GCSE English Language Revision Postcard 37: Information Retrieval Task

Yesterday my GCSE English retake class did their mock exam. I’m nearly done marking them already – I was genuinely excited to see what progress they had made and also to find out what I needed to give them individualised help with. It turns out paraphrasing is something for focus. 

In the information retrieval section of section A, questions 1a, 1b and 2, many of them suffered the strain of using the same words to make their point as they then used in the supporting quote from the article. Only one student shone out with the inference skills that are key here. 

To paraphrase well (put something in your own words) you need to infer what you are being told, synthesise and summarise. But that does take a bit of mental effort. It’s only by getting over laziness and practising thinking skills required that will help. 

An example to work with: 

“A man (or woman) comes home from work, takes off their dirty overalls and muddy boots, leaving them at the door. The smell of cow manure is overwhelming.”

If I asked you what the subject did for a living, I doubt you’d say they worked in an office. You’ve used inference skills to probably deduce they work on a farm or with animals. Maybe they are a farmer, farm hand or a vet. 

Read. Focus. Think. Understand. 


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