AQA new specification · English · For Pupils

Y10 exam revision paper 2 question 2


This is the comparing and synthesising question. Remember that there is another comparison question on question 4, so we need to make sure we know what we need to do in each of them.

Question 2 is really comparing details about content – don’t worry about the language effects, methods and all that other stuff (leave that for question 4). The question I’ve set is a standard one.


Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 18.14.01

The question we’ve been working with ask you to compare DIFFERENCES. However, future exam questions might ask you to look for SIMILARITIES – be prepared for any eventuality.

To help you prepare for this question, read the two sources then have a go at completing a grid – here’s one I did as an example

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 18.09.20Like I said, it’s important not to get bogged down with language for question 2. You’re only interested in concrete details from the text. (I’ve tried in my grid not to include language features for this reason – if you spot any, tell me!)

So what can you put in the differences column? Think about what the two texts say about the people: source A sees the workers as busy, noisy: they know their places and respond to orders quickly and efficiently. This shows that they are well-drilled and disciplined and suggests that they are part of a well-oiled machine ; however in source B the prisoners are unwashed, unhygienic suggesting that they have lost their self-respect or dignity. Can we draw any inferences between the TIME of the two descriptions? 19th century prisoners performed a function, perhaps work was part of their punishment and part of their rehabilitation.

The next thing is to show students how to write the comparison. Here are a few guidelines taken from AQA’s Further Insights Teaching Synthesis document:

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 17.58.27And here are a couple of examples that show you how to write:


Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 17.58.39Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 18.09.29

So notice that I’ve tried not to mention ‘the writer’ (instead I’ve talked about the source) – this will stop me  being tempted to talk about authorial intent and language. There are some quotes and there is some inference, but I’ve also tried to summarise key ideas from the two texts. And notice my comparisons.

Jumping forward a little, question 4 of this paper also asks you to compare but it asks you to compare VIEWPOINTS, ATTITUDES and this will require you to talk about language, methods, author’s ideas etc. Here’s an example of how to write for Q4

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 18.09.41

Can you see how here I’ve tried to use language features; I’ve also used ‘the writer’ or even the writer’s name to prompt me to talk about methods.

Here are Q2 and Q4 responses side by side to make it clear:

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 17.58.49

Okay – now have a go at a question paper here: 

And you can jump to some question 3 activities here.

3 thoughts on “Y10 exam revision paper 2 question 2

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