You have two pieces of writing to carry out on the day of your exam



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  • You have two pieces of writing to carry out on the day of your exam.
  • Each is worth ten marks.
  • They are:
  • Personal Response Writing
  • Directed Writing
  • What is involved?
  • you will have to write this on the topic of the listening
  • you should write 120 to 150 words, taking about 40 minutes to do so
  • there will be three questions to guide your answer, so take the time to read them carefully, as you are not free to write what you want!
  • Personal Response to a listening stimulus
  • This is unpredictable! You can not know what topic will come up, although it will be something you have studied
  • You cannot simply learn by heart some essays and hope to find one of them fits
  • You will be given a topic, then asked three questions. You have to answer them!
  • What you can do is have a lot of opinion phrases ready, and be prepared to adapt them to fit the topic in question
  • Personal Response Writing
  • the important thing is to use good, correct language: most of this may well be in the present tense, but you need to vary that!
  • make sure you introduce structures such as sub-clauses
  • do not just rewrite something you have already learned: check how relevant it is!
  • Personal Response Writing
  • use adjectives and adverbs, give opinions and reasons
  • make sure you introduce structures such as sub-clauses
  • think about having a list of suitable opinion phrases ready to insert
  • plan before you write, don’t just blurt
  • Personal Response Writing
  • A past Higher French paper asked:
  • Nicole nous a parlé de l’importance des langues. Est-ce que les langues sont importantes pour toi? Est-ce que tu voudrais faire un stage à l’étranger? Pourquoi/pourquoi pas?
  • So, three paragraphs, one about languages for you, one on you possibly going abroad and one giving your opinions on what would be positive and negative about doing so
  • Personal Response Writing: French
  • Ana ha hablado de su carrera profesional y de sus destrezas.
  • ¿Qué tipo de proyectos te gustaría hacer en el futuro?
  • ¿Te gustaría seguir estudiando?
  • ¿Cuáles son tus destrezas y habilidades?
  • Again, three paragraphs: any future plans, thinking about work/uni and then talking about your own strengths and skills
  • Personal Response Writing: Spanish
  • Gabi und Peter haben Pläne für ihre berufliche Zukunft.
  • Und du? Hast du Pläne für deine Zukunft? Möchtest du auf die Uni gehen oder sofort einen Job finden?
  • Was ist dein Traumjob?
  • So, three paragraphs, one about any future plans, and one giving your opinions on uni/work, and something about your dream job!
  • Personal Response Writing: German
  • be ready to use some of the material you have been listening to and incorporate it in your essay: so when you are practising listening, take the time to note down some phrases in the target language which you can then put in your writing
  • look at the transcripts of what you are listening to and identify good phrases and sentences for your bank
  • remember to have opinion words and phrases ready!
  • Personal Response Writing
  • Think about an introduction:
  • Die Frage ist, ob ich Pläne für meine Zukunft haben könnte. Da bin ich nicht ganz sicher.
  • Je dois penser à la question, si les langues sont importantes pour moi. Je ne suis pas tout à fait certain.
  • Tengo que pensar en ¿qué tipo de proyectos me gustaría hacer en el futuro? No lo sé exactamente.
  • Personal Response Writing: intro
  • Think also about something to finish it off neatly
  • Et bien, j’ai pu exprimer mes opinions à l’égard de l’importance pour moi des langues.
  • Entonces, tiene mis opiniones sobre mi futuro y mis destrezas.
  • Also, jetzt wissen Sie ein wenig über meine Pläne und meine Wünsche für die Zukunft
  • Personal Response Writing: ending
  • à mon avis to my mind
  • à peine just
  • cependant nevertheless, yet
  • de l'un côté on the one hand
  • de l'autre côté on the other hand
  • en outre furthermore
  • il vaut mieux it is better to
  • Je suis très.. I really like
  • même si even if
  • néanmoins nevertheless
  • par ailleurs besides
  • par contre however, in contrast
  • quant à according to
  • sans cesse continuously
  • surtout especially
  • French discussion vocabulary
  • a mi parecer to my mind
  • apenas just
  • sin embargo nevertheless, yet
  • por un lado on the one hand
  • por otro on the other hand
  • además furthermore
  • más vale que it is better to
  • aunque even if
  • no obstante nevertheless
  • en contraste however, in contrast
  • según according to
  • continuamente continuously
  • Especialmente especially
  • Spanish discussion vocabulary
  • Ich finde es doof, dass… I find it stupid that…
  • Es ist besser (schlechter), …zu… It is better/worse to…
  • Es ist besser, auf dem Land zu wohnen. I t is better to live in the country
  • Es wäre gut, wenn… It would be good if…
  • Meiner Meinung nach In my opinion
  • Man muss wissen, dass… You have to know that…
  • Man darf nicht vergessen, dass… We mustn’t forget that…
  • Wir sollen… Wir sollen nicht… We should…/shouldn’t
  • Ich möchte wissen, ob… I would like to know whether…
  • Ich möchte sehen, dass… I would like to see that…
  • auf der einen Hand on the one hand
  • auf der anderen Hand on the other hand
  • German discussion vocabulary
  • Directed Writing
  • Higher directed writing is all about past tenses, so make sure you are good at them: use your dictionary verb pages to check your work: practise using these pages
  • there are four bullet points, all unpredictable: or are they?
