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How to succeed

  • Comment on the writer's methods (language or structure)

  • Link your quotes to key words in statement.

  • Use evaluative sentence starters.

Common mistakes

  • Just giving your opinion, with no quotes to back it up.

  • Writing unorganised paragraphs.

  • Not commenting on the writer's method.


Paper 1 Question 4 




  Focus: Evaluating the text                        Marks: 20                                  Time: 20 mins
















In Q4 you will use all the skills you have come across so far combined into one question. That's why it has a lot more marks. The question is long, so make sure you read it all carefully and break it down. For example:

Focus this part of your answer on the second part of the source, from line 21 to the end.


It will always be about the second half of the text. You can refer to other parts of the story but take your main evidence (quote) from these lines.


A reader said, ‘This part of the story, where Alice decides to continue digging for the object, is very mysterious, and suggests her discovery may be life-changing.’

There are usually two parts to the statement. Here you can write about how mysterious it is and also how it might be life-changing.

To what extent do you agree?

This is the evaluation part. Evaluation is making your own judgement about something. You'll be responding to a reader's statement about the story and how effective the writer has been for you (e.g. Has the writer created a sense of mystery or not?)  This is where you MUST include some evaluative phrases to make your answer effective.















Agree or disagree?

- It entirely depends on the question you get.

- Read the statement and the story carefully and make your judgement.

- You can agree, disagree or a bit of both, as long as your argument is clear and supported by the text.

- Remember, this is a READING question. It's not enough to give your opinion; it must be supported by evidence from the text.

What is METHOD?

- So far we've used the words 'techniques' and 'features' to talk about what the writer does.

- Methods includes both of those things and more.

- Method is HOW the writer communicates their intentions to you.

- Maybe they want to scare you, make you laugh or make you empathise with the character. How do they do it?

- This could include language techniques, structural features, punctuation, tone, humour, sarcasm, pace, mood etc.

Top tips! 

- Use PEED, PETER, PETAL etc. whichever one you are more familiar with.

- Comment on method.

- Leave enough time. Don't spend longer than 10 minutes on questions 2 and 3. They are only 8 marks; this is 20 marks!

How are you marked?

There are four skills on the mark scheme:

  1. Evaluate the effects on the reader.

  2. Understand writer's methods.

  3. Respond clearly to the statement.

  4. Select relevant quotes.​


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

Further Practice

  • Read some marked answers so you can see what makes a clear answer to Q4.

  • Go to the Skills pages and look at Paragraphing and Using Quotes.

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