship based, or romantic and
sexual. Bearing in mind the poem was written at a time when homosexuality was a crime
punishable by execution, it was a brave move by Shakespeare to publish these sonnets at
all. If his love was sexual he risked death in professing it. If his love was platonic, he risked
being misunderstood and getting into trouble. The aim of my notes is to examine the
evidence for both platonic and romantic interpretations: giving alternative interpretations is
one of the A* skills in the exam, so keep both ideas in mind.

THE POEM
Most poems on the GCSE course have a simple, literal meaning and a hidden, deeper
meaning. As you read the poem for the first time you should try and work out the simple,
literal meaning. You should also jot down any words you do not understand (with
Shakespeare there are bound to be a few of these). Use an online dictionary to find the
meaning before moving onto the next section of this guide.

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Sonnet 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments; love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

After your first reading you should make an initial judgement: is this poem about romantic,
sexual love or platonic, friendship based love? Can you pick out any words or phrases in
particular which influence your decision one way or the other?
It may be that the language is too difficult for you, on first reading, to make any judgements
just yet. This is a very common complaint with modern readers of Shakespeare. The only
way to combat this is to read more Shakespeare after a while it will become natural to
you.

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A MODERN TRANSLATION
This poem is quite difficult to understand. I will begin with a modern translation to help
you get to grips with what the poem is saying at its most simplistic, literal level.
THE ORIGINAL POEM

Let me not to the marriage of true minds


Admit impediments;

love is not love which alters when it


alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand'ring bark,

MODERN TRANSLATION

Nothing should get in the way of two


likeminded people being together;

True love does not change when faced


with difficult circumstances,

True love doesnt stop when one


partner stops loving the other.

Despite the storms of life, true love is


steady and stable;

Love is stable and fixed like a star in the


sky,

Whose worth's unknown, although his


height be taken.

It is immense and invaluable

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and


cheeks

Love does not change over time, even


though physical beauty is;

Within his bending sickle's compass come;


Love alters not with his brief hours and
weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Love does not change,

But remains to the end.


If I am wrong I never wrote anything,
and no man ever loved.

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LINE BY LINE ANALYSIS


Now you understand the basics of the poem, lets look at it in more detail. For each line I
will see if I can interpret the language as romantic and platonic love. Any analysis of the love
as romantic will be presented in text boxes that are dark pink. Any analysis of the love as
platonic will be presented in text boxes that are light blue. Any analysis which does not fit
either interpretation, but is useful to our understanding, will be highlighted in different
colours.
Romantic love: the word marriage is
used here to signify a romantic
relationship. If the love was platonic,
surely the word marriage would not
have been used.

Platonic love: The marriage of true


minds could refer to the joining together
of two similar intellects. This basically
means two good friends who have the
same interests and patterns of thinking.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds


Admit impediments;
Romantic love: the word impediments
is used in the marriage vows: I know not
of any lawful impediment. If the love
was platonic, surely the language of a
wedding ceremony would not have been
used.

love is not love


which alters when it alteration finds,

Romantic love: the word alter is a pun


on altar, as in the marriage altar where
husband and wife are wed. Again the
language of marriage is embedded in the
poem to show that Shakespeares love is
romantic.

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/74

Near repetition of remove shows that


love is constant it wont change the
way appearances do.

Or bends with the remover to remove.

Romantic love: the reference to love being


like a lighthouse which is not affected by sea
storms is the first of many examples of
imagery in the poem that is related to
sailors. In Shakespeares time sailors were
reputed to regularly engage in homosexual
relationships. Is this a subtle hint at the
romantic love Shakespeare was feeling?

O no it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
Romantic love: Another example of sailor imagery here: the Pole
star, which remains in the same place in the sky and helps sailors
to navigate, is used as a metaphor. On the rough seas of life,
Shakespeares love remains constant.

