Wenn du die folgenden Tipps für deine Schüler verändern / anpassen möchtest, kannst du dir das Handout (doc) herunterladen.
First reading: During the first reading you should try to get an overview of the text and its (argumentative) structure. You should ask yourself questions like: What is it all about? How is the text structured? What is the writer’s attitude towards his topic? Is he serious or rather ironic / satirical? What are his main arguments? Analyse especially the first (= topic) sentence of each paragraph and mentally summarize each paragraph in your own words. During the first reading you should look up only words that are absolutely necessary for understanding the whole text. Ignore all other words like e.g. descriptive (beschreibend) adjectives.
Second reading: During the second reading you should try to understand also passages/details that you did not really grasp (erfassen) the first time. In addition you should look up ALL the words you do not know or where you are not absolutely sure what they mean in the given context.
Analysis: The next step is to read ALL the questions at least TWICE. Then you examine which paragraph(s) or passage(s) each question refers to. Analyse ALL the questions first before you start answering any of them. Normally you can assume (davon ausgehen) that questions are asked in chronological order, i.e. the first question refers to the first (or the first two) paragraph(s), the second question to the following paragraph(s) etc. That is why it would be rather unusual if the third question refers to the first two paragraphs, whereas the first question refers to the third and fourth paragraph. Look out especially for keywords in the first sentence of a paragraph (= topic sentence).
Overlapping: Questions normally do not overlap (sich überschneiden). Look and think again carefully when you have come to the conclusion that you are supposed to write the same in two different answers. It may happen that two questions refer to the same passage(s) but almost always they drive at (abzielen auf) different aspects.
Notes: Note your results either on extra note-paper or use e.g. a wavy line in the margin together with the corresponding number of the question. Take care to leave enough space on your note-paper so that you can easily add something later on.
Highlighting: Keep in mind that you cannot undo (rückgängig machen) wrong highlighting. Highlight only key words and/or passages, do not waste precious time by highlighting complete paragraphs.
Quoting vs. paraphrasing: Keep in mind that you are supposed to “use your own words as far as is appropriate” (angemessen), and NOT “as far as possible”. That means that you may, and sometimes even should quote key words and/or passages. Moreover you should quote when your paraphrase would be much longer and/or complicated than the original passage. Try to find German synonyms or paraphrases and see whether you can translate them into English. Do not forget that your monolingual dictionary often offers perfect synonyms and/or paraphrases.
Mental revision: Before you start writing your answer you should make a quick mental revision of my Questions on the Text rules.
Stylistic Devices: Typically a question asks you to find three “relevant” stylistic devices and “explain how they work”. Look through the whole text and note your results grouped according to the different devices on your note-paper. The four most common devices are simile, metaphor, personification and alliteration. Go through your list and choose the three best devices. When you have found e.g. several metaphors you again choose the best one. Stylistic devices are “relevant” or “good” when they occur (vorkommen) not just once in a text and when it is clear that the author has deliberately (absichtlich) used them, i.e. for instance when an alliteration is not just accidental (zufällig).