  • you should go into the exam with at least 50% of the answer already in your head
  • it is worth 10% of your mark overall
  • Directed Writing
  • timing
  • 120-150 words, 40 minutes
  • 2 choices: how should you decide?
  • four bullet points, equal weight
  • watch the first bullet (double) point!
  • opinions will matter
  • future and/or conditional needed for last point
  • success criteria
  • language structures: tenses
  • proof reading
  • Directed Writing
  • don’t worry about the context, look at the bullet points and see which one you are better prepared for
  • don’t be tempted to use your dictionary to look up words you don’t know: stick to things you do know
  • do use your dictionary to check your spellings, to check your genders, and to check your verbs
  • at the end, do go through the writing and proofread, looking for the kind of mistakes you know you make most often
  • Directed Writing: Language Resource
  • for a good grade, you need complex language
  • that means sub-clauses, conjunctions, adjectives with nouns, and adverbs with verbs in each section
  • think of writing a statement, then giving a reason and a second reason (or a but, on the other hand) for your answer
  • get the appropriate tense in!
  • Directed Writing: Language Resource
  • The language used is detailed and complex. There is good use of adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases and, where appropriate, word order.
  • A comprehensive range of verbs/verb forms, tenses and constructions is used. Some modal verbs and infinitives may be used.
  • The candidate is comfortable with the first person of the verb and generally uses a different verb in each sentence. Sentences are mainly complex and accurate.
  • The language flows well.
  • Directed Writing: Content
  • you may well be asked what you thought of some aspect of the visit, or to give your opinions of people or places
  • have opinions on individuals and groups of people ready
  • you will almost certainly have to write about what you ‘did’
  • you will probably have to say something about your overall opinion, and/or would you recommend it to others, using future and/or conditional tenses
  • Directed Writing: Content
  • split the first bullet point into two, and answer with a sentence for each part
  • think about ‘other relevant details’: when, weather, how you got there, what the journey was like, who you travelled with, where you stayed, what you did in your free time, what was different, opinions!
  • make sure you have ready a number of things you ‘did’ for work, homework, free time
  • for the last bullet point, have ready and use both future and conditional sentences : know how to say ‘I would recommend’
  • make full use of the opportunities to put in sub-clauses and adjectives
  • Directed Writing: Examples
  • SCENARIO 1: Society
  • Last year you visited a town in Germany where you stayed with a local family. On your return you have been asked to write in German about your trip for the foreign language section of your school/college website.
  • You must include the following information and you should try to add other relevant details:
  • how you travelled and what the journey was like
  • how you got on with the German family
  • some of the things you did during your stay
  • whether or not you would like to repeat the experience
  • Directed Writing: Examples
  • SCENARIO 2: Culture
  • Last summer you went to a music concert in Germany with your friends. Your German teacher has asked you to write in German about your experience.
  • You must include the following information and you should try to add other relevant details:
  • how you travelled and what the accommodation was like
  • what you thought of the concert
  • what you did after the concert
  • whether or not you would like to go to Germany again
  • Directed Writing: Examples
  • SCENARIO 1: Employability
  • Last summer you spent three weeks working in a hotel in France. On your return you have been asked to write an account in French of your experience for the hotel’s website.
  • You must include the following information and you should try to add other relevant details:
  • Where the hotel was located and what it was like
  • What you liked/disliked about the job
  • How you got on with your colleagues
  • Whether or not you would recommend working abroad to others
  • Directed Writing: Examples
  • SCENARIO 2: Culture
  • Last year you went to France to stay with a French family. On your return you have been asked to write an account in French for the French family’s local newspaper.
