- 01. How do you find the annotated exemplars?
- 02. Why are annotated exemplars helpful for your study?
- 03. Let’s look at a student’s Written Text, Merit exemplar from 2018
- 04. Critiques from the examiner:
- 05. Let’s take a look at the Visual Text excellence exemplar from 2018
- 06. Critiques from the examiner
- 07. Want some extra help?
While navigating Level 1 English, the NZQA website will be at the forefront of your studying and revising experience. NZQA has achievement standards, in which you can plan out exactly what is required from you and how to achieve every mark, achieved, merit and, excellence. The site has reports of each year for how the students performed and what mistakes they commonly made. Perhaps the most effective studying material is the annotated exemplars and exam questions.
Perhaps you are thinking about how you are going to pass NCEA Level 1 English? If so, then this could be good to check out! Or maybe you’re looking at how many credits will get you there? If you're feeling particularly philosophical then how about you read this blog on why English is important as a subject? Maybe you just need a brush up on your essay writing skills, then have a look at this.
How do you find the annotated exemplars?
Simply log on to the NZQA website, type in level 1 English and there will be a drop-down menu where you can access everything from reports, achievement standards right through to annotated exemplars. You can find this dropdown below.
Why are annotated exemplars helpful for your study?
Have you ever got stuck when revising and struggled with your course work for NCEA Level 1 English? Maybe you're confused as to what the next step is to really gain that higher mark; after all, you’ve had your eye on that excellence for a long time. Annotated exemplars are the way to go because they give you a clear example as to what an achieved, merit and excellence look like. You can take tips as to how the essays were each written and look specifically at the structure of how the text was developed. These also could be helpful if you happen to have studied that particular written text or visual text. Exemplars give you a clear indication as to what is possible under exam constraints; they can show you how effective planning is as well. There is also notes at the end written by the examiner which will be super valuable for you to unpack and reflect on when comparing them to the overall student’s essay.
Let’s look at a student’s Written Text, Merit exemplar from 2018
Let’s first look at the questions for 2018 which in this case, the student selected this question.
"Describe at least one method the writer used to encourage the reader with the text. Explain how this method helped to engage you? Methods could include, characters, events, relationships, narrative points of view, language techniques, style, conflict and structure." Here, the essay question is all about the methods in relation to the reader and writer relationship. Let’s unpack this more.
In this particular essay, the student is dissecting the written text, Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. This text paints a post-apocalyptic world where a human being falls in love with a zombie. Throughout the movie, love and identity are explored. Techniques-wise, the author uses symbolism as a means to highlight music and art throughout the novel.
Music is shown as a clear method to showcase the main character's relationship between R and Julie’s. The song ‘Hello, Goodbye’ by the Beatles clearly addresses their unique relationship, particularly the dynamic on which they first meet. R is wanting to get to know Julie while she is more afraid, needing some distance from him. The lyrics clearly illustrate contrast with what the other one wants and their different expectations. For example, in the song it states:
“You say, "Yes", I say, "No"
You say, "Stop" and I say, "Go, go, go"
This relationship dynamic is further wedged with more distance when the lyric states, ‘You say goodbye, I say hello”. They clearly both want different things and the music as a technique helps to clearly show this for the reader.
Marion further developed their relationship by utilizing the John Lennon song ‘Imagine’. This is shown with the lyric “Imagine all the people living life in peace”. Through this lyric, we are given insight into R and Julie’s new budding relationship. They now trust each other and envision a world where both humans and zombies can live together in harmony. In the 2018 exemplar, the student then stated that they were engaged by the text because they felt that music was often a soundtrack for people’s lives. Through the songs, they were able to get more insight into the characters and therefore connect with them on a deeper level.
Critiques from the examiner:
One of the crucial parts of reading exemplars is the feedback at the end. For this particular essay, the examiner stated that the student unpacked and detailed the points well. They also mentioned that the student has related the points to the author’s purpose as well as the wider themes beyond the text. If you want to read more head to the NZQA website to find this and other exemplars.
Let’s take a look at the Visual Text excellence exemplar from 2018
First, let’s launch into the question that was selected by the student. “Describe at least one challenging setting in the text. Explain how setting helped you understand an important aspect of the text.”
Slumdog Millionaire by Danny Boyle showcases multiple settings where the main character, Jamal rises up from where he came from in the slums. In settings like the orphanage and slums, we see the underdog continuously overcome challenges and become very successful.
In the 2018 exemplar, the student addresses the first setting where the Juhu slum is depicted. The scene opens with a chase where the two boys are seen running away from the policeman. This challenging setting is further established through the use of a shaky camera, which follows the boys jumping over the fence. In this way, we can also make the connection that they have a shaky life, unsettled and unstable. This helps to build tension for the next scene. Furthermore, there is a Dutch camera angle that has the camera carelessly placed on the ground, with the boys running past it swiftly. This further displays the uneasiness of the boy’s environment. However, we do see a clear contrast later when the boys appear to outwit the policeman. Showing this scene and doing it so early on in the film really solidifies the important idea of the underdog triumphing over authority. When you break down the title of the film as well, Boyle really makes it clear as to what will happen and he contextualizes it very well with the underdog film.
Another very important setting is the game show setting. Prem the host is seen making fun of Jamal, further establishing Jamal as the underdog again. After Jamal gets a question right, the camera angles switch to being more balanced and on even keel footing, with both men shown in the view. This change clearly flips the underdog characterization on its head as Jamal is now appearing to be almost dominating the show. It is both shocking and incredible when Jamal is seen to win “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”. This is because the class system in India has a very strong presence in society. The fact that Jamal overcame where he came from, shredded his underdog status and got away with winning such a huge prize, is hugely significant.
Critiques from the examiner
The examiner liked the structure this exemplar showed. For example, the clear distinction made between talking about the slum, the orphanage and then the studio. Furthermore, the examiner liked the notion that the student included the reader in the text. For example, when the student wrote “we are encouraged to rise up like Jamal”. This awareness of text and the film director helps to further establish a relationship with the reader by comparing the main character to the reader. It’s always a good point to show some common ground with the reader/examiner as it deepens the relationship and makes more insightful points.
Want some extra help?
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