CIE IGCSE English Language

Practice Papers

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Practice Paper 1A

Question 1a

Marks: 1

Read Text AHow Apollo 11 brought humanity together, in the insert and then answer Questions 1(a)–(e) on this question paper.

 (a)  Name two of the astronauts on the moon landing mission.

Close

a)

Name two of the astronauts on the moon landing mission.

  • Neil Armstrong
  • Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin
  • Mike Collins

You must have 2 correct answers for 1 mark

[1 mark]

Question 1b

Marks: 4

(b)  Using your own words, explain what the text means by:

(i)  ‘propel them and all humanity’

(ii)  ‘Earth rapidly receding.’

Close

b)

Using your own words, explain what the text means by:

(i) ‘propel them and all humanity’:

  • To send the astronauts quickly into space (1 mark)
  • Move mankind forwards (1 mark)

[2 marks total]

(ii) ‘Earth rapidly receding’:

  • (Earth is) moving away (1 mark)
  • Quickly (1 mark)

[2 marks total]

Question 1c

Marks: 2

(c)  Re-read paragraph 5, (‘Amid on-board… engine stop….’)

Give two reasons why landing the craft was dangerous.

Close

c)

Re-read paragraph 5, (‘Amid on-board… engine stop….’). Give two reasons why landing the craft was dangerous.

  • There were boulders / they might crash into bounders
  • There was a large crater / they might crash into a crater
  • There were computer problems so Armstrong had to land manually (1 mark max. Do not award 2 marks if given as separate points)

1 mark for each correct answer (max. 2 marks)

[2 marks]

Question 1d

Marks: 5

 (d)  Re-read paragraphs 7-9, (‘whatever the time zone… all mankind.’).

(i)  Identify two items left on the moon.

(ii)  Explain why so many people all over the world were watching the event.

Close

d)

Re-read paragraphs 7-9, (‘whatever the time zone… all mankind.’).

(i) Identify two items left on the moon.

  • An American flag
  • A plaque

1 mark for each correct answer. No mark for ‘footprint’ (not an item)

[2 marks]

(ii) Explain why so many people all over the world were watching the event.

  • People knew it would be an historic event
  • It was a live event
  • People were awestuck/in awe at what was happening
  • This was a huge achievement for our whole species.

1 mark for each idea, max. of 3 marks

[3 marks]

Question 1e

Marks: 3

(e)  Re-read paragraphs 10-12, (‘The Apollo era… totally achievable,” he says.’).

Using your own words, explain why the moon landing has had a lasting cultural impact.

Close

e)

Re-read paragraphs 10-12, (‘The Apollo era… totally achievable,” he says.’). Using your own words, explain why the moon landing has had a lasting cultural impact.

  • The event represents a hopeful time
  • There was the potential to achieve anything
  • It demonstrates what we are capable of when people work together to achieve a specific aim
  • It gives us hope when we need it most, especially in the context of climate change.

1 mark for each idea, max. 3 marks. Answers which are entirely in the words of the text get no marks.

[3 marks]

Question 1f

Marks: 15

Read Text BApollo 11 – An Eye-Opening Documentary, in the insert and then answer Question 1(f) on this question paper.

 (f) According to Text B, what made the documentary such an excellent film and why do people still take an interest in the moon landing?

You must use continuous writing (not note form) and use your own words as far as possible.

Your summary should not be more than 120 words.

Up to 10 marks are available for the content of your answer and up to 5 marks for the quality of your writing.

Close

f)

According to Text B, what made the documentary such an excellent film and why do people still take an interest in the moon landing? You must use continuous writing (not note form) and use your own words as far as possible.

