There is no single correct way to write Paper 2. However there are several good ways to structure the essay. Before you begin to write your essay, take 10-15 minutes to outline the main ideas. This is a good idea for several reasons:
We use outlines to prevent 'after thoughts' from creeping into the essay. Examiners find it difficult to read scripts that include, boxes, arrows and symbols that attempt to insert text that was written as an after thought. Once you see an overview of your ideas, you can move them around more easily.
We use outlines to ensure that all the criteria are met, all works are explored equally and ideas appear in the logical order.
A good outline can save you time for the reasons mentioned above.
On this page we have included three possible outlines for the Paper 2 essay. In brief you will see the 'comparative approach', the 'criterion-by-criterion' approach, and the 'work-by-work' approach. The outlines have been filled in to show how one exam question can be approached three different ways. The exam question (taken from the English A Specimen Papers on the OCC) is:
"Analyse how justice is represented and understood in at least two works studied."
In the sample outlines, this question has been answered with regards to Fiela's Child by Dalene Mathee (1985) and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003).
The comparative approach
The Language A: Language and Literature guide does not specify that students must compare and contrast literary texts in their Paper 2 exam. Having said this, there is an advantage to taking the comparative approach. It will increase your level of analysis. If your Part 3 works do not have anything in common then you should probably not take this approach. Here is an outline of an essay that compares and contrasts two works.
A3 handout Paper 2 outline comparative approach - blank (for you to fill in using the works that you have studied in class for Part 3).
The text-by-text approach
The text-by-text approach implies that you do not have to compare and contrast works within each body paragraph. This is a perfectly fine approach. Having said this, bear in mind that it also comes with its pitfalls. For example tackling three works, as is done in the sample below, may be over ambitious. This method is good if your works are not thematically connected.
A3 handout Paper 2 outline of text-by-text approach - blank (for you to fill in using the works that you have studied in class for Part 3).
The criterion-by-criterion approach
Depending on the quesiton, you may want to take a criterion-by-criterion approach, meaning that you answer the question (Criterion B), comment on the importance of context (Criterion A) and the authors' use of language (Criterion C). This approach has its advantages and disadvantages. You may find yourself writing to meet the exam requirements. Like the comparative approach, you will find this method also presents the opportunity to compare and contrast within each paragraph.
A3 handout Paper 2 outline criterion-by-criterion approach - blank (for you to fill in using the works that you have studied in class for Part 3).