In your Year 12 exam, Section C states: “Write an analysis of the ways in which argument and written and visual language are used in the material on pages 12 and 13 to try to persuade others to share the points of view presented.”
I am seeing a lot of average, decent and reasonable responses in this Area, which will earn a 7 or 7.5 out of 10.
So how can you improve?
The teachers might say “more purpose”; more “depth”; better “structure”. But what does this mean?
I’m finding that you need to do each component more sharply in order to achieve a “better purpose” or a better analysis of the author’s persuasive intentions.
Points of view: Make sure that you are clear with regards to the author’s “point of view” which is both the start and and the end point of your analysis. Do not describe, illustrate or summarise, ie. “the author opens with an anecdote regarding … to build credibility, or to create sympathy.” An anecdote supports a viewpoint so make sure you link the two. (In an exam you might have to hunt for the viewpoint; it may not leap out in a nice, neat order. But if you don’t find it, you’ll be summarising.)
“Argument”: many regard “argument” as interchangeable with a “point of view”. However, smart students will also recognise that an “argument” is about how a point of view has been constructed or put together, ie. upon what evidence or what techniques does the author base, and develop, their views? If you can do this succinctly, and deftly, you’ll earn marks. (Don’t make a meal of it. (Consider its purpose.)
“Written” language: to distinguish “written” from the above (ie “argument”), I interpret it as “word level” analysis. You must group clusters of words together that have deeper, nuanced, subtle/figurative/ambiguous extra meanings. Keep digging. You must add, not just repeat the above. You must try to uncover and analyse something decent/special. (Also make sure you use metalanguage so as to avoid the trap of summarising.) (Don’t try to cover everything; you’ll cover nothing. Be strategic and selective.)
“Visual” language: make sure you leave sufficient space to analyse “visuals”: graphic imagery, cartoons, photographs etc. Visual language requires analysis; it is harder to summarise with visuals.
Comparative elements: if there are multiple texts, make sure you compare the viewpoints and purpose. (Make simple, but effective cross-references.)
Setting standards: for your final study purposes, please refer to these suggested responses Also My Suggested Responses to past VCAA Exams. and our Study Program: for Arguments/Persuasive Language Study Program .