Textual Analysis

Writing Unseen Commentaries

A Student Help Book

ISBN 0-9580058-1-8

Teaching Copy : US$14.95

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Student Edition : US$14.95

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'I would just like to thank you for your Unseen Commentaries book which is so useful for English A students. There are the Cambridge and Oxford Companions - as well as Pearson and possibly others - but your resource gives such a systemtatic coverage with such practical help for students and teachers alike.' From our Commendations section

 'This self-help workbook is designed to help students learn to write ‘unseen commentaries’ – a British term for external-examination responses based on short passages that may be unfamiliar, with or without guiding questions. The format is flexible: students may work at their own pace to develop analytical skills or use the book as a last-minute forum for sharpening them for the AP Exam.' From an AP Central Teachers’ Resources Review

'Through Writing Unseen Commentaries, I have improved my writing, essay structure and my analytical precision...I would like to thank you all (however many of you there may be) for such a great resource.' A Grade 12 student, from our Commendations section


The prices above are for single copy purchase of the printable edition. We have now introduced a sliding discount scale for multiple purchase (5% for each increase in the number ordered, up to a maximum of 45% for 10 or more copies). The discounted amount payable will automatically show when you have viewed your shopping basket and updated the number of copies as necessary.

Site Licence

We have also halved the cost of our very popular Site Licence, allowing two-year, on-screen-only access to teachers and students at a considerable saving - a valuable option in a distance learning situation.

'I have used the WordSmith site licence extensively in the delivery and the revision of my Diploma courses, and have experienced excellent returns. The nature of the licence, and of the texts themselves, is such that together they provide the flexibility of working individually, in whole groups or in small groups, depending on the nature of the task.' (From our Commendations section.)

Click here: 'Site Licence Application' for more information.     

TEACHING COPY vs STUDENT EDITION: The Teaching Copy has suggested responses to the study tasks built into the text, whereas the Student Edition carries them in a separate Answers Booklet at the endof the resource, so that teachers may withold them if they wish, or dispense them on an ongoing basis.      

Contents and Sample Section: see the foot of the page.


'Writing Unseen Commentaries'

                                                  THIRD EDITION

The Third Edition of the resource focuses on the close textual analysis of poems and short passages of literary prose, and provides a full two-year course to support senior students in their preparation for external literature examinations.

Students working from a print copy of the resource will be able to enter their responses in the working spaces (or in a separate workbook) by hand. Those working on-screen will be able to add them by means of either a text tool or sticky notes, depending on what pdf programme they have used to access the file.


This resource will give you a clear framework within which you can organise your textual analysis teaching. It provides what amount to two years' worth of one-lesson teaching units, and you could if you wished teach 'straight from the book'. It will also be a major resource for students who want to do independent study, beyond what you yourself have time to offer in class.

Access to the study guide can be either by full purchase (as above) or through a WordSmith Site Licence. Click on the 'Site Licence Application' button at the foot of the page if you have an interest in giving students on-screen-only access to the resource at reduced cost.


How 'Writing Unseen Commentaries' will help you

If you are an International Baccalaureate student following the Language A (English) Literature course, the Help Book will be invaluable to you as you prepare for the important Literary Analysis or Literary Commentary part of the final written exam. It makes use of many passages from past IB exam papers, and will give you the opportunity to look in depth (with lots of assistance) at some of the entertaining (and trickier) pieces of writing IB candidates have had to deal with in previous exams.

If you are preparing for Advanced Placement exams the book will help you develop the skills of close rhetorical analysis in preparation for both the Multiple-Choice and Free-Response parts of the examination. Work on each passage leads towards an AP-style essay question.

If you are a GCE A Level student the study guide will give you structured practice in writing commentaries on poems and prose passages you may not have seen before. It will help you with your course work and also with commentary and essay questions in the written exam.

Whichever course you are following, the guide will extend your reading and critical skills so that you can more easily understand and make judgements about all the texts you are studying.


If you are an undergraduate student or a general reader you will find that the book looks at a wide variety of engaging poems and prose extracts in a refreshingly different way, and will lead you to new insights into how writing 'works'.

Whatever your particular needs, there is an added bonus. Writing Unseen Commentaries provides a system for organising your thinking and writing about literature of all kinds, whether you're analysing brief extracts or studying whole texts.


                                SAMPLE SECTION: SEE BELOW 


Click on Sample Section if you wish to preview the resource.


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