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Paper 2 Question 4 

 Focus: Writers' Perspectives                Marks: 16                   Time: 20 mins (4 paragraphs)

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Perspectives, views, attitudes, opinions...don't let these words confuse you. They all mean the same thing.


  • What does the writer think, feel or believe about the topic? E.g. are they angry, amused, scared or confused?

  • How do they approach the topic? E.g. is it personal or objective? Are they an expert or an amateur?

There will be lots of clues in the sources to help you find out. Here are the things to look for.

Explicit information

This is where the writer tells you exactly what they think. They might write 'It was fantastic' or 'I shouted angrily'. They are easy to spot but the trick is to make sure you add detailed comments linking what they've written to the overall topic and commenting on method.

Implicit information

This is where you read between the lines to work out the writer's perspective. Maybe the source is about a school and you are told that the writer is a teacher. Therefore you know that the writer has first hand, personal experience of working in schools. This will give a different perspective than a pupil or a parent writing about schools.

Words and phrases

Remember that writers choose words carefully to convey meaning. If they describe a boat as 'groaning like a tired old man' it tells you that they think the boat is worn out, in bad repair, struggling, in need of help etc., or maybe they even feel sorry for it. They might use a collection of words with a similar theme (a semantic field). Link the words together and comment on the overall perspective. For example, a puppy might be described as 'springing / yapping / bouncing / racing'. The writer therefore thinks the puppy is full of energy and never stops moving.

Mood and tone

Sometimes writers use humour or sarcasm to make a point, or are extremely emotional or serious. Noticing this will show the examiner that you've really understood the source, so always mention it if you can.

Top tips! 

- You can use quotes/comments from previous questions. For example, you can use your language analysis from Q3 as long as it is showing the writer's perspective.

How are you marked?

There are four skills on the mark scheme:

  1. Compare ideas and perspectives clearly.

  2. Analyse how writers' methods are used.

  3. Show clear understanding of ideas and perspectives.

  4. Select relevant quotes.


The skills are NOT equal. Your mark depends on skills 1,2 and 3.

If you only write about one text you can't get higher than Level 2 and the maximum mark will be 6.


Common mistakes

  • Confusing the writer with other people in the source.

  • Not focusing on the writers' viewpoints.

  • Not commenting on method.

  • Not comparing the sources clearly.

How to succeed

  • Make sure you know who the writers are.

  • Pick out words and phrases that show you the writers' perspectives and ideas.

  • Comment on the METHOD used.

  • Clearly compare the perspectives and ideas.

Further Practice
  • Go to the Paper 2 practice papers and try some Q4s.

  • Read some marked answers to see what a Level 3 answer looks like.

  • Go to the Skills section and look at Paragraphing, Comparing and Using Quotes.

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