What made the documentary such an excellent film:

  • The props and settings were so realistic that it looked like real footage.
  • The scene was vibrant/came to life
  • We know how the moon landings ended, but the sequence of events were fascinating
  • The structure of the film followed the same narrative arch of the original story: bulid-up to lift-off, landing on the moon, and re-entering Earth.
  • The music added more drama to the story.
  • The emphasis on the emotions of the crowds watching the launch

Why people still take an interest in the moon landing:

  • It was such an immersive event
  • Transcend limitations/ escape own times
  • Re-living event/sharing the emotions
  • Sharing such a momentous event with lots of people helps us connect to them.
  • The time passed since the moon landings has helped contextualise it
  • See fashions and every-day items as old-fashioned/compare old items to modern day life

Example top-grade answer:

The props and setting for the documentary were so realistic that it looked like real footage which made it come to life, with the music adding more drama. The structure of the film also followed the events in the order they happened. The teamwork has emotive appeal and the emotions of the crowds watching were also emphasised, showing the importance of the occasion. People still take an interest in the moon landing as it allows us to escape the limits of our own times; we experience the same emotions of the original crowds, helping us connect to them. We can compare their lives to ours by looking at the old-fashioned styles. The time since the moon landings has also helped contextualise it.

Reading marks:

9-10 marks:

  • You have made nine or ten clear points
  • Your points range across the text
  • You have used your own words to show you have interpreted the text
  • You have organised your points rather than just writing them in the order they appear in the text.

7-8 marks:

  • You have made seven or eight clear points.
  • Your points range across the text.
  • You have used your own words to show you understand the text
  • Your points might follow the order of the text but you have linked them.

5-6 marks:

  • You have made five or six clear points
  • Your points cover both bullet points, but there might be more focus on one or the other
  • You have mainly used your own words
  • Your points follow the order of the text but aren’t linked
  • You might have included extra words, like introducing your own opinion, or using ideas not in the text.
  • You have repeated an idea more than once.

Writing marks:

4-5 marks:

  • Your response is within (or close to) the word limit.
  • You have arranged your ideas in an order so that they link and follow on from each other.
  • You have used your own words when you can, but haven’t tried to change words that it is impossible or clumsy to change (e.g. moon, lift-off)

2-3 marks:

  • Your response might have gone over the word limit by quite a lot.
  • Your points either follow the exact order of the text or jump around it a bit.
  • You have either used several phrases as they appear in the text (3 marks) or tried to use your own words for words that can’t be replaced without making meaning less clear (2 marks).

[15 marks]

Question 2a

Marks: 4

Read Text CThe Martian, in the insert and then answer Questions 2(a)–(d) on this question paper.

 (a) Identify a word or phrase from the text which suggests the same as the words underlined:

(i)  It was down to strange circumstances that Mark survived.

 (ii)  The spaceship can’t tolerate extreme weather indefinitely.

 (iii)  He got woken up by an incessant alarm.

 (iv)  Once he got inside, he took off his space suit.

Question 2b

Marks: 3

(b) Using your own words, explain what the writer means by each of the words underlined:

All the crew’s suits are networked so we can see each other’s status. The rest of the crew would have seen the pressure in my suit drop to nearly zero, followed immediately by my bio-signs going flat. Add to that watching me tumble down a hill with a spear through me in the middle of a sandstorm … yeah. They thought I was dead. How could they not?

(i) crew

(ii) immediately

(iii) tumble

Question 2c

Marks: 3

(c) Use one example from the text below to explain how the writer suggests Mark’s experiences and feelings at the point he got left behind.

Use your own words in your explanation.

I vaguely remember having the wind knocked out of me and my ears popping painfully as the pressure of my suit escaped. The last thing I remember was seeing Johanssen hopelessly reaching out toward me.

Question 2d

Marks: 15

(d) Re-read paragraphs 13 and 15.

  • Paragraph 13 begins ‘All the crew’s suits …’ and is about the moment the crew witnessed Mark getting left behind.
  • Paragraph 15 begins ‘So that’s the situation …’ and gives Mark’s impression of his predicament.

Explain how the writer uses language to convey meaning and to create effect in these paragraphs. Choose three examples of words or phrases from each paragraph to support your answer. Your choices should include the use of imagery.

Write about 200 to 300 words.

Up to 15 marks are available for the content of your answer.

Question 3

Marks: 25

Re-read Text CThe Martian, in the insert and then answer Question 3 on this question paper.

You are Johanssen, a member of the crew. On the way home, you write a journal entry about the day your crewmate Mark was left on Mars. You decide to write about:

  • What you saw and felt during the evacuation from Mars
  • What you remember about Mark’s last moments and your immediate reaction to seeing him fall
  • What your reasons were for leaving Mark behind and what you think he thought in his final moments

Write the words of your journal entry.

