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IGCSE in English as a Second Language

An outline of the examination with advice on key components.

Frankie Meehan

on 3 May 2011

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Transcript of IGCSE in English as a Second Language

IGCSE in ESL Paper 6: SPEAKING Paper 2: READING & WRITING Paper 4: LISTENING 15% 70% 15% Reading 1 Reading 2 Information Transfer Note Making Summary Writing 1 Writing 2 Q1-6:
Short spoken texts (e.g. travel announcement, answerphone message)
Short answers Q7-8
Longer spoken texts (e.g. interview, talk)
Complete gaps in form/chart Q9-10
Longer spoken text (e.g. conversation, interview, monologue)
Short or sentence length answers 3 tasks:
recorded oral (March) [8 marks] short text
short (single word/phrase) answers newspaper/ magazine article
includes a table/graph/ diagram/map
Qs test more detailed understanding Complete
a form or notes Make brief notes under given headings Write a one-paragraph summary (100 words) on one or more aspects of
a text [14 marks] [8 marks] [8 marks] [10 marks] [18 marks] [18 marks] Informal:
a short stimulus (words and/or pictures) is provided
a purpose, format and audience are specified
often a letter to a friend/relative Formal:
a short stimulus (words and/or pictures) is provided
a purpose, format and audience are specified
often an article for your school magazine or a local newspaper Go straight to the Qs!
No marks lost for (mis)spellings unless they affect the meaning Skim-read the text first (i.e. glance through it quickly to get the main ideas)
Full sentences are not necessary
No marks lost for (mis)spellings unless they affect the meaning Follow instructions precisely: e.g. BLOCK CAPITALS, Delete, Tick, Circle, Underline
In the last section, write only ONE sentence - no fewer than 12 words, no more than 20 words!
Keep your sentence simple and ACCURATE. Do not write full sentences
Write one note per line (2 correct points on the same line, followed by one incorrect point, will earn only 1 mark) General Points Concerning SUMMARY Tasks
Read the instructions carefully: what are you being asked to write about?
Underline or box the relevant points in the text before you try to write your summary.
Do not write a long introduction! You might need to write something like “There are three main advantages of home schooling. Firstly …” but basically you should go straight to the point: do only what the instructions ask you to do!
Organise the points in some way – e.g. chronologically, or Problem-Solution, or Advantages-Disadvantages. Whatever seems right for the task!
Simple connectives such as "Firstly/Secondly/Thirdly" or "In addition/Also" or "Consequently" can help to make your summary more coherent.
Use your own words/phrases where possible. Feel free to change the order of points if that seems logical.
Do not write too much, but do not get stressed about writing a few words too many. (You are allowed to go up to 120 words.) General Points Concerning LISTENING
You have 2 CD-ROMs in your copy of “IGCSE English as a Second Language” by Peter Lucantoni - use them for practice!
For most of the questions, all you need is a brief answer (often just one word).
Do not just listen for words; listen to the meaning of what is being said! Try to predict what is coming next.
Use the pauses for writing: if you write too soon, you may miss something you should be listening to!
In the note-taking tasks, think about the type of word that is required. For example, if a heading says “Purpose”, then it is likely that you need a list of verbs (e.g. To raise awareness, To conserve wildlife, To educate schoolchildren). By contrast, if a sentence says “This boat has attracted more _________ than any other boat in the race”, then you should expect a noun to fill the gap – e.g. publicity, funding, attention, visitors, trouble, photographers?
If you write 2 answers and the first one is wrong, no points will be awarded.
Spelling usually does not matter. Yes, an informal letter should be fairly informal – but don’t overdo it!
The content of informal letters is difficult to predict. However, they often include an account of recent events.
Take care with your verbs (e.g. past tense "-ed")!
Use some time phrases (e.g. Shortly after that, Later, That afternoon, After dinner, …)
Try to use a good range of vocabulary too, avoiding dull words such as "nice", "fun" and "scary".
Dear Ryuichi
BEGINNING: Thank you for your lovely letter. / Many thanks for your letter. / Thanks for writing. / It was good to hear from you. / Sorry for not replying sooner. I have been very busy. / Sorry for taking so long to reply. I have been revising for my exams.
"THE END IS NEAR": Well, that’s all my news for now. / It’s getting late, so I’d better stop now. / I’d better stop now. It’s past midnight and I have an exam tomorrow. / Time to stop: Mum’s calling me for dinner. / I’d better finish – I’m running out of space.
ENDING: I look forward to hearing from you. / I can hardly wait to meet you. / Please write again soon. / Please keep in touch. / Give my regards to …
BEST WISHES / Lots of Love / Regards If this is a letter, the salutation is given (e.g. “Dear students”). Examiners do not mark the closing “Best wishes” etc.
Be sure to use linking words/transitions in new paragraphs (e.g. “The following day, …”, “After arriving home, …”, “As a result of my injury, …”)
Instead of trying to add many ideas, it is better to have just two or three main ideas and develop these (i.e. explain them more fully, give examples etc). Note: One of the marking criteria for a higher grade is that “ideas are well developed”. On arrival, ...
That afteroon, ...
Later, ...
In the evening, ...
The following day, ...
(The previous day, we had ...)
After a while, ... Firstly, … Secondly, … Thirdly, … Finally … 
For example, … For instance, … 
In addition, … Also, … Furthermore, … What is more, … 
As a result, … Because of this, … Consequently, … Therefore, … 
On the one hand, … On the other hand, … 
It is true that … However, … 
…, however, … In contrast, … On the other hand, … 
Similarly, … 
Another argument against _____ is that … 
Another disadvantage of _____ is that … This section provides four ‘bubbles’, pictures or ideas: two are for and two are against.
One of the marking criteria for higher grades is that the candidate “shows independence of thought”. It is probably best, therefore, to use just a couple of the ideas provided and add a couple of your own.
It doesn’t matter whether you are “for” or “against” the argument as long as you develop your ideas.
You do not have enough space (200 words) in which to present a lot of ideas, so use a simple structure: e.g. introduction, argument for, argument against, and conclusion (= 4 paragraphs).
The title is not marked, so do not waste time thinking about one. General Points Concerning TIME
The exam lasts for 2 hours (= 120 mins) and there are a total of 84 marks. That works out at 1.4 mins (= 84 secs) per mark. You should aim to manage your time as follows:
Ex. 1 and 2 (a total of 22 marks) – about 22 mins because it should be possible to work quite quickly on these questions
Ex. 3 (form-filling) - about 11 mins
Ex. 4 (note-taking) - about 12 mins
Ex. 5 (summary) - about 15 mins
Ex. 6 (informal writing) - about 30 mins
Ex. 6 (formal writing) - about 30 mins
NB: The suggested times for Exercises 5-7 include editing time. Do not write frantically until the invigilator calls out, “The exam is over. Please stop writing now.” You must spend a few minutes re-reading your work and making necessary changes.
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