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Maximising success in your N5 or Higher English folio

Kenny, our Subject Leader at Saturday School has put together this brilliant blog to help and support Higher and National 5 English students with their all-important folio. We hope you find it useful!

As I am sure you will know, the folio is of huge importance, it accounts for 30 percent of your final award. Consequently, it can help to compensate for any deficiencies you may have elsewhere. Indeed, a score of 24 in your folio would allow you to “scrape” a pass in the RUAE and Critical Reading papers and still receive a B as your final grade; it would also allow you to score (just) underneath 70 percent for every other element and still receive an A!

This year (2021/22), you will only have to submit one folio piece. It will be scored out of 15 and then doubled. As a result, it would be wise to spend some time considering where your strengths lie and focus on channelling them towards the type of writing that will secure you the best mark, regardless of whether your teacher forces you to write two or not.

Broadly Creative

This refers to:

Personal/ reflective

This involves looking at an event(s) or experience(s) in your life and/ or an aspect of your personality and/ or an aspect of your life that is of huge importance.

Choosing your topic:

A timeline of the major events in your life - making sure you only list things of which you have a vivid memory.

A mind map of all the main relationships in your life and your interests.

A mind map of your personality- introvert, extrovert, shy etc.


Once you have your topic, the next thing you need is a theme. A theme is, ‘THE BIGGER PICTURE,’ the part of human existence you are going to write about. Examples would be bullying, change, love, relationships, death, pressure, confidence. You should talk about theme in a general sense by using the word we.


Feelings should be explored on 3 levels:

Stated: ‘I felt…’

Explained/ explored: ‘I felt…because…’

Compared: ‘while most people would feel… I …’


I have found the “We I We” structure to be highly effective. This involves the following: