IGCSE English Language Tips

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Question 2

focus on the question carefully to ensure that all choices offered are relevant

re-read the paragraphs before making final selections in each

● choose a range of words and phrases that seem powerful.

● do not offer long quotations, or lists of shorter quotations, with a general comment

● remember to identify choices clearly using quotation marks

avoid just repeating the same explanation – if there is a pattern, consider how each choice adds to it exactly

● avoid repeating the language of the choice in the explanation

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Question 2

● if unsure of effect, try to at least give the meaning in context for each of your choices

● do more than just spot literary devices or techniques- explain how examples found are working in context

● to explain effects, consider the layers of meaning words can have

● include images from each paragraph, and try to explain them.

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Question 1

● read the details of the question carefully to determine its voice, style and purpose

● select the most appropriate ideas from the passage and modify to suit the task

● plan the answer to ensure that the material is sequenced logically and to avoid repetition

extend and develop a number of the ideas relevantly

● create and maintain a suitable voice, tone and style for the persona in the response.

● answer all parts of the question, giving equal attention to each of the three bullet points

● use own words rather than repeat material from the passage

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Question 1

Be sensitive to the atmosphere being created and show appreciation of the feelings of any characters. This means watching out for details and picking up on clues in the passage as you read.

Some ideas might be quite subtle and implied. This means that you will need to use any clues and details you noticed when you were reading, in order to write a convincing response.

 The more you can adapt the details from the passage to suit the task you have been set, the more likely you are to score well for reading.

 Draw up a quick plan, to organise ideas.

If a detail is relevant, use it! Make sure that you are using as much of the material as it is possible to do.

Should be using paragraphs.

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Question 2

You should aim to find at least four relevant quotations to support each of your points in both parts of the question. Give the quotation, in quotation marks, explain its meaning, and then explain its effect in the passage.

Avoid clumping words together or listing them – again you need to focus on each word individually as you explore and explain the effect the writer wanted them to have on the reader.

When you are explaining a quotation, do not repeat the words used in it. You need to use your own words to show that you are understanding what you are reading.

Try to avoid generalised comments such as ‘The writer makes me feel as though I am there’ and ‘The passage is cleverly written’. These will gain no marks and give the impression that you are failing to find things to say. You need to explain HOW this is the case.

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Question 3

● use your own words as far as possible but be careful not to lose the sense of the point in hand

● do not copy whole phrases from the passages

● write no more than one side of average handwriting

● do not add to the content of the passage

● make each point only once.

 You could start by using the wording of the question, ‘The features of the desert are...’

you do not have to find synonyms for technical objects, e.g. solar heaters.

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Question 2

• When you have some ideas for your comments, think about how they fit together before you start writing your answer – in that way you can avoid contradicting yourself in the effects that you are suggesting.

• When you are planning your answer, things to look for could include: 

– use of the five senses

– including colour, noise or sound effects

– use of contrast or links between the subject and the environment

surprising or unusual words in the context of the description 

imagery (similes and metaphors).

To score marks though you will need to explain HOW they work, not just fi nd them.

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Question 3

● re-read the passage after reading each part of the question and identify the precise information required

● plan your answer - list relevant points in as few words as possible

● read through your list of points and organise them - linking any points that are similar or the same

● write up your answer in full sentences – some of which include more than one point

do not write an introduction or conclusion

● aim to include at least fifteen points balanced over both halves of the question

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