It is the star to every wand'ring bark,


Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Platonic love: these lines are basically saying true


love is not affected by time like physical beauty is. By
rejecting physical beauty (which would be just as
important in homosexual as well as heterosexual
love). Shakespeare is showing that his love is not
romantic but platonic.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks


Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Romantic love: the sickle here refers to the


implement carried about by Death. Like the
lighthouse before it, it is a very phallic
image. Shakespeare is renowned for using
Phallic imagery to symbolise sexuality.

See notes on altar from line 2.

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,


But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

The Biblical definition of the end times,


a time of suffering and tribulation
before Christians are taken to heaven.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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If this be error and upon me proved,


I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Here Shakespeare wages his


entire written works on the
bet that he is right about
love. Remember, he was a
successful writer at the time
so this wager was significant.

Romantic love: This is a clever little line


which can be interpreted in two ways:
either it means no man ever loved anyone
or it means I never loved any man. Of
course, the second meaning could still only
mean a platonic love, but its a clever play
on words to finish the poem with.

In conclusion, there are two ways of interpreting this poem. Either Shakespeare is using the
sonnet form in an ambiguous and playful way to present his platonic love for a male friend,
or he is using the sonnet form as intended when created in the 13 th Century: to present
feelings of romantic and sexual love. To hit the top grades in the exam you should aim to
present both interpretations.

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SAMPLE ANSWER:
In this answer I shall compare how the meaning of love is presented in Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barret
Browning and Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare. Both have a lot to say about the meaning of love,
and both do so in an array of similar and contrasting ways.
To begin with, Barrett-Browning presents love as a religious experience in Sonnet 43. She does this
through her regular use of religious imagery, which can be found throughout the poem. When
Browning speaks on loving her future husband to the depth and breadth and height it clearly echoes
the Biblical book of Ephesians and its mention of Christs love being of immesuarable breadth, and
length, and depth, and height. Today this reference may be lost on many of the atheist readers, but
Barrett-Browning was a deeply religious woman and would have been thinking of this verse when
writing. The suggestion that she is making is that true romantic love is pure and holy like the love of
Jesus Christ. This is a theme echoed throughout the poem the love Elizabeth had for the future
husband Robert Browning to whom she is writing is pure and unadulterated. This is a stark contrast to
the love presented by Shakespeare in Sonnet 116.
Shakespeare too presents his vision of true love, and suggests that it is un-wavering in the face of the
trials of life. However, he chooses much more base and bawdy imagery to present his feelings about
true love. One of the key images he chooses is that of a light-house, suggesting that true love is an
ever-fixd mark that looks on tempests and is not shaken. A first reading of this image seems very
positive like a lighthouse in a storm, true love is an unshaken guide. However, there is a much more
sexual connotation to this image, where the lighthouse can be seen as a phallic image. Like the
mention of a sickle found later in the poem, the connotation is that true love is rooted in sexuality.
This is not to say that Shakespeare doesnt believe in true love, but he certainly believes it should
include a heavy dose of sexual energy too. This is massively different to the love presented in Sonnet
43.
One of the similarities in the poems is found in their use of the sonnet form. This seems fitting, as the
sonnet is a famous form of love poetry. However, there are also some interesting differences in the
way the sonnet form is used within the two poems. Shakespeares Sonnet 116 pre-dates BarrettBrownings by a few hundred years, and uses the form known as the Shakespearean Sonnet, where
the original Italian form is altered slightly. One of the changes made from the original form is that
Shakespeare presents his volta in a rhyming couplet at the end of the poem. Perhaps this was the
playwright in him which knew the impact of a powerful ending. However, Barrett-Browning, writing 300
years later, in a period where Shakespeares own version of the sonnet was popular, chose to write in
Petrarchan style, with an ABBA rhyme scheme and the volta in line nine. It is interesting to think about
why the poet did this, and what it tells us about the presentation of true love in the poems.
It seems clear that Barrett Browning is rejecting the form made so famous by Shakespeare as she is
also rejecting his morals concerning love. We have already seen how Shakespeares sonnets are
riddled with sexual innuendo, but it is also true that Sonnet 116 was addressed to a man. Whether a
profession of homo-erotic love or merely platonic affection, the fact remains that Shakespeare has a
view on love which does not fit with Barrett-Brownings own reserved and religious feelings. So,
considering Barrett-Browning believed in love as a religious experience, she chose to use the form of
Petrarch, the priest who wrote of unrequited love. This choice more accurately reflects her own
feelings of reserved emotion and affection for a loved one.
In conclusion, both poets portray their view of true love, but whereas Shakespeares is sexual and
adventurous, Barrett-Brownings is more reserved and religious.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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OK, so what makes this a good answer? It does all the basics of PEE paragraphs and
commenting on language, structure and form. It answers the question too. However, what
sets this apart as a good example of a higher tier answer are perhaps two things:
1) The detailed knowledge of the poems, the poets, the
contexts and the important surrounding details (such as
the Bible references).
2) The way the answer is presented as one extended
argument rather than having a number of different points I basically have one or
two which are then covered through the different mediums of language and form.

