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SQA National 5 English: An expert guide to National 5 RUAE

Note: the techniques and approaches listed are not exhaustive and definitive. Rather, they are based on analysis of the last 7 years of SQA RUAE N5 past papers and are only suggestions.


Before Beginning the Questions:

Before you begin the passage, always ask yourself two questions:

· what is the passage about?

· How does the writer feel about the subject?

The answer to the first question helps you with context, whilst the answer to the second question will help you identify the types of words, sentence structure, images and tone the writer will use. The italics before the passage will often offer a guide to these questions but do not always offer definitive answers.


Types of question

GOLDEN RULE. FIND WORDS FROM THE QUESTION IN THE PASSAGE. LOOK AROUND THEM AND YOU WILL OFTEN BE GIVEN THE ANSWER.


Understanding Questions

For the most part, these questions involve putting information into YOUR OWN WORDS. For a number of years this has been signposted in the question with the words, ‘use your own words in your answer.’

Your basic approach to doing this should be:

· Find the information

· Highlight it

· Put it in your own words


How do I put things into my own words?

There are a number of strategies for this:

· Substitute one word for another

· Substitute a phrase for a word

· Ask yourself: what idea is the writer communicating?

· Interpret/ quantify numbers and dates. This is something that candidates often fail to do but it is quite simple. For example, 1920 becomes over 100 years ago and 140, 000 000 becomes an enormous number.


Context Questions - rare

These are usually worth 2 marks. You should say what the word means(1) and how you know this form surrounding words(1). For the second mark, quote and say how these words helped you understand.


Example: