How to Prepare for English Exam Paper 2

Heike Verhoef - 22 Jan 22

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug

“Language is a tool for thought and communication. It is also a cultural and aesthetic means commonly shared among people to make better sense of the world they live in. Learning to use language effectively enables learners to acquire knowledge, to express their identity, feelings and ideas, to interact with others, and to manage their world. It also provides learners with a rich, powerful and deeply rooted set of images and ideas that can be used to make their world other than it is; better and clearer than it is. It is through language that cultural diversity and social relations are expressed and constructed, and it is through language that such constructions can be altered, broadened and refined.” DBE NSC for English pg. 8

In South Africa, English is used in media and advertising, in education, law, commerce and government and so it follows that English education in South Africa is vitally important. Many learners in the country take English as a subject in school. If English is not the language of instruction, or if it is not a learner's first language they often get to choose between English First Additional Language or English Home Language. Home Language learners focus more on the literary elements of the language as it is assumed that the foundations and skills that First Additional learners focus on is mastered in the Home Language course.

When exam time is upon the matric learners of South Africa the question might arise “how do I prepare for English paper 2?”. In paper 2 the exam focuses on answering questions and essay questions relating to literature. Learners might consider getting extra classes for English as the sheer number of poems, novels and dramas they have to work through can seem overwhelming. If this is the case, dorKk is your answer. In addition to the prescribed novel and drama, English Home Language Grade 12 learners need to prepare the following twelve prescribed poems.

  • Remember by Christina Rossetti
  • First Day After the War by Mazisi Kunene
  • The Zulu Girl by Roy Campbell
  • Motho ke Motho ka Batho Babang by Jeremy Cronin
  • Funeral Blues by Wystan H. Auden
  • A Hard Frost by Cecil Day-Lewis
  • An African Thunderstorm by David Rubadiri
  • An African Elegy by Ben Okri
  • somewhere i have never travelled by Edward E. Cummings
  • The Garden of Love by William Blake
  • Felix Randal by Gerard M. Hopkins
  • Vultures by Chinua Achebe

That is why dorKk and the remarkable English teacher Dina Malan developed online extra lessons that take you through each of these poems to ensure your success in English Paper 2. Dina Malan taught at Hoërskool Randburg for 19 years as an English teacher before she joined dorKk. At dorKk she developed the entire grade 10 to 12 extra class course that covers everything learners need to know about English as a subject as outlined by the CAPS curriculum. With her expertise and years of experience poured into online extra classes, South African high school learners have access to high-quality education for one low fee per month. dorKk allows you to cancel your subscription at any time. And the best part is – for that affordable subscription fee monthly you get access to ALL THE GRADES and ALL THE SUBJECTS available on the platform.

To help matric students write their final exams Mrs Malan recorded a two-part revision lesson on each poem in which she focuses on what students can expect in the final examination. (that’s 24 lessons in total that can help you effectively prepare for your English Paper 2 exam). In analysing literary works, learners need to consider meaning, both literal and figurative, mood, theme, message, imagery and the use of figures of speech. Mrs Malan does this best! In addition to her revision videos, she refers students to relevant lessons available on the dorKk platform that will enrich a learner’s understanding of the poems and assist in answering the questions with confidence – ensuring that all matrics have the chance to ace their English exam.

Learners are also required to answer questions based on an "unseen poem" in their exams. Here they have to utilise the skills they have acquired throughout the year to analyse poetry. Mrs Malan has a lesson dedicated to this on the dorKk platform titled "Analysing an Unseen Poem". She also developed a module to assist learners in answering the Paper 2 examination. She breaks down where marks are allocated and how to interpret questions. These resources are valuable for any learner that want to prepare for exams effectively and shoot for that distinction.

According to the Department of Basic Education, the aims of learning languages goes beyond just the acquisition of language skills required for academic learning. Education in your home language or a second language teaches you how to listen, speak, read and write a language with confidence and enjoyment. “These skills and attitudes form the basis for life-long learning”. So, take your languages seriously in school! Own the ability to express and justify your own ideas, views and emotions boldly and become an independent and analytical thinker.

English in particular is a global language and often the preferred language of instruction in institutions of higher education as well as business. A proper understanding of the language you need to speak and write so often enables you to access and manage information for learning in a wide range of contexts. “Information literacy is a vital skill in the ‘information age’ and forms the basis for life-long learning.” If you want a leg up in your English skills in school, dorKk can help! Level up your ability to think critically and creatively and learn to effectively express your opinions with online extra lessons for English that you can watch any time and as many times as you need – and in the process make sure you ace that final exam!

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