TOP TIPS FOR THE ANTHOLOGY POETRY QUESTION:

Analyse language, structure and form


Write in PEE paragraphs
Write about the poets themes and the effect on the
reader

SECTION B: UNSEEN POETRY


In Section B you will be asked to analyse a poem you have never seen before, spending just
30 minutes planning and writing your answer. I have created a system for analysing unseen
poems which I shall now share with you. However, before I do that, take a look at this
unseen poem and the question that follows it.
BULLY
Your words cut into me, sharp as a knife
The pain that you cause always goes unseen
I curl up defenceless, scared for my life
Why do you always have to be so mean?
We met in our tutor group, class 1E
At first you barely saw that I was there
But soon your attention fell upon me
Your words were flying and always unfair
After a few years we became good friends
Most of the time, you were actually kind
But then those moments of friendship would end
The good times were gone all kindness behind
But those very good times enriched my life
Thats why in the end I took you as my wife
(Andrew Smith, 1981-)

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Question: What is the poets attitude to relationships? How is this presented in the poem?
OK, here are the 7 steps to follow with any unseen poem.

STEP 1: THINK ABOUT THE POET


Although you will almost certainly have never heard of the poet in the exam, you can work
out quite a lot from the name. To begin with, does it sound foreign or common? In the
example above the name Andrew Smith seems to be a British or maybe American name
there are certainly no clues that it may be the name of a non English native. Secondly think
about the sex the fact that this poem is written by a man may play an important part of
the analysis to come.

STEP 2: THINK ABOUT THE DATE


If there is a date listed you need to think about the life-time experiences of the poet and
relate them to what you found out in step 1. For example, a poem from the 1600s written
by a woman is going to be based in a context where womens rights were very different to
today. In the poem above you can see that the poet is just over 30 years old. This means
they have lived through the same sort of things you have lived through and share the same
cultural experiences: the internet boom, TV, 9/11 etc. Of course you dont know exactly
when the poem was written, but again your first impressions on the date can be important
later on.

STEP 3: FIRST READING FOR LITERAL MEANING


The exam board will choose a poem in this section which has both a simple meaning and a
complex meaning. To begin with, read through the poem looking for the simple meaning.
That is: what does this poem literally mean?
Using Bully as an example, we can say that the poem is about two school enemies who
later became friends and got married that is the simple meaning.

STEP 4: LOOK FOR THE POETIC DEVICES


You should really do this at the same time as step 3, but look for the poetic devices used in
the poem. For example: similes, metaphors, alliteration, rhyme, rhythm etc.

STEP 5: LOOK AT THE STRUCTURE AND FORM


How is the poem organised? When do the verses change and why? Does it follow the
pattern of a type of poetry? The poem Bully follows the form of Shakespearean Sonnet. If
you dont know about sonnets then you need to know. Let me fill you in about them.