Base your journal entry on what you have read in Text C, but be careful to use your own words.

Address each of the three bullet points.

Begin your journal entry with the first point.

Write about 250 to 350 words.

Up to 15 marks are available for the content of your answer and up to 10 marks for the quality of your writing.

Close

Question 1a

a)

Name two of the astronauts on the moon landing mission.

  • Neil Armstrong
  • Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin
  • Mike Collins

You must have 2 correct answers for 1 mark

[1 mark]

Question 1b

b)

Using your own words, explain what the text means by:

(i) ‘propel them and all humanity’:

  • To send the astronauts quickly into space (1 mark)
  • Move mankind forwards (1 mark)

[2 marks total]

(ii) ‘Earth rapidly receding’:

  • (Earth is) moving away (1 mark)
  • Quickly (1 mark)

[2 marks total]

Question 1c

c)

Re-read paragraph 5, (‘Amid on-board… engine stop….’). Give two reasons why landing the craft was dangerous.

  • There were boulders / they might crash into bounders
  • There was a large crater / they might crash into a crater
  • There were computer problems so Armstrong had to land manually (1 mark max. Do not award 2 marks if given as separate points)

1 mark for each correct answer (max. 2 marks)

[2 marks]

Question 1d

d)

Re-read paragraphs 7-9, (‘whatever the time zone… all mankind.’).

(i) Identify two items left on the moon.

  • An American flag
  • A plaque

1 mark for each correct answer. No mark for ‘footprint’ (not an item)

[2 marks]

(ii) Explain why so many people all over the world were watching the event.

  • People knew it would be an historic event
  • It was a live event
  • People were awestuck/in awe at what was happening
  • This was a huge achievement for our whole species.

1 mark for each idea, max. of 3 marks

[3 marks]

Question 1e

e)

Re-read paragraphs 10-12, (‘The Apollo era… totally achievable,” he says.’). Using your own words, explain why the moon landing has had a lasting cultural impact.

  • The event represents a hopeful time
  • There was the potential to achieve anything
  • It demonstrates what we are capable of when people work together to achieve a specific aim
  • It gives us hope when we need it most, especially in the context of climate change.

1 mark for each idea, max. 3 marks. Answers which are entirely in the words of the text get no marks.

[3 marks]

Question 1f

f)

According to Text B, what made the documentary such an excellent film and why do people still take an interest in the moon landing? You must use continuous writing (not note form) and use your own words as far as possible.

What made the documentary such an excellent film:

  • The props and settings were so realistic that it looked like real footage.
  • The scene was vibrant/came to life
  • We know how the moon landings ended, but the sequence of events were fascinating
  • The structure of the film followed the same narrative arch of the original story: bulid-up to lift-off, landing on the moon, and re-entering Earth.
  • The music added more drama to the story.
  • The emphasis on the emotions of the crowds watching the launch

Why people still take an interest in the moon landing:

  • It was such an immersive event
  • Transcend limitations/ escape own times
  • Re-living event/sharing the emotions
  • Sharing such a momentous event with lots of people helps us connect to them.
  • The time passed since the moon landings has helped contextualise it
  • See fashions and every-day items as old-fashioned/compare old items to modern day life

Example top-grade answer:

The props and setting for the documentary were so realistic that it looked like real footage which made it come to life, with the music adding more drama. The structure of the film also followed the events in the order they happened. The teamwork has emotive appeal and the emotions of the crowds watching were also emphasised, showing the importance of the occasion. People still take an interest in the moon landing as it allows us to escape the limits of our own times; we experience the same emotions of the original crowds, helping us connect to them. We can compare their lives to ours by looking at the old-fashioned styles. The time since the moon landings has also helped contextualise it.

Reading marks:

9-10 marks:

  • You have made nine or ten clear points
  • Your points range across the text
  • You have used your own words to show you have interpreted the text
  • You have organised your points rather than just writing them in the order they appear in the text.

7-8 marks:

  • You have made seven or eight clear points.
  • Your points range across the text.
  • You have used your own words to show you understand the text
  • Your points might follow the order of the text but you have linked them.

