A couple of weeks before the exam, your teacher must send the SQA the topics which you would like to talk about. You will also need to speak about your work in the Extended Reading/Viewing Unit (that work which will end up in your folio).
For me, I chose the topics of the internet and immigration, and my folio contains a background essay about French cinema, and an essay on some poetry of Jacques Prévert, so I would have to speak about (at least one of) them too.
The speaking is worth 25% of your overall grade, that is 50 of 200 possible points.
You are awarded points in steps of 10, starting at 0, then 10, 20, 30, then 40, with 50 the maximum score. On the day, the examiner will arrive and introduce him/herself.
There’s probably more than one of you in your class, and the examiner will have already decided the order of speaking – probably alphabetically. The examiner will prepare, and then ask the first speaker to join her.
I realised that French would broaden my horizons so much more than chemistry, and that is why I chose it.
The dissertation is worth 30% of your overall award—so it’s important to take it very seriously.
Authors, texts and topics that are central to your work in one component of course assessment (for example, Literary Study) may not be used in any other component of course assessment (for example, your Dissertation).
You will be required to record your Dissertation texts and topic on your answer booklet.
You have to make an independent study of and produce a dissertation on an aspect or aspects of literature.
French required by far more work and effort than any of my other subjects; I did more homework for French than all my other subjects combined.
Perhaps that was just a reflection on me, or on my teachers, or maybe it’s because it really is hard to do well in a foreign language subject.
Either way, I put in the work that was required, and although it was hard and I often felt like giving up, I knew it would be worthwhile in the end. Although my evidence is anecdotal, I still think this is true: if you don’t do the work, you won’t get the grade.
And, more importantly, you won’t get the understanding of French that you’ll need if you’re actually going to use it in life.
My choice was this: pick chemistry which would quickly bore me once all the fun stuff is out of the way, and which I would never pursue as a career, or, I could pick French, and actually come out of a skill which I could use in my spare time to read French, on holiday, or to work in a different country such as France.
Then leave feeling so relieved to have that load taken off your shoulders.
Ideally your grade would depend solely on what you say and how you say it, but just perhaps the examiner will be more favourable towards you if she likes you.
Here’s all I can think of: You know what topics you’ve learned, and you know which ones you know more about.
I recommend that you pick the topics which most interest you, because preparing for the exam – thinking about these topics all the time – is hard enough as it is.
You don’t want to be slitting your wrists a few days before the exam out of complete boredom.
The first stage in the process is the selection of texts or topics and the formulation of a brief descriptive statement of what you propose to study.
This proposal must be approved by your teacher in order to ensure that the materials are appropriate to an English course and worthy of study at this level and that the study itself is manageable.
Your study should explore a limited area and examine it in detail with lots of appropriate supporting evidence.
It should be noted that texts and topics: The dissertation you produce must be between 25 words in length, including quotations but excluding footnotes and bibliography.
You should note that, in order to achieve consistency in this area, any dissertation that falls outside these limits of length will not be accepted.
The exam will take place in an empty room, ideally in a quiet area of the school, with just you and the examiner, along with the tape recorder.
The examiner will probably introduce herself, in English, and will explain what I’m about to explain.
She’ll confirm your choices of topic, but you can narrow them, reorder them, and probably even change them if you want.
After that, she will begin the exam which will go as follows: . I know you probably hear this all the time from your teacher, but I’ve been there: it flew by.
Once the tape stops, do what the hell you want: jump for joy, become an hero, ask the examiner for a bit of feedback (she probably won’t give you much if anything, thought she will tell your teacher more) and thank her.