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The sonnet is a genre of love poetry which originated in Italy in the 13 th Century. The 14th
Century poet Petrarch is the most recognised Italian sonneteer. Falling in love with a woman
known only as Laura, he wrote 366 sonnets to her. However, she rejected his proposals.
The Italian Sonnet follows a strict form:

14 lines
The first 8 lines (known as the octave) present a problem
The last 6 lines (known as the sestet) present a solution to the problem
Line 9 (known as the Volta) introduces a sharp twist, or turn, which brings about the
move to the resolution
ABBA ABBA rhyme scheme.

In the 16th Century, the sonnet made its way into English poetry. Sir Philip Sidney developed
it, but it came to be known as the Shakespearean sonnet (after Shakespeare made it truly
famous). This form is quite different to the Petrarchan sonnet:

It is written in iambic pentameter (lines of 10 syllables, with alternating stressed and


unstressed syllables).
It is divided into 3 verses of four lines each, known as quatrains, and finished with
a rhyming couplet which also served as the Volta.
Its rhyme scheme is also different: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

However, the topic of Shakespearean sonnets remains the same: they are all about love.
So, now you know about sonnets, it is clear that Smith uses the sonnet form to back up the
message that this poem is about falling in love (albeit with a childhood enemy).

STEP 6: LOOK FOR THE INCONSISTENCIES / DEEPER MEANINGS


The next step is to look for the deeper meaning of the poem. This is often found by looking
for words or phrases which dont seem to fit in with the literal interpretation. In the poem
above, you might consider the use of the present tense cause which suggests that this
bullying is still taking place to this day. Perhaps this poem is more than a simple we used to
hate each-other and now we love each-other and is actually about domestic abuse?
Similarly, the form of the poem suggests a deeper meaning. Although it follows the sonnet
form religiously, the last line contains 11 syllables not 10. On first reading this is a very
happy line which seems to laugh at the way the married couple used to be friends.
However, why did Smith choose to break the sonnet form? Does it, perhaps, suggest that
the love the couple has is not real?

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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STEP 7: ANSWER THE QUESTION


Steps 1-6 should really only take 4 or 5 minutes to complete. Of course, they will take a lot
longer whilst you are unpractised, so I have included a number of unseen poems for you to
practise with. These begin on page 89.

TOP TIPS FOR THE UNSEEN POETRY QUESTION:

Analyse language, structure and form


Write in PEE paragraphs
Write about the poets themes and the effect on the
reader

With all that in mind, lets look at the difference in how a foundation tier and higher tier
answer may analyse this poem.

FOUNDATION TIER SAMPLE ANSWER:


The poets attitude to relationships is that they are complex and multi-faceted. On the one hand,
relationships are loving and romantic. This is seen through the use of the sonnet form. The poem
follows the form of a Shakespearean sonnet: 14 lines of iambic pentameter, ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
rhyme scheme etc etc. By using the form of a famous type of love poetry, Smith is showing that the
relationship is loving. However, the title of the poem tells another story. By calling the poem bully, it
is clear that this relationship contains pain and suffering as well. This pain and suffering is clearly
seen throughout the poem. The effect on the reader is that they may feel confused about these
conflicting emotions, which is probably how Smith himself feels.

Ok, so the part answer above is a good answer. It is structured in PEE paragraph format and
comments on the effect on the reader. It analyses language and form, and shows a clear
knowledge of the understanding of sonnets. However, it really only focuses on a surface
analysis there is much more that could be said. So, how do you develop that answer into a
higher tier answer (or one which would gain full marks at foundation tier?) Using the answer
giving as a starting point, lets see if we can develop it into something more sophisticated
which addresses the deeper meanings and possible alternative interpretations.
The poets attitude to relationships is that they are complex and multi-faceted. On the one hand,
relationships are loving and romantic. This is seen through the use of the sonnet form. The poem
follows the form of a Shakespearean sonnet: 14 lines of iambic pentameter, ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
rhyme scheme etc etc. By using the form of a famous type of love poetry, Smith is showing that the
relationship is loving. However, the use of the sonnet form is more subversive in this poem it isnt
until the volta at the end where we actually realise this poem is about a marriage. The effect on the
reader of this sharp twist is that they are surprised to see these seemingly combatant people are
married. Perhaps Smith himself is surprised at how he has fallen into this marriage. On top of that it is
very important to note that the poem is not a perfect sonnet the last line Thats why in the end I took