5-6 marks:

  • You have made five or six clear points
  • Your points cover both bullet points, but there might be more focus on one or the other
  • You have mainly used your own words
  • Your points follow the order of the text but aren’t linked
  • You might have included extra words, like introducing your own opinion, or using ideas not in the text.
  • You have repeated an idea more than once.

Writing marks:

4-5 marks:

  • Your response is within (or close to) the word limit.
  • You have arranged your ideas in an order so that they link and follow on from each other.
  • You have used your own words when you can, but haven’t tried to change words that it is impossible or clumsy to change (e.g. moon, lift-off)

2-3 marks:

  • Your response might have gone over the word limit by quite a lot.
  • Your points either follow the exact order of the text or jump around it a bit.
  • You have either used several phrases as they appear in the text (3 marks) or tried to use your own words for words that can’t be replaced without making meaning less clear (2 marks).

[15 marks]

Question 2a

Identify a word or phrase from the text which suggests the same idea as the words underlined:

(i) strange circumstances = ridiculous sequence of events. [1 mark]

(ii) tolerate extreme weather indefinitely = it can’t just get sandblasted forever. [1 mark]

(iii) incessant alarm = a steady, obnoxious beeping[1 mark]

(iv) took off his space suit = doffed the suit. [1 mark]

Question 2b

b)

Using your own words, explain what the writer means by each of the words underlined:

(i) crew = Team (or another appropriate synonym) [1 mark]

(ii) immediately = Straight away or rapidly or promptly (or another appropriate synonym. No marks for ‘urgently’) [1 mark]

(iii) tumble = Fall or plummet (or another appropriate synonym) [1 mark]

Question 2c

c)

Use one example from the text below to explain how the writer suggests Mark’s experiences and feelings at the point he got left behind.

Answers might include:

  • “I vaguely remember” – suggests his recollection is hazy because he was disorientated and confused as a result of his injury; emphasises his vulnerability at the time.
  • “having the wind knocked out of me” (image) – suggests he found it difficult to breathe because he was literally winded from an injury, but also implies he was speechless at the shock of being left.
  • “my ears popping painfully”– describes the physical pain he was in, while also suggesting the emotional pain of being left alone;
  • “the pressure of my suit escaped” (image)– suit conveys the literal sound of the air leaving his suit, while also implying his hope escaped with it.
  • “The last…hopelessly reaching out” (image) – describes the very moment he was left, Johanssen trying and failing to save him; shows perspectives of both men at that moment: Mark’s final image before blacking out (and therefore final moment of hope) and seeing Johanssen’s futile attempt to save him, which implies deep guilt and regret.

3 marks for an appropriate example followed by a detailed and convincing explanation of how the writer suggests Mark’s experiences and feelings

2 marks for an appropriate example followed by a basic explanation of how the writer suggests Mark’s experiences and feelings

1 mark for an example followed by a partial explanation of how the writer suggests Mark’s experiences and feelings.

[3 marks]

Question 2d

d)

Re-read paragraphs 13 and 15.

  • Paragraph 13 begins ‘All the crew’s suits …’ and is about the moment the crew witnessed Mark getting left behind.
  • Paragraph 15 begins ‘So that’s the situation …’ and gives Mark’s impression of his predicament.

Explain how the writer uses language to convey meaning and to create effect in these paragraphs. Choose three examples of words or phrases from each paragraph to support your answer. Your choices should include the use of imagery.

The moment the crew assume Mark to be dead in paragraph 13, beginning ‘All the crew’s suits …’

  • “the crew’s suits are networked”: also suggesting the crew is attached to one another to imply their closeness; creates sympathy for Mark for being left out/detached from the network
  • “we can see each other’s status”: suggests the technology is reliable so the crew are not to blame for relying on it
  • “would have seen the pressure”: (imagery) showing the moment from the crew’s perspective so we empathise with them and put ourselves in that position
  • “drop to nearly zero”: suggests the chances of him surviving is also nearly zero
  • “followed immediately…flat”: more evidence of his apparent death. ‘Flat’ and ‘zero’ suggesting his signs of life have died, along with any hope of his survival
  • Add to that”: mathematical language to indicate he and the crew are evidence-based and that the evidence for his death was robust. Removes any blame from the crew, creates sense of tragedy and sympathy for all involved
  • “watching me tumble down a hill”: (imagery) rolling in an out of control manner, implying a sense of helplessness and free-falling in a child-like or vulnerable state
  • “spear through me in the middle”: violent, graphic image to contrast against the sanitary environment the crew is in. Brutal language emphasises the brutal situation.
  • “…yeah.”: The ellipsis emphasises his consideration, before the short, final, honest assessment of his situation.
  • “They thought I was dead”: monosyllabic words in a short, simple sentence to emphasise the clarity and harshness of the situation.
  • “How could they not?” Rhetorical question to emphasise with the crew and forgive them for their assumption.

