CIE IGCSE English Language

Practice Papers

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Practice Paper 2C

Question 1

Marks: 40

Section A: Directed Writing

Imagine the government is considering a total ban on violent video games.

Write a speech to be given in Parliament, giving your views on whether or not violent video games should be made illegal.

In your speech you should:

  • evaluate the views given in the text about the impacts of violent video games.
  • give your own views, based on what you have read, about whether banning violent video games would make the public safer.

Base your speech on what you have read in the text, but be careful to use your own words. Address both of the bullet points.

Begin your speech:  “Thank you for inviting me to speak today…”

Write about 250 to 350 words.

Up to 15 marks are available for the content of your answer, and up to 25 marks for the quality of your writing.

Close

Example Top-Grade Answer

Thank you for inviting me to speak today – it’s an honour to be here. When I first heard the government was considering a total ban on violent video games, I assumed it must be some far-away authoritarian government somewhere. When I found out it was our own government thinking about taking such a drastic step, I felt compelled to get involved and share my views about how wrong that decision would be.

First of all, I hope when you look at me you don’t see a potentially violent thug who might get aggressive at any moment – I’ve never been in a physical fight in my life and have absolutely no desire to! And yet I enjoy playing video games, even the ones some might describe as ‘controversial’ like Grand Theft Auto. I saw a news report shortly after it was released about a man who had been attacked and robbed of the game, which is partly why we’re discussing this in the first place. It’s terrible that happened to him, but he was also robbed of his watch and mobile phone, but I assume the government isn’t considering an outright ban on those too?!

The fact is, there just isn’t enough evidence to suggest violent video games are unsafe or that they make people aggressive. I’m aware there are studies to suggest that these types of games are dangerous, but lots of these have been based on flawed experiments. There have also been studied to suggest games are not the problem here: violence and aggression comes from other factors, like family problems, emotional difficulties and social issues. The only person I’ve known with anger problems is a friend of mine whose parents were going through a tough divorce and he was being bullied at school. I’d say if the government wants to look at real causes of violence, I suggest they spend their time looking into these issues instead and see what more can be done to help people.

On a lighter note, you may be aware that people also considered comic books dangerous a few years ago, for the same reasons. I’d also say board games like Monopoly encourage far more anger and violence than comic books or video games ever have! Especially at my house at Christmas. In fact, if you could please ban Monopoly that’d be great.

The reality is, there just isn’t enough evidence to justify such an extreme step as an out-right ban. I’d be delighted to see the government invest its valuable time in making our society safer, but taking video games away from people isn’t the right solution.

Thank you for listening to me.

 

Marking Criteria for Writing

22-25 marks:

  • Highly effective style capable of conveying subtle meaning.
  • Carefully structured for benefit of the reader.
  • Wide range of sophisticated vocabulary, precisely used.
  • Highly effective register for audience and purpose.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar almost always accurate.

18-21 marks: 

  • Effective style.
  • Secure overall structure, organised to help the reader.
  • Wide range of vocabulary, used with some precision.
  • Effective register for audience and purpose.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar mostly accurate, with occasional minor errors.

14-17 marks:

  • Sometimes effective style.
  • Ideas generally well sequenced.
  • Range of vocabulary is adequate and sometimes effective.
  • Sometimes effective register for audience and purpose.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar generally accurate though with some errors.

 

Marking Criteria for Reading

13-15 marks:

  • Successfully evaluates ideas and opinions, both explicit and implicit.
  • Assimilates ideas from the text to give a developed, sophisticated response.

10-12 marks:

  • Some successful evaluation of ideas and opinions, both explicit and implicit.
  • A thorough response, supported by a detailed selection of relevant ideas from the text.

7-9 marks: 

  • Begins to evaluate mainly explicit ideas and opinions.
  • An appropriate response that includes relevant ideas from the text.
  • A relevant response that is expressed clearly, fluently and mostly with concision.
  • The response is well organised.
  • The response is in your own words (where appropriate), using a range of well-chosen vocabulary.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar are mostly accurate.

2-3 marks:

  • A relevant response that is generally expressed clearly, with some evidence of concision.
  • There may be some lapses in organisation.
  • The response is mainly expressed in your own words (where appropriate) but there may be reliance on the words of the text.
  • Errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar.

 

Exam Tip

For top marks, make sure you:

  • Start with a powerful sentence that clearly and confidently states your view.
  • Say what do you REALLY think! Write your own personal opinion in your plan and let that be your north-star to stop yourself being too wishy-washy.
  • Write with passion – argue your case like you really care about the topic.
  • Include a personal anecdote 
  • Write with urgency – is this a crisis? Does change need to happen quickly? Then say so.
  • Mix up your persuasive writing techniques (ethos/pathos/logos)
  • Evaluate the counter arguments 
  • Round off your speech/letter/article with a powerful sentence reenforcing your view. Let the examiner know you didn’t run out of time.
  • Write an enjoyable response! Remember the examiner has to read 100s of answers – cheer them up. Attempt some humour where possible/appropriate.

Question 2

Marks: 40

Section B: Composition

Answer one question from Section B.

Write about 350 to 450 words on one of the following questions.

Up to 16 marks are available for the content and structure of your answer, and up to 24 marks for the style and accuracy of your writing.

EITHER

(Descriptive writing)

Describe a busy street.

OR

(Descriptive writing)

Describe an occasion where people are whispering to each other.

OR

(Narrative writing)

Write a story that starts with the words “It was clear he hadn’t paid…”

OR

(Narrative writing)

Write a story that involves a character with a super power.

Close

Question 1

Example Top-Grade Answer

Thank you for inviting me to speak today – it’s an honour to be here. When I first heard the government was considering a total ban on violent video games, I assumed it must be some far-away authoritarian government somewhere. When I found out it was our own government thinking about taking such a drastic step, I felt compelled to get involved and share my views about how wrong that decision would be.