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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you as my wife contains 11 syllables where it should only contain 10. This suggests that there is
more lurking under the surface of this seemingly happy marriage perhaps it isnt quite so happy at
all, but is a faade, just like the forced and ultimately inaccurate use of the sonnet form.
The language of the poem certainly does little to suggest the relationship is a happy one. By calling
the poem bully, it is clear that this relationship contains pain and suffering as well. This pain and
suffering is clearly seen throughout the poem. In fact, in verse one there is a suggestion that the
relationship is still not happy, seen in the use of the verb cause. This present tense usage is perhaps
a subtle hint that the bullying of their childhood is still taking place in their modern marriage. In this
interpretation it could even be suggested that childhood bullying is a metaphor for domestic abuse.
Smith might be covering the issue through childish imagery to reflect how he feels immature and
childish to be the victim of domestic abuse and yet also be a man.

You can see that this answer is much more sophisticated than the first. It picks out subtleties
and inconsistencies and analyses these persuasively. As with all poetry, you dont have to
have the right answer any answer is valid if it can be explained.
Well now its your turn! The next five pages are made up of unseen poems written by my
good friend and colleague Ollie Hayne. Each is a masterpiece of language, structure and
form. Attempt to analyse the poems following the steps laid out in this chapter and see
what conclusions you come to.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Little Monkey
Youre a barrel-load of monkey business
I cant guess what hides inside
your downward rolling left to right.
I start the upward caper
climbing.
You see, Im pressing on from A to B, quite simply.
Still youve paused to view your options,
raising bars of difficulty
turning music louder as were
speaking.
Weve had but one embrace, my little donkey
faced with dates I played it straight to make you mine,
running, jumping platforms of your mind
to find, my lovely, theyre all wonky
disappointingly.
Youve called the plumber to attend to
mess clogged up inside your U-bend
but the man cant do as men intend. Oh
look, a ladder here just at the end, missing rungs
conveniently.
Youre scoring more points now as I did then,
in fact, youre very high on my top ten.
Im going nowhere in these dungarees
these European threads dont suit me
red.
So thanks for playing, thanks for trying,
pull the plug, no need replying.
My gorilla lust has lost confused,
its now game over, princess, no continues,
dead.
Start one player game.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/84

Tell Me, I Know


Youre limping again.
Thats right. Thats right.
Notice my helplessness
drunk Thane of Leglessness
march me to Inverness
tell me its straightening.
Youre limping again.
Ka-blam. Ka-blam.
Batmans utility
belt has facilities
cures disabilities
tell me its straightening.
Youre limping again.
I know. I know.
Thats me in the mirror, Jack
me with the aching back
me with the trousers slack
tell me its straightening.
Youre limping again.
Doctor. Doctor.
Ive only one leg, sir
cant stand to be with her
cant ride with just one spur
tell me its straightening.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/85

Clinton
Im not sure how to begin.
I know not of the time before time.
Perhaps I should start in the middle?
Is there a middle?
Nevermind.
Bang.
Thatll do for now.
Clinton.
When you lie on your deathbed
I might send you a card.
Although youd be positively neutral, Im sure,
a testament to the sentiment,
were merely animals, after all.
Nobody noticed me so terribly small
took to swimming, took to swimming, took to swimming
found the shore
learned to run before I could walk
nowwatch me soar!
Unbounded
got bored, now Im grounded
I talk.
In another fifteen million years
Id like a brain in my anus.
Today the nurse tried to pinpoint your soul
found nothing and could not plug the hole shed created
(youd long since vacated).
Heard her weeping a while on the landline
said youve been seeping with bile
like a boy on a landmine
aged only nine.
Bang.
Lets go round again.
This morning, on the way to visit your ailing frame
a bus-load of atheists mounted the kerb
on the corner of Gower and Grafton Way.
A bus-load of believers
stabbing each other til there was but one survivor.
Im normally numb to the crimes of the nihilist

