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English exams bypass Bard

Is this the worst exam question ever set about Shakespeare? Teachers of key stage 3 pupils think so.

"In Macbeth, Banquo warns Macbeth about the witches' influence. You give advice in a magazine for young people. You receive this request: 'Please advise me. I have recently moved school and made some new friends. I like spending time with them, but my form tutor thinks my work is suffering.

What should I do?' Sam.

"Write your advice to be published in the magazine."

After reading this question in a paper last week, Trevor Millum, of the National Association for the Teaching of English, said: "What has this got to do with Shakespeare?" The comment re-ignites the row over Shakespeare questions that require no knowledge of the Bard's work. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority will change the paper next year so it relates more closely to the texts.

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Is this the worst Shakespeare question you have seen?

warwick.mansell@tes.co.uk

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