Paragraph 15 begins ‘So that’s the situation …’ and gives Mark’s impression of his predicament:

  • “So that’s the situation.”: Simple sentence to emphasise his matter-of-fact, frank assessment of his predicament.
  • “Everyone thinks I’m dead.The hard-sounding consonants mirrors and emphasises the harshness of his reality and the difficulty he faces to stay alive
  • “If the..If the…If the….”: The repetition suggests he has considered all the different ways he might die, suggesting he is intelligent and honest, willing to accept his fate.
  • “I’ll just kind of explode”: The incongruous flippancy and dramatic image adds light relief to the otherwise bleak scenario, and suggests Mark is able to see faint humour in the ridiculousness of his predicament.
  • “I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death”: depressing/sad prediction evokes sympathy for Mark and admiration for being frank about his potential fate.

How to mark your answer: 

  • Give yourself a tick for each correct phrase you have identified from the above list.
  • If you have explained the meaning of the phrase, write M next it. If you think your explanation of the meaning is unclear, put a minus () next to the M.
  • If you have explored the effect of the word/phrase – such as how it adds to the ideas/emotions/tone of the paragraph – add a plus (+).
  • If your phrase is much longer or shorter than the example in the mark scheme, add a minus ().

13-15 marks:

  • 6 ticks
  • 6 Ms
  • 3-6 pluses 
  • No minuses 
  • You have shown how your phrases work individually, and how they contribute to the paragraph as a whole.
  • You have looked at several different language techniques, including at least one example of imagery in each paragraph.
  • You may have linked your phrases to show how they work together.

10-12 marks:

  • 6 ticks
  • 6 Ms
  • 2-3 plusses (BUT you need one plus in each half)
  • No minuses 
  • You will have shown how your phrases work individually, and how they contribute to the paragraph as a whole.
  • Your chosen phrases will have looked at more than two different language techniques.
  • You may have linked your phrases to show how they work together.

7-9 marks:

  • At least two ticks in each part for 7 marks, three in each part for 9 marks.
  • At least four Ms for 7 marks, six for 9 marks
  • No more than 2 minuses 
  • No plusses (7 marks) or plusses in one half but not the other (9 marks)
  • You will have shown what your phrases mean, but not why they are used.
  • Your chosen phrases might have named language techniques, but might not shown why they are used.

[15 marks]

Question 3

Your ideas might include:

  1. What you saw and felt during the evacuation from Mars:
    • Didn’t want to stop: Ordered by NASA/only 6 days into month-long mission -> Disappointed/regret/ashamed
    • Scared we wouldn’t survive: Had no other choice -> Trained for events like this
    • Saw the sand blasting into the MAY: Concern about damage to delicate parts -> Implications for journey back/pride in engineering of ship
    • Wind while trekking from the Hab to the MAY: Protected by the suit -> Felt reassured
    • Progress of colleagues: Difficult to see through sand -> Feeling of concern/worry
    • Relief at getting back safely: Checking for other colleagues -> Team spirit
  1. What you remember about Mark’s last moments and your immediate reaction to seeing him fall:
    • The pressure dropping in his suit: Bio-signs going flat -> Nothing we could do
    • Desperate attempt to save him: Reaching out hand -> Knew it was futile
    • Tumbling down hill: Spear through his body/sandstorm -> Feeling of horror
    • Assume he was dead: Can’t recover body -> Can’t be sentimental/give into guilt
  1. What your reasons were for leaving Mark behind and what you think he thought in his final moments:
    • Regulations clear: Reduces weight for trip back/saves fuel -> Guilt about pragmatic response
    • Too dangerous to attempt recovery: Going back out into sandstorm -> Don’t want to lose someone else
    • Mark wouldn’t have blamed crew: Trained in what to do -> Conflict between teamwork and looking out for oneself
    • Knew he was doomed: Continuing storm -> Hostility of Martian landscape
    • Terrified: Reaching back for your hand -> Eye contact/look on face (of shock/horror/fear)