  • You must include the following information and you should try to add other relevant details:
  • Where in France the family lived and how you travelled there
  • What you did with the family at the weekend
  • What differences you noticed between the French and Scottish way of life
  • Whether you would recommend living with a family in another country
  • Directed Writing: Examples
  • SCENARIO 1: Culture
  • While in Spain, you took part in a local festival. You have been asked to write about your experience in Spanish for the language section of your school/ college website.
  • You must include the following information and you should try to add other relevant details:
  • How you travelled and what the journey was like
  • What you enjoyed most about the festival
  • What else you did during your stay in Spain
  • If you would recommend such an experience to others
  • Directed Writing: Examples
  • SCENARIO 2: Society
  • Last year you took part in a language exchange in Spain where you stayed with a Spanish family. You have been asked to write about your experience in Spanish for the language section of your school/college website.
  • You must include the following information and you should try to add other relevant details:
  • How you travelled and what you thought of the journey
  • How you helped around the house
  • What you did to improve your Spanish
  • If you would recommend an experience like this to other young people
  • Directed Writing: SQA reviews
  • French: Candidates need to ensure that they have a sound knowledge of how to conjugate verbs in the past tense. They should be encouraged to be more accurate in number, gender, and adjectival agreement. They should also be reminded to check that they have addressed all the bullet points, or parts of bullet points.
  • Spanish: many candidates could not handle well some straightforward uses of the subjunctive ‘cuando vaya’, ‘cuando tenga’. Adjectival agreement is another issue which causes candidates to perform not so well. Some candidates are not checking their work or using the dictionary to check gender. For example ‘experiencia’, ‘casa’, or ‘ciudad’ are used as masculine nouns by some candidates. Other repeated errors included the use of por/para, or viaje por un avion.
  • German: Candidates who appeared to be more secure in other tense forms (future tense, conditional, present tense) performed better. Keep consolidating German sentence structure with special consideration of the position of the verb.
  • Directed Writing: SQA reviews
  • French: Although there were some good responses to the Directed Writing task, a number of essays tended to lack detailed and complex structures, a variety of tenses and compound sentences to score 10/10. The majority of candidates scored between 4 and 8 out of 10. There were few very good performances and very few poor responses.
  • In some instances, candidates incorporated learned material which was often not relevant to the bullet point, resulting in the bullet points not being tackled in a balanced way. Lack of accuracy is still a problem for candidates, with spelling, genders, plurals, accents, and adjectival agreement posing problems.
  • Some candidates also do not appear to have a sound knowledge of tenses. The formation of the past tense is often inconsistent with the infinitive being used, or the auxiliary verb being omitted in the perfect tense. Some candidates also have difficulty distinguishing the difference between the imperfect and conditional tense. Many candidates failed to maintain accuracy in the less predictable bullet points. These were often characterised by dictionary misuse and mother tongue interference. Candidates often had good ideas but did not have the language necessary to express them. This resulted in over-reliance on the dictionary, which led to serious mistranslations in some cases.
  • Directed Writing: SQA reviews
  • German: Some candidates developed the four bullet points very well, and created and added their own ideas and knowledge about localities in German cities and culture to the directed writing, which gave their essays a special flair. More detail could have been provided by some candidates in the second and third bullet point of Scenario 1 and the first and fourth bullet point in Scenario 2.
  • Most candidates showed good control of the perfect tense and German sentence structure and made good use of pre-learned material — especially for the first and the last bullet point. There were some outstanding Directed Writing performances this year, which would suggest that those candidates could be very successful Advanced Higher German candidates in the future.
  • Directed Writing: SQA reviews
  • Spanish: In the Directed Writing, some candidates did not manage to tackle the skills bullet point of the employability option. A considerable number of candidates struggled in the Directed Writing to be fully accurate when using the preterite and the imperfect tenses to answer bullet points about what their daily routine was, and the skills they had to use in their job.
  • In the Writing element of the Listening paper, those candidates who tackled the writing task without showing progression from National 5 when writing about their school experience or future plans did not demonstrate content, language resource or accuracy as expected at Higher.
  • http://www.sqa.org.uk/pastpapers/findpastpaper.htm
  • Subject: from menu choose French, German, Spanish or Italian
  • Qualification: from menu choose Higher
  • Go!
  • Choose pdf of the paper you want, soundfile as an mp3 if you want to try the listening, then scroll down to the pdfs for the marking instructions
  • You will also find Specimen and Exemplar papers there to look at
  • For Directed Writing, it is worth looking across the languages to see the kind of questions set
  • Thank you
  • You can find previous presentations on the SCHOLAR website on the other skills and how to improve them
  • Next session is at 6pm on March 21st, on how to revise for your Higher exam


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