N5 Critical Essays

National 5 Specimen Questions (SQA Specimen Paper)

Intermediate 2 Past Paper Poetry Questions (very similar to National 5 questions)

Intermediate 2 Past Paper Prose Questions (very similar to National 5 questions)

To see examples of critical essays click here.

  1. D Mitchell says:

    A little too late in the day for this particular request, but having just marked for English National 5 can I suggest the following approach to the 8 mark question?

    2 marks are awarded for highlighting a “commonality” between the extract and the rest of the text, (or between the poem/short story and another one by the author), relating to the question.

    2 marks are awarded for analysing something in the extract that relates to the question. (Quote + comment)

    4 marks are awarded for analysing from the rest of the text or another text/s related to the question.
    (Quote + comment)
    (Quote +comment)

    Hope this helps someone!

  2. Mr. McEnaney says:


    I’m afraid I’m not the ideal person to help with this request as my class have been studying the play ‘Bold Girls’ for their Scottish Set Text, rather than a collection of poems, so my focus has been on the questions likely to arise for that. I’ve also taught my class not to write a mini-essay, but instead to write a series of short bullet-pointed answers (you can see an example of this in the ‘Bold Girls’ material) but I wouldn’t recommend changing approach this close to the exam as I imagine that a significant amount of work has been done by your daughter’s teacher to prepare the class for answering the 8 mark question with a mini-essay. One thing I would say is that my understanding of the requirements is that pupils are required to have 4 quotations (or clear references to the text) with four accompanying explanations, rather than 8 quotations with explanations as well (although, again, this is based on my knowledge of the questions for the drama text).

    Sorry I can’t be of more help in this instance.

  3. SG says:

    Hi my daughter is sitting the english national 5 exam on wed. She is panicking about the 8 mark question in the poetry section where you need to talk about another poem with a similar theme. She has studied the Carol Ann Duffy poems. Do you have any advice as when practising she is writing a “mini essay ” which is time consuming and she seems to think you need about 4 paragraphs with 2 quotes in each. Any advice would be appreciated.

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