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The candidate was awarded 8 marks for this broadly creative piece of writing: My Tennis Identity.

Summary

The candidate has written a broadly creative piece in the form of a personal/reflective essay about their enjoyment of tennis. The piece describes different experiences linked to tennis, including training and travelling to compete, and comments on the positive impact the sport has had, more broadly, on life.

Content

The piece shows adequate attention to purpose and audience from the start. It opens with a short paragraph which summarises some of the challenges presented by commitment to tennis: long hours of training, emotional extremes when pushing yourself towards excellence and pressures of competing. The question: ‘is it worth it?’ is posed – a question the essay will go on to answer by weighing up the challenges and benefits of the sport.

The second paragraph provides an adequate account of training in Majorca. This includes comments on the unfamiliar court and playing in hot weather, with the candidate acknowledging that the ‘tough…conditions…motivated me to achieve as much as I could’. The pattern of describing challenging aspects of the sport, followed by commenting on how these challenges have had a positive impact is one followed by the candidate throughout. This approach allows the candidate to explore experiences with adequate reflection and involvement.

The essay goes on to describe the candidate’s intense training schedule throughout the year, methodically setting out the various activities involved. We are given some sense of the demands, balanced with the positives: ‘I can play all year round and keep my high level up’ despite ‘tiredness and frustration’. The candidate then lists examples of role models, focusing particularly on Maria Sharapova and citing the benefits, physical and mental, of playing against older players. There is some sense of involvement in statements such as ‘helped me to go into every match with an open mind and go for the win each time’.

There follows a brief look at the challenges of playing tennis in Scotland throughout the year outwith the central city areas: there is mention of the issues involved, rather than a clear consideration of them. One memorable competition is described in more detail, in particular a singles match where the candidate was the focus of attention. We gain an adequate sense of the candidate’s excitement and the positive impact of this experience: ‘atmosphere was incredible’, ‘felt like I was playing at the Davies Cup’, ‘boosted my confidence massively’.

The focus shifts to long-term goals held by the candidate, including a career in Majorca as a tennis coach, enjoying the lifestyle, as well as the community of Spanish local people and coaches. There is humorous acknowledgement that fair skin might be a drawback: ‘a large part of my wages would go towards sun cream’ – again, an adequate sense of personality coming through.

The essay concludes with a summary of the positives of tennis, in terms of valuable memories, present experiences and aims for the future. This is a methodical and straightforward explanation which covers various points previously made and highlights playing in front of young players as an ‘unbelievable feeling’. The candidate states: ‘I feel Tennis has made me the person I am today’. We see again the adequate reflection which has characterized the piece throughout.

Style

In terms of style, the piece demonstrates adequate expression and structure. Throughout, the candidate describes and comments on experiences using appropriate and straightforward vocabulary to communicate with the reader, for example, ‘my motivation and dedication led on to greater things’, ‘even if they do get on my nerves sometimes’ and ‘this really inspired me to work towards my goal as this may be my future’. The essay is structured in paragraphs which each deal with a separate aspect of the tennis experience. Topics are introduced and linked together in an adequate way.

Overall

This piece is placed in the 9-7 mark range. The candidate explores feelings and experiences with an adequate sense of reflection and involvement. An adequate sense of the writer’s personality comes across – we are given indications of commitment, determination and a sense of humour. The essay is described fully by the statements in the 9-7 mark range. For this reason, the piece was awarded 8 marks.