CA4 Review: Her World

Lost in Translation

As with CA3, I didn’t mark quite enough scripts to provide a detailed evaluation of what went right and what went wrong. Expect this post to be a little more free form in its outlay of thoughts on the mind and self, Ayckbourn’s Woman in Mind and the methods contained therein. For memory’s sake, we will be responding to the CA4 question listed below:

Explore the play’s treatment of the ways in which the environment has an impact on an individual’s mind and self.

For efficiency, we will not repeat the question analysis and approaches that Ms Yeo shared with you during the lecture in T2 W10 — not in the conventional sense anyway. What we will be doing is to rustle up a few relevant ideas and methods that may prove useful at the upcoming Mid-Year Examination. Whatever the case, be warned: the questions will never be the same, so your (one?) job is to be extremely selective, adapt points and evidence skilfully and, duh of duhs, answer the question. Padding done, so let’s open up the windows to Susan’s mental universe.

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CA3 Review: To Catch a Thief

This supplementary review of our third CA on Act 2 Sc 1 in Measure has been much delayed by sickness but hopefully arrives in time for revision purposes.

The Term 2 Week 9 lecture already covered the key ideas for this particular passage-based question (PBQ), as well as some of the skills. Regarding the latter, I’m confident that most of us are fully aware of the need to analyse methods and effects, close analyse specific words for effects, discuss concerns, and evaluate links to elsewhere in a PBQ answer. The question that a typical student would (and should) have is really, ‘how do I do this?’ rather than ‘what must I do?’. If you do need to ask yourself the latter question, you may wish to acquire a guilty look not unlike the picture above before moving to the next paragraph.

This post seeks to demonstrate the aforementioned skills (with periodic reminders of what they are!) while also studying what I found to be a conceptually difficult part of the passage — Angelo’s ironic avowal on the ‘thievish’ traits of a jury or judge. We’ll have this on lockdown in no time, so let’s get to it.

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Listen, If You’re Not Afraid


Whilst ransacking the internet for an e-text of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (to no avail), I chanced upon an audio recording of the Original Broadway Cast performance of the play, which you can and should check out here. It’s basically an audiobook that will make your reading of the text that bit easier and more engaging. Click the link below and there’s an option to download MP3 / OGG files of every part. We’ve also uploaded the files into our shared GoogleDrive folder, accessible via your address. 🙂

Revising for the Mid-Year Exam

Exam Meme

Hola all! It’s the fourth day of Pre-U Sem and Student Leaders Training, so more than a few of us should be beginning our revision for the Mid-Year Examination soon. You’ve probably heard your teachers repeat this ad nauseum already but it’s worth reiterating: the A-levels are not the same as the O-levels or your IP exams. Some of your old habits, whether in Literature or your other subjects, may already have haunted you in your various CAs. Whatever the case, let’s all start on a clean slate as we gear up for your first internal JC exam, and the A-level exam you will eventually take in November 2018!

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The JC1 Mid-Year Exam



3 hours

  • We strongly recommend you spend 1 hr per section, using about 15 min for reading / planning and the remaining 45 to write the essay.
  • Going overboard (e.g. using 1 hr 30 min) will not be worth the extra marks you earn
  • Brief answers tend to be awarded very low marks (e.g. less than 6 marks); incomplete answers tend not to be in the top two bands (18 – 25 marks).

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The Critical Move – A History

What is a Critical Move? 

The critical move is a specific step you can take to make headway in your written assignment, be it in analysis or response. The critical move is scripted by your teacher, based on one of the “cool spots” in your work, and may take the form of the following:

  • Write or rewrite your introduction / conclusion
  • Analyse a new method or new evidence you didn’t previously consider
  • Analyse with a focus on the effects (you probably tried to describe or explain the text)
  • Add on or review the purpose or your discussion of concerns (you may have ended abruptly, or not linked your analysis to your ideas)

You should generally complete your critical move within 7 days of receiving your work back. Remember to write down the instruction given to you so that your tutor can understand the “destination” you are supposed to get to (see the next section).


What’s the background of this nifty idea?

Unfortunately, it isn’t mine. I adapted it from a book called Switch which is essentially a management book that is, despite the raised eyebrows that management books incur, useful and practical. The concept of the critical move could not do without the premise that we all want to become better at what we do, and we sometimes don’t know how.

The critical move is decidedly NOT a big picture statement like “Become a better writer!”, “Lose weight”!”, “Get smart!” or any other vague call to action. It is an attempt to shrink the change to something you can manage in less time. For some, it’s about changing what you eat for lunch every Monday, or adding 10 min of reading time to your schedule tomorrow. For us, it’s about reviewing a specific line or paragraph, or adding a few lines of analysis. It is also an attempt to point you to the destination. You may not have really covered the concerns, so your critical move guarantees that you’ll move one band up in the ‘Response’ column.


Wait, hang on a second, are you sure it’s that easy?

Well, of course not. The Heath brothers, the writers of Switch, tell us that it is important to motivate the “elephant”, that residual big beast of instinct in all of us. We all need to find the emotion to get started, to get better, to stare at our own work; that’s why we are dangling the carrot of additional marks to each of your CAs.

The critical move per se seeks to direct the rider – to tell the rational side of you where to go (i.e. you are definitely going to score 25/25 for all six of your answers), and to get us started on these “critical moves” so that you have a habit of relooking your work. 🙂 Enjoy the process!