IOC advice

STRUCTURE - You need to sound prepared. Linear structure is what people who donʼt really know what theyʼre doing, people who donʼt know HOW to prepare, immediately reach for. Force yourself to go beyond a linear structure - you wouldnʼt do it in an essay, so donʼt do it here. SPECSLIMS is designed expressly in order to get you to organise your thoughts in a more sophisticated way. Linear structure is also REALLY boring to listen to. It is most definitely a last resort. Introduce your structure and keep referring to it. It helps us to understand what you are talking about. And itʼs an easy way to get marks. Make it meaningful; give some broad headings that you will address IN THE ORDER that you will address them in. Most students lose most marks here. Start with CONTEXT. Historical, literary, personal, whatever ʻbig issuesʼ are relevant. Keep referring to it throughout when it is relevant, but secure most of those marks at the start. It just makes sense to do it first. The most important context of all is the wider text, whatever that may be. You MUST make reference to the rest of the novel, play or poetʼs work. LANGUAGE - NO slang or casual speech is appropriate. Tags like ʻOkʼ or ʻSo...ʼ or ʻAlrighty then...ʼ are not good. Ungrammatical sentences likewise. Again, try to make it as formal as possible. This is also where you get marks for using literary terminology. Think like this - if one of your sentences doesnʼt have literary terminology in it - what is it doing in a literary analysis? What is being analysed? Treat it like a spoken essay. No rhetorical questions. No direct address to the reader. Quotation - your IOC should be packed full of SHORT relevant quotations. Long quotations make you sound like you donʼt really know what you are talking about (because, usually, you donʼt if youʼre just reading out huge chunks of text.) And what are those quotes FOR? They are not to prove that what you say is true - they are supposed to be to facilitate your discussion of language. So, when you quote, your default is to then comment on the language in that quote. INTERPRETATION AND PERSONAL RESPONSE - Do you actually analyse anything or are you just asserting what the text ʻmeansʼ? Listen to one of your own IOCs. How many literary points do you actually make? Is there a sense of a personal response? Is there enthusiasm, engagement in what you are doing? Or do you sound bored, uncertain and generally miserable? Think about the impression you want to create; then about how to create it. If youʼre going to mention theories or critical opinions, try to make sure that you actually have a reason for mentioning it; that is, that you understand it yourself. Nobody is that impressed by simple memorisation of names and terms (though you need to do that too!). At worst, a lot of unstructured, unfocused waffle about mirrors and lamps is going to lose the listener and thus lose marks. Sticking to time limits IS part of the assessment. If youʼre at 11.30, then STOP and START CONCLUDING! No matter what you are saying, itʼs not as important as getting that conclusion in. No waffle. If you say that the Ode has a unique structure, say what the structure is. Know your stuff, then show that you know it.

IOC advice

Know the texts. Put the poems on your ipod (loads of free versions available.) Watch the videos of the plays. Read the novels. Use a common sense structure. Iʼd be thinking of Context, genre, subject matter, structure, theme, style; basically, from general points to very specific points. Then there is a reason for moving from one thing to another.

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