Writing Folio

The information below remains valid for the ‘old’ Higher which some Scottish schools are opting to do this year rather than move to the new CfE Higher (National 6).

Writing Folio

For more detailed information on the folio at Higher click on the link below.


The folio will account for 20% of the final grade with the Close Reading and Critical Essay accounting for 40% each.

At Higher two pieces must be submitted, one of a broadly creative nature, and one of a broadly discursive nature. You should look upon it as 20% that you can control. There is no logical reason to put off writing and/or submitting folio drafts until the last minute when this gives you a valuable cushion going in to the exam.

Candidates must sign a declaration that the writing pieces are their own work.

The folio is sent to the SQA for external assessment. You will be given a date in March (before the Easter holidays) for completion of the folio. You should not treat this deadline as optional. Any leeway built in by your teacher is to allow time to check for any potential problems including plagiarism, failure to adhere to word count restrictions etc.



  • a personal reflective essay
  • a piece of prose fiction (e.g. short story, episode from a novel)
  • a poem or set of thematically linked poems
  • a dramatic script (e.g. scene, monologue, sketch)


  • a persuasive essay
  • an argumentative essay
  • a report


Higher:             650 – 1300 words

A piece which falls below the minimum number of words will be awarded less than 50% of the marks available.

It is unlikely that a piece at or just above the minimum number of words will be able to score in the higher range of marks. However, a piece which exceeds the upper limit will be penalised.

The word count must include quotations but exclude titles, footnotes, lists of sources etc.


All pieces will be marked out of 25 and will be assessed using category descriptors and mark allocations similar to those introduced in 2008 for Critical Essay in Higher.

At Higher the total mark for the folio will be divided by 2 and added to the scores for Close Reading and Critical Essay.


Pieces of writing submitted for the folio should be typed, word-processed or neatly handwritten.

Margins should be of a reasonable size.

Only one side of the page should be used.

Word-processed submissions are encouraged and the following format is strongly recommended:

  • a standard font – e.g. Times New Roman, Ariel, Calibri
  • point size: 12
  • alignment: left or justified
  • margins: standard
  • print colour: black (except possibly graphs, diagrams etc in a Report)

A piece of writing submitted in the folio for external assessment can be the same as that assessed internally for Unit purposes, but does not have to be.

Project or essay work for subjects other than English may be suitable for submission in the writing Folio but only if they meet all the requirements for English in terms of length, genre, level of teacher/lecturer input, acknowledgement of sources, and authenticity. Please be aware that an essay which has scored highly in History, Modern Studies or RMPS may not automatically also score highly in English. Make sure you know what the examiners are looking for.


Acknowledgement of sources (discursive writing)

All principal sources consulted must be acknowledged. If no sources have been consulted, this must be stated explicitly.

Specific details of sources must be given – eg dates and writers of newspaper articles,specific web pages, titles and dates of publication of books; it is not acceptable to say, for example, “various newspaper articles” or ‘environmental websites” or “the internet”.

Any direct quotation from sources must be clearly acknowledged by the use of quotation marks.

Unacknowledged use of others’ material such as copying and pasting from the internet or any other source, or re-wording or summarising information from another source and passing it off as your own (other than in a formal report as defined in the Arrangements documents for English) is plagiarism, and this carries severe penalties.

Give bibliography references in the following form:

D. Gifford and D. McMillan, A History of Scottish Women’s Writing, EUP, 1997.

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