Writing to Describe, Inform or Explain

PAPER 2: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Section B: Spend approximately 45 minutes
You must write a piece of text based on one of four titles given. The piece of writing will be to either describe, inform or explain.

What will I be assessed on?

The questions you will be asked are different each year, however they are always designed to fulfil the assessment objectives laid out by the AQA exam board.

Based of the AQA mark schemes the assessment objectives for this Section are to:

(i) communicate clearly and imaginatively, using and adapting forms for different readers and purposes
You must be aware of the different techniques used in different styles of writing and must be able to adapt these styles to suit different audiences. These are covered in more detail in each section. You must also be able put these ideas across clearly and most importantly imaginatively.

(ii) organise ideas into sentences, paragraphs and whole texts using a variety of linguistic and
structural features
To meet this criteria you must be able to write in paragraphs using different and varied sentence structures. These will obviously include complex, compound and simple sentences and should be used to maximum effect.

(iii) use a range of sentence structures effectively with accurate punctuation and spelling
In this section of the examination you will be given marks for correct spelling and punctuation. It is therefore vital that you can spell key words and phrases and are able to use complex punctuation correctly.

Writing: An Introduction

The Mark Scheme

Let’s begin by taking a look at the mark scheme used when marking a question on either writing to persuade, argue or advise. One of the first things you’ll notice is this is the exact same mark scheme used for the other writing section and there are also two boxes. The first box focuses on the content of you piece of writing whilst the second focuses on your spelling and accuracy.

Writing marks
1-2 marks Some meaning;Simple ideas.

3-4 marks Some meaning with a sense of purpose and audience; Simple sequencing of ideas.

5-6 marks Communication of ideas with more sense of purpose and audience; Some organisational devices with conscious selection of words.

7-8 marks Awareness of purpose and audience; Organised sentences into paragraphs with some attempt to use vocabulary for effect.

9-10 marks Attempt to suit the needs of purpose and audience and begins to engage readers
response; Clear, paragraphing with more conscious use of vocabulary for effect.

11-12 marks Clear identification with purpose and audience; begins to sustain readers response;
Paragraphing and clear selection of vocabulary for effect.

13-14 marks Presentation, content and style are generally matched to purpose and audience;
Well structured, starting to use paragraphs to enhance meaning and with increasingly sophisticated vocabulary choices.

15-16 marks Presentation, content and style are consistently matched to purpose and audience;
Evidence of conscious crafting in terms of sentence structures, vocabulary and paragraphing.

17-18 marks Presentation, content and style are matched to purpose and audience;
consistently effective; Crafted and highly effective vocabulary choices.

Grammar, punctuation and sentence structure marks

1 marks Some sentences; Some accuracy in spelling of simple words; Punctuates.

2-3 marks In sentences; Generally accurate basic spelling; Some generally accurate punctuation other than just full stops.

4-5 marks Uses a range of sentence structure; Some accurate spelling of more complex words;
Starts to use a range of punctuation.

6-7 marks Uses sentence forms for effect; Secure in spelling; Secure in punctuation.

8-9 marks Uses full range of sentence structures; High level of accuracy in spelling; High level of accuracy in punctuation.

General Tips!

How long?
It is also a good idea when in the exam to make your writing about 500 words long. For most people this is about two sides of A4, however if you have larger handwriting an easy way to check is to count the number of words on a line and then multiply this by the number of lines you have written.

Remember you’re given marks for spelling punctuation and grammar so why not try using the non-fiction media text given to you in the exam as a dictionary, but remember that should be a last resort! If you can’t spell a word another good thing to try is to just use another word that has the same meaning. However, don’t be put off using more complex words just because you can’t spell them – it’s better to use more complex words and spell them incorrectly than it is to just use simple vocabulary throughout.

Don’t forget to write in the right form, i.e. if it asks you to write a letter do so. Check the General Writing Techniques section for more details on how to do this.


Checklist of things to do:

1. Know who your purpose and audience are and ensure your writing matches this, so if it’s a letter to the mayor don’t start calling him ‘dude’!
2. Use varied punctuation and sentence styles; you’re probably best trying to do this near the beginning of your essay to get it out of the way.
3. Stick a load of complex vocabulary in (as long as it makes sense!)
4. Don’t forget paragraphs