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/86

but I felt for the driver


who had faith in some god
and was doing his job.
But the captain is final in leaving the boat
and had your new humanity rammed down his throat.
I make it to your ward.
Talk to the ward clerk
(whatever shes called).
Said youve been talking of your genus,
had been acting quite the fraud
annoying dying men,
dying in adjoining beds
sat dying with their crying wives.
Youd told them when theyre gone and dead
thered be no afterlives.
Youre no good.
Tell a grandson granddads worm food.
Tell a grieving tot her dog will rot
and stiffen in the ground,
no gilded gate of heaven,
no silver trumpet sound.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/87

Anne Frank
I live here in this loft space as the ruling German nation
has declared my Jewish race an accursed abomination.
So our principle is now to creep not dash upon the floorboards
whilst the people down the stairs provide what food they can afford.
And I get bored
Especially at night when light is sought
but soon snuffed out
in case were caught by eyes of prying soldiers,
nosy neighbours whove been bought to be informers
or recorders of illegal Jewish boarders.
Its not so bad at times,
this book of mine has kept me entertained,
and the company of boys, well, one particular, a joy.
Yet were all anxious to avoid the news of labour camps like chicken coops
where the best and worst of Hitlers troops use our gold to clothe their coven
and our souls to fuel their oven.
Its getting late.
The night is endless
yet I lie awake and restless.
Do I dare to move myself to strike a single match?
To find a hateful pair of German eyes upon me through the hatch
to drag me down to hell and back,
my body burned to dust and ash
but firmly gripped in fathers grasp my words return to you for evermore.
Dear Kitty,
fly, the world is yours
Im Anne Frank.
Please world protect me.
Im Anne Frank.
And dont forget me.
Im Anne Frank.
Please, father, find me.
Im Anne Frank.
Look after Kitty.
Im Anne Frank.
Please, Father, help me.
Im Anne Frank.
PleaseFather

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/88

Box Room
When you were just a child of three
you scratched a crayon on the wall
your mother silently appalled
then sent you bedward
shortly to report your flaw
to dear old father,
he took it harder
and in the morning flatly laid the law
over piles of sodden cornflakes
suggested lowering your profile for the day
to save you drawing further mischief
on the woodchip of the wall.
And so you pencilled in a tantrum
once your ruler darted sharply through the threshold
where your kingdom ends and world begins,
thumbing footholds in your mothers thinly folded clay
of pasta-layered patience.
Kingdom come and kingdom go
your arms gyrating down below
your legs a blur of tiny maelstrom
on freshly floured linoleum.
Grizzly-faced, po-faced,
you reach for the kill
asking mother to fill up
your Tupperware beaker
with fizzy Ribena:
a mixture of cordial and dark lemonade.
Her mistake wryly made
as you eyeball her, tilt it
Oh, Mummy, Ive spilt it!
Laugh all the way up the timber hill
slam the door in the box room
and wait for the thrill
of your fathers dun wrapping
on the wood of the door,
the squeak of the doorknob and
the speech he abhors of
the poor job youre making of baking with Mother.
A yearning, theyre learning,
for a sister or brother.

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

/89

AFTERWORD
OK, you have reached the end of this eBook. I truly hope it has been useful to you. I would
ask that you tell your friends about it and get them to buy a copy! I also suggest you head
over to my website mrbruff.com
Mrbruff.com hosts a number of my videos, my podcasts, my blog and a whole host of other
useful bits and bobs. If, through reading this eBook, you think you would like some 1-2-1
tuition from me, then please use the contact form at mrbruff.com and let me know the
topics you are interested in. I currently tutor in a number of ways, including making videos
specifically for you on your topic of choice.
I hope you do brilliantly well in your exams send me an email when you get your results
and let me know how you got on: abruff@live.co.uk

Andrew Bruff
www.mrbruff.com

COPYRIGHT 2013, ANDREW BRUFF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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