In their third year of studying English at St. Andrews, pupils come to the end of the Broad General Education phase of their learning. The S3 course builds on the reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills pupils develop in S1 and S2, and prepares them for the challenges of the senior phase.
In S3, pupils will:
Study a variety of texts – novels, poems, films, and dramas, many of them famous classics – and analyse them in close critical depth. Pupils will become more comfortable using proper critical terminology.
Continue to expand their understanding of language and literary technique through close reading exercises.
Continue to hone their technical writing skills by practising spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
Develop their writing skills by producing imaginative, persuasive, and personal pieces of greater complexity and depth than they have before.
Build their speaking skills by preparing and delivering solo talks and participating effectively in group discussions. They will be expected to do so more independently than in S2.
Practise looking for and picking out key information from audio texts like documentaries.
What can I do to reach my full potential in S3 English?
Read widely. There's no end of research showing the positive correlation between reading regularly and academic achievement: reading's not only good because it entertains you, builds your vocabulary, increases your general knowledge, stimulates your empathy, and improves your overall mood - it also gets you better grades. If you're not a regular reader already, getting into the habit of it now will do a great deal to prepare you for your exam years.
Challenge yourself, but not by picking up a book simply because it seems old or difficult - instead, look for advanced books which you want to read. In the library, look over the senior section; next time you're in a bookshop, have a glance outside the Young Adult section; if you enjoy a film which is adapted from a novel, see if you can track down the original book.
Make sure to ask if you feel shaky about a bit of grammar or punctuation. Once you've cracked using apostrophes or quotation marks correctly, it tends to stick with you thereafter.
Use the resources available! Each English classroom at St Andrews is stocked with a class set of dictionaries.
Pay close attention to what your teacher tells you about your work. They don't leave you comprehensive formative feedback for nothing.
Keep up to speed with the news. Watching or listening to the news regularly will give you a clearer sense of the world we live in and help to build your vocabulary. Routinely reading broadsheet newspapers - The Herald, The Guardian, The Times, The Scotsman - is an extremely effective way of improving your reading skills and preparing yourself for your (impending!) senior exams.
Take care with your homework, and get it in on time. Any homework you are issued will be intended to help you cement skills or knowledge that will help you in future.
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