In the run-up to the first of the new AS French exams you might find this resource useful. It is a sample resource from frenchteacher.net and includes a model essay I wrote for Les 400 Coups. The mark scheme extracts are from AQA, but I daresay this would be useful for teachers working with Pearson or Eduqas. Note that this is my personal guidance, not official material from AQA.
Writing an AS-level essay on film or literature
What do the examiners want?
Essay length: for guidance - about 250 words
AQA mark scheme
Choosing the best title
Make sure you opt for the title which allows you to make the most content points with some detailed analysis.
You have over an hour to write your essay. Allow 5 minutes for planning and 5 minutes for checking. You should have time for a rough draft. The essay is not long.
5 minutes: Note down the key points you wish to make in your essay. Write them down with examples.
Make each key point stand out in separate paragraphs. Imagine the examiner looking for good content and ticking it in the margin.
You can get a high mark with 250 words, but you would be advised to write more provided it is relevant. Do not waste words on an introduction and lengthy conclusion. Use the bullet points for guidance – they are there to help you. Focus on concise and relevant content, avoid ‘telling the story’, make a point, justify it with reference to the text or film, then move on. Aim to cover a minimum of five main points. Don’t repeat yourself or include anything irrelevant. Don’t keep referring to the title – you cannot waste words.
Do a systematic check of spelling and grammar. Is it all relevant?
Make every sentence interesting, but do not waste words on learned formulae which add little to the content. The challenge is to be clear and concise.
Example essay title based on the film Les 400 Coups
Faites le portrait d’Antoine. Dans quelle mesure est-ce qu’on peut justifier son comportement ? Vous pouvez utiliser les points suivants :
· comment il est physiquement
· comment est son tempérament
· un événement important dans sa vie d’adolescent
· une scène qui illustre bien son caractère.
Phys appearance not so impt. Key: justify his behaviour? 1. Focus on family background, neglect, 2. mischievous, impulsive character, consequences of acts 3. poor education, 4. petty crime; theft of typewriter 5. Flight from detention centre