Nzqa Scholarship

Hi there,
Does anyone have any advice for nzqa scholarship biology, English, art history, or classics? Particularly in raising scholarship answers to outstanding? Thank you!

1 Replies


Hi there!

I can talk to scholarship English - I took the exam in 2016 and got a 23/24 (I missed out one mark in the unfamiliar text section) and can give a few pointers to improving your grade to the outstanding scholarship level.

An important unique aspect of Scholarship English exams is that it is split into 3 sections/question types, each of which require different approaches as to how you answer them. As you probably know, these are split into: 1. Unfamiliar texts; 2. Genre specific; and 3. General. Each of these are designed to assess different aspects of your English literature, and as such you need to design your answers to address what the examiners are looking for. However, what separates a Scholarship exam to an Outstanding is how you simultaneously display these niches of knowledge while integrating a greater overall appreciation of English Literature as a medium of communication and art.

In section 1 (Unfamiliar texts), you are asked to compare two completely new texts with seemingly little else to go off. It is crucial that in these questions, you display the ability to use close technical literary analysis of both texts. In section 2, you are given the opportunity to answer a question that relates to a genre of your choice. Here, you must show strong knowledge of the tropes and literary techniques of that genre.

What a lot of people miss, however, is relating these responses to wider implications of the literary medium. For instance, in section 1, you might be given a poem and a piece of prose that cover the same/a similar topic. Scholarship answers will be able to closely analyse each text and make comparisons between the two in regard to their overall message. Outstanding answers will delve deeper and address the questions that haven’t been directly asked on the page - why did the author choose this particular medium (poetry/prose)? How is the message of a particular text limited by its medium? What aspects of the overall message are given deeper implications by choosing one medium over another?

Equally, in section 2, Outstanding scripts will address the wider implications that a particular genre of literature has on its audience. How does the use of soliloquy in Shakespeare create a unique audience experience? How does it allow an audience to see into an aspect of character that might not be accessible in film or other genres/medium? How has it impacted the way that we consume Shakespeare? Even further - how does studying Shakespeare differ from actually watching a live performance?

To briefly address section 3 - here you are given the opportunity to take any text from any literary medium and answer a rather open-ended question of your choice. Here, it is equally important to address and explore the deeper questions we ask ourselves when consuming literature. Choose a variety of contrasting texts that explore different aspects of literature. (In my exam, I wrote on Hemingway, Baxter, Sondheim and even Rick and Morty!) As with earlier sections, continue to ask yourself the questions that haven’t been written for you - those which tackle the deeper implications of English literature as an art form.

I hope that this helps!

  • Nick Curry
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