 

Example top-grade answer:

Dear diary,

What a terrible day. My stomach is in knots. (That’s probably not the most sensitive analogy to use, considering what I’ve seen today.) Poor, poor Mark. Today we got an order from NASA to abort the mission. None of us wanted to stop so early on, but the MAY’s delicate parts couldn’t take any more battering from a sandstorm that took us all off guard  – it went on for over an hour. If we didn’t leave right then, we would’ve all been stuck down there. We knew there was a chance we might not even survive the short walk outside from the Hab to the MAY – it was a dangerous move to go out into the storm – but it was our only chance of survival. It was time to make use of years of training. In the storm I  could feel and hear the wind around us, and I was grateful for the protection of my suit.  I could just about make out the blurred shapes of my colleagues, and I hoped they were OK.

I thought we were all going to make it – the rest of the crew were running on in front of me, and Mark was just behind. As I got into the airlock of the MAY, I was expecting to see Mark leap in behind me, but he slipped. I tried reaching out to him to grab his hand and pull him into the airlock with me, but it was futile: I stretched out as far as I could, without getting blown away, and his hand was just a few centimetres away8, but in less than a second he was gone. The door closed shut and the rest of the crew and I watched him get sucked into the sandstorm; he got impaled on a spear – I could see the blood soaking into his spacesuit – and then he disappeared down a hill. That horrific image will be burnt into my brain forever.

We rushed to the monitor to check his suit stats, but we saw his pressure plummeted to almost zero and his bio-signs went flat. The only consolation was knowing his death was quick. We knew we couldn’t go back for his body – the regulations don’t allow it.  I couldn’t help think that the reduced weight might help the journey back if the MAY had been damaged. Besides it was too dangerous to go back into the storm – we’d only risk losing another man. Mark knew he was doomed. He must have been terrified – I could see that as he reached for my hand.  But I know he won’t have blamed us for what happened – we’re trained for disaster, and we know we have to protect our own lives, as well as support our team -we mustn’t take needless risks, and I know he knew that.

 

How to mark your work:

B1            Use this every time you make a correct point from bullet point 1
B2            Use this every time you make a correct point from bullet point 2
B3            Use this every time you make a correct point from bullet point 3
P               Use this every time you use a precise detail from the text
DEV         Use this every time you develop an idea in Question 3
–                Use this if you think you haven’t explained your point clearly enough
W             Use this if you think your words are too close to the original wording
R              Use this if you have repeated a point you have already made

 

Reading marks:

13-15:

  • You have at least four each of B1, B2 and B3.
  • You have at least three Ps for each bullet point.
  • You have at least three DEV for each bullet point.
  • You have no “bad” annotations.

10-12

  • You have at least three each of B1, B2 and B3.:
  • You have at least two Ps for each bullet point.
  • You have at least four DEV across your answer.
  • You have no “bad” annotations.

7-9:

  • You have at least three each of two bullet points, and at least one of the other.
  • You have at least four Ps across your answer.
  • You have at least one DEV for 8 or 9 marks.
  • You have no more than three “bad” annotations.

 

Writing/Structure/Order marks:

9-10:

  • It is clear all the way through your writing who you are writing as, who you are writing to and why you are writing.
  • Your language is interesting and varied and suits your purpose.
  • Your ideas are in a logical order and follow on from each other well.
  • Your spelling, punctuation and grammar are accurate.

7-8:

  • It is mainly clear who you are writing as, who you are writing to and why you are writing.
  • You express your ideas clearly with some precise vocabulary.
  • The order of your ideas makes sense.
  • Your spelling, punctuation and grammar are mainly accurate.

5-6 marks:

  • It is clear who you are writing as and why you are writing, but not always who you are writing to.
  • Your meaning is always clear, but your vocabulary is quite plain.
  • The order of your ideas makes sense most of the time.
  • Mistakes in spelling, punctuation and grammar don’t make your meaning difficult to understand.

[25 marks]

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