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Paper 4
The Continuous Writing
Paper
Key issues, using the mark scheme
and suggested strategies
The Continuous Writing Paper
• 2 pieces of writing in 75 minutes, 110-140 words in
length
• 25 marks available per question
• Communication – 5 marks (20%) points must be in
correct tense
• Quality of Language – 15 marks (60%)
• General Impression – 5 marks (20%) dictated by
Language mark
Tot
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
25
17
13
9
7
5
3
1
Question 1 types
•
"Point of view" questions
– Describe something e.g. your school / region etc.
– Give and justify your opinion about it
– Talk about the advantages / disadvantages
– Say whether you are for or against it
•
This could be in the form of…
– A letter to a friend (informal)
– A letter to a French school or family (e.g. about an exchange)
– A letter to a magazine or newspaper
– An article
•
Text type features counted for language marks
e.g. letter openings / endings
Could affect General Impression mark
•
Question 1 types
• Specific letters
– Job applications (explain why you want the job, why
you are capable & when you are free)
– Formal letters to hotels
• Letters of complaint e.g. about a stay in a hotel)
• Letters explaining you have left something at the
hotel
– Persuasive letters (e.g. persuade a family to visit you
by giving information about your house, region, climate
and what you need to bring)
– Explanatory letters (e.g. a family is coming to visit you
and you need to change the dates of the visit because
you have had an accident)
Question 2s
• Always requires the use of past tenses
• Description of past events (have to describe at least 3 things
that happened using accurate grammar to get communication
marks)
• Describe someone else’s reactions e.g. « my parents were
surprised »
• Describe your reactions / whether you liked / disliked
something
Key features of mark
scheme
• 140 words max
• If the task is a letter, addresses and dates do not count towards the
total word count.
• The definition of a word is “a group of letters surrounded by a
space”
• A group of letters containing a hyphen or apostrophe is regarded
as one word.
–
–
–
–
–
L’homme = one word
La dame = two words
Qu’est-ce que c’est = three word
Il y a = three words
Y a-t-il…? = two words
• All numbers count as one word whether written as figures or words
– 21 = one word
– Vingt et un = one word
•
Key features of mark
Marking units
scheme
–
–
–
–
–
Verbs
Noun + adjective
Noun + preposition
Adverbs
Conjunctions
• Zero marks for
– Nouns (but do get mark if possessive is used)
– Très, bien, et, mais
– Faulty gender & agreement
• Tolerances
– Use of accents (except -er in perfect tense) hyphens and punctuation
– Accept declared gender (not name on front)
• Lots of moderation essential…
• Top 10 common mistakes
• Top 15 features to include
Suggestions for improving
continuous writing skills
• Languages online
– Year 10 spelling improvement programme
– GCSE silly mistakes from essays
– Verb busters
• Intensive translation work using mini-whiteboards
• Encourage lower ability students to stick to basic structures
(e.g. regular -ER verbs in perfect tense) and learn “bonus
phrases”
• IGCSE style tasks in formal assessments from Year 7
• “Correct the mistakes” exercises
• Peer marking focusing on 1-2 elements from mark scheme
• Lots of practice papers and log sheet for mistakes (with
tallies)