Bring on the Promos



3 hours, 3 questions. Each section in the paper carries equal marks. We generally recommend you scan through all three sections once you are permitted to do so and start with the unseen. If you are flummoxed by the unseen, move onto the set texts and you can return to the unseen in a calmer state of mind. ūüėČ

  • Section A – Paper 3 Unseen, choose either (a) drama excerpt or (b) poem.
  • Section B –¬†Paper 3¬†Woman in Mind, choose one essay question from two.
  • Section C – Paper 1¬†Measure for Measure, choose either (a) essay or (b) passage-based question.

Paper 3 Unseen

You have a choice between (a) a drama excerpt or (b) a poem.¬† The¬†prompt¬†that comes after the generic “Write a critical appreciation of….” (e.g. relating it to the topic of the mind and self, presents a sense of self) will be kept predictable for you. There is no need for you to over-think this; you can analyse and discuss¬†both¬†mind and self ideas even when the question refers you to ‘a sense of self’.¬†

The expected content would be similar to CA4 and the various unseen texts we examined during lecture and tutorial. The ideas on the mind and self will reminiscent of those unseen texts but not exactly the same. 

Preparing for Paper 3 Unseen

  1. Put together your lecture and tutorial notes on Paper 3 unseen; you can include the ‘replacement lecture’ Mr Tan and I did on self-awareness. This pointer is kind of self-evident to me because I have a compulsive need to organise things. You should too because this helps you to…
  2. Read the¬†notes in sequence across two sessions. I’d recommend you read the foundational material for Terms 1-2 first, then the more advanced material for Term 3. This will help you recover the links between mind and self, the basic concepts of the projected and perceived selves, self-acceptance / self-loathing, the divided self, the relation between self and other, memory, the breakdown of a mind, complex mental states.
  3. Revise the list of poetic and drama methods if you need to. Certain methods cut across all three genres of poetry, drama and prose: tone, diction, syntax, rhythm, imagery and figurative language (i.e. metaphors, similes, personification). Point of view is slightly different: in poetry, it is down to first-person (‘I’), second-person (‘you’) or third-person; in drama, it is simply about¬†which character is speaking¬†(e.g. Bill presents a sympathetic perspective towards Susan’s condition). The terms enjambment / run-on lines, caesurae and end-stopped lines apply only to poetry. Sound devices are more relevant to poetry.
  4. Read the unseen texts¬†we used for lectures and tutorials again, identifying patterns and ‘re-analysing’ methods. Train your brain to pick out patterns of images, patterns of words you can use to analyse tone, the development / progression of a poem, the shifts, intensification and contrasts. With this practice, you create more ‘templates’ in your head, which will in turn help you prepare for any unseen text we throw at you ūüėČ
  5. Practise annotating and writing about one unseen text. We will spend a decent amount of time in Term 4 Week 2 to practise annotating an unseen text. Try to set aside one hour of your own time to do one of the practice paper questions some time after.

Woman in Mind

You have a choice between two essay options on Woman in Mind in Section B of the JC1 Promotional Examination. For the sake of exposing you to question types and arguments, one will be expository (e.g. Discuss the ways in which…) and the other argumentative (e.g. How far do you agree?).

In reality, Paper 3 single-text essay questions are expository almost all of the time (75% in specimen paper, 90% in 2017 paper on the individual and society).

The expected content for the two essay questions is unlikely to overlap greatly. Referring to the Cambridge specimen paper, one question is centred on ‚Äėa mind losing touch with reality‚Äô and the other on how ‚Äėfamily affects an individual‚Äôs identity‚Äô. Everything in the notes is going to be useful, and the questions should be familiar enough.

We are¬†unlikely¬†to repeat the exact same content and arguments from your recent CA6. Expect to selectively adapt your work. Know that you¬†cannot¬†and¬†must not¬†regurgitate blindly, thinking you are answering the question by writing vaguely about Susan’s imaginary family or her circumstances.

Preparing for Woman in Mind

  1. Review the introduction lecture¬†to guide your understanding of methods in relation to ideas on the mind and self. In particular, the table in the annex gives you a summary of the¬†key episodes¬†in the play, where Susan’s mind moves in between her imaginary and real worlds. You can read the full, original summary by Bernard¬† Dukore in the¬†Woman in Mind package¬†(click ‘Articles’).
  2. Revise the episodes we picked out in tutorials and lectures.¬† I hope you find¬†Woman in Mind¬†more manageable than¬†Woolf¬†(erm, I haven’t finished marking CA6 yet, so ‘hope’ really means ‘hope’ yah). I have tried to ‘cut down’ the text to the¬†most relevant¬†episodes, and deliberately ‘forced’ you to analyse them in group discussion and the short 5-10 minute segments during lectures. The tutorial presentations are 100% useful too, so long as you extract only the most relevant parts from the comparison between Rick and Lucy, and the presentation of Susan as a mother.
  3. Collaborate with friends to do a revision table, tracking these key episodes / methods and ideas. I’ll share a template with a couple of examples with you some time during the September break!
  4. ¬†Practise question analysis and know what each question demands of you. In the past term, we’ve recapped how to address cause and consequence questions, and also suggested that your argument can¬†follow the development / progression in the play. Identify what the key ideas and effects in the question are, and consistently address them. Heed this advice, and you should be fine.

Measure for Measure

You have a choice between (a) an essay question and (b) a passage-based question for Measure for Measure in Section C of the JC1 Promotional Examination. Both call for the same core skills of response and analysis, yet also:

  • The essay question demands that you create an overall argument and select evidence wisely. Paper 1 essay questions are about 50% expository, 50% argumentative.
  • The PBQ requires you to closely analyse the passage, after which you can make links between here and elsewhere. The question may be character, concern or method-based.


The expected content for essay and PBQ is unlikely to overlap. Referring to the practice paper, the essay question on the Duke does not overlap with the tensions between Claudio and Isabella in the PBQ. This applies to A-Level questions too. Sitting in Mr Tan’s lectures and hearing what he has covered with you in tutorials, I feel assured that you¬†should¬†be familiar with the content demanded of you.¬†

We are unlikely to repeat the same content in the same type of question from your CAs and the Mid-Year Examination. Do not expect to see ‚Äėauthority‚Äô being the focus of the essay question, even if it is still relevant. Do not expect to see ‚Äėjudgement‚Äô and Angelo being the focus of the PBQ, even if your MYE passage can be useful for the essay question.

Preparing for Measure for Measure

  1. Review your notes and re-read the text. The essay question will demand a comprehensive understanding of the entire text. The passage-based question will be set from Acts 3-5, and will require you to make references to earlier and later parts. The two tutorial presentations will not magically re-appear, but I see parts of them being useful to either the essay or passage-based question.
  2. Collaborate with friends to do a revision table on the play’s concerns. Use Mr Tan’s ‘board notes’ from the last MM lecture, which linked all of these concerns, to good effect.

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