Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 





Title: UNIT 1: Prose (different cultures) and poetry (contemporary).

When: January and June.

Type of exam: External assessment (examination)

Length of exam: 2 hrs.

Marks: 50 marks - Section A 21% Prose (different cultures) and Section B 14% Contemporary unseen poetry (comparative study).

Worth: 35% of qualification. 

Structure of exam: Section A requires study of a prose text from a different culture. You have chosen to study ‘Of Mice and Men.’ It will require candidates to answer two questions on the chosen prose text.

The first question (part (a)) will require close reading of an extract.

 The second question (part (b)) will offer a choice of tasks (parts (b) and (c)) relating to the text as a whole.

 Text: Candidates are not permitted to take copies of the set texts into the examination

Assessment Objectives (AOs)

It’s really important to understand the assessment objectives so that you can balance your writing to gain the maximum marks.

In Unit 1 the following marks are awarded:

AO1: 11% AO4: 10% AO2: 7% AO3: 7%

So when approaching Unit 1 you will need to pay particular attention to AOs 1 and 2, whilst not forgetting to cover AOs 2 and 3.

AO1 • (11%) Respond to texts critically and imaginatively; select and evaluate relevant textual detail to illustrate and support interpretations

What does this mean?

You have to show an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the text and then be able to use appropriate quotations to support your ideas and points of view.

AO2 • (7%) Explain how language, structure and form contribute to writers’ presentation of ideas, themes and settings

What does this mean?

This is the AO that pupils often fail to cover. You have to closely analyse the use of language in the text and demonstrate how it is used by the author to create character, develop the main themes and also describe the settings. It is important also to consider the effect that the writing has on the reader.

What type of text are you studying and how is it structured? Have you identified the authorial voice and how does this contribute to the meaning of the text.

What type of sentence construction is used by the author and how does this contribute to plot and character development?

What writing techniques does the author use to develop plot, characters and themes? Does the writer use simile, personification, alliteration, for example, and what effect is created by the author?

How do the characters communicate? Do they use colloquial language or standard English and how does this contribute to our cultural understanding of the text?

AO3 • (7%) Make comparisons and explain links between texts, evaluating writers’ different ways of expressing meaning and achieving effects

What does this mean?

Your job is to compare texts by outlining the similarities and differences. It is important to move equally between the two texts, and write about them together, not separately. Consider how two different writers describe the same subject? See guidance on AO2 about evaluating texts.

AO4 • (10%) Relate texts to their social, cultural and historical contexts; explain how texts have been influential and significant to self, and other readers in different contexts and at different times

What does this mean?

Historical context refers to the social, religious, economic, cultural and political conditions that existed during the time the text was written. By closely analysing the context you can begin to understand the issues that motivate characters in texts and understand why they behave as they do. It is important to consider also how the text impacts contemporary readers and audiences.