First of all, I hope when you look at me you don’t see a potentially violent thug who might get aggressive at any moment – I’ve never been in a physical fight in my life and have absolutely no desire to! And yet I enjoy playing video games, even the ones some might describe as ‘controversial’ like Grand Theft Auto. I saw a news report shortly after it was released about a man who had been attacked and robbed of the game, which is partly why we’re discussing this in the first place. It’s terrible that happened to him, but he was also robbed of his watch and mobile phone, but I assume the government isn’t considering an outright ban on those too?!

The fact is, there just isn’t enough evidence to suggest violent video games are unsafe or that they make people aggressive. I’m aware there are studies to suggest that these types of games are dangerous, but lots of these have been based on flawed experiments. There have also been studied to suggest games are not the problem here: violence and aggression comes from other factors, like family problems, emotional difficulties and social issues. The only person I’ve known with anger problems is a friend of mine whose parents were going through a tough divorce and he was being bullied at school. I’d say if the government wants to look at real causes of violence, I suggest they spend their time looking into these issues instead and see what more can be done to help people.

On a lighter note, you may be aware that people also considered comic books dangerous a few years ago, for the same reasons. I’d also say board games like Monopoly encourage far more anger and violence than comic books or video games ever have! Especially at my house at Christmas. In fact, if you could please ban Monopoly that’d be great.

The reality is, there just isn’t enough evidence to justify such an extreme step as an out-right ban. I’d be delighted to see the government invest its valuable time in making our society safer, but taking video games away from people isn’t the right solution.

Thank you for listening to me.

 

Marking Criteria for Writing

22-25 marks:

  • Highly effective style capable of conveying subtle meaning.
  • Carefully structured for benefit of the reader.
  • Wide range of sophisticated vocabulary, precisely used.
  • Highly effective register for audience and purpose.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar almost always accurate.

18-21 marks: 

  • Effective style.
  • Secure overall structure, organised to help the reader.
  • Wide range of vocabulary, used with some precision.
  • Effective register for audience and purpose.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar mostly accurate, with occasional minor errors.

14-17 marks:

  • Sometimes effective style.
  • Ideas generally well sequenced.
  • Range of vocabulary is adequate and sometimes effective.
  • Sometimes effective register for audience and purpose.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar generally accurate though with some errors.

 

Marking Criteria for Reading

13-15 marks:

  • Successfully evaluates ideas and opinions, both explicit and implicit.
  • Assimilates ideas from the text to give a developed, sophisticated response.

10-12 marks:

  • Some successful evaluation of ideas and opinions, both explicit and implicit.
  • A thorough response, supported by a detailed selection of relevant ideas from the text.

7-9 marks: 

  • Begins to evaluate mainly explicit ideas and opinions.
  • An appropriate response that includes relevant ideas from the text.
  • A relevant response that is expressed clearly, fluently and mostly with concision.
  • The response is well organised.
  • The response is in your own words (where appropriate), using a range of well-chosen vocabulary.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar are mostly accurate.

2-3 marks:

  • A relevant response that is generally expressed clearly, with some evidence of concision.
  • There may be some lapses in organisation.
  • The response is mainly expressed in your own words (where appropriate) but there may be reliance on the words of the text.
  • Errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar.

 

Exam Tip

For top marks, make sure you:

  • Start with a powerful sentence that clearly and confidently states your view.
  • Say what do you REALLY think! Write your own personal opinion in your plan and let that be your north-star to stop yourself being too wishy-washy.
  • Write with passion – argue your case like you really care about the topic.
  • Include a personal anecdote 
  • Write with urgency – is this a crisis? Does change need to happen quickly? Then say so.
  • Mix up your persuasive writing techniques (ethos/pathos/logos)
  • Evaluate the counter arguments 
  • Round off your speech/letter/article with a powerful sentence reenforcing your view. Let the examiner know you didn’t run out of time.
  • Write an enjoyable response! Remember the examiner has to read 100s of answers – cheer them up. Attempt some humour where possible/appropriate.

Question 2

Example Top-Grade Answer

It was clear he hadn’t paid for his expensive-looking shoes and designer glasses just by selling the fruit and vegetables on his stall. He loves his job running a small organic produce stand at the local farmer’s market; he always has a smile on his well-groomed face, and is happy to give any recipe advice for the more obscure ingredients on his stall. If he had spent the last 10 years getting up at 4am like the other stall owners have, perhaps he wouldn’t look so fresh faced. But Sebastian Carmichael hasn’t been running a fruit & veg stall for the last ten years; he had a career in finance before making enough money selling BitCoin that he could give up his day job and do something he loves; selling fresh, vegan, free-trade organic food. He’s been doing this for 6 months now.

He wears the same mushroom-colour organic cotton T-shirt every day; it isn’t the same one really, of course; he has a wardrobe full of them. His wife is a respected hair stylist, so his hair and beard always look perfect and don’t have a single grey hair, thanks to her revered hair dying skills. Compared to the craggy, tired-looking salespeople on nearby stalls, Sebastian looks like a celebrity, or an actor doing research for a Hollywood film about an unrealistically good-looking market stall owner.

When he gives changes to elderly women, they often comment on how soft his hands are, “like you’ve never done a day’s work in your life!” they would sometimes say. Sebastian will blush and say something about how handling organic food must be good for the skin, but he doesn’t mention the expensive hand cream he uses. While other stall holders scream and yell about their prices and offers – “four for a pooooound!”, “any bowl two quid, take the lot!” – Sebastian knows his soft voice and privately-educated accent would either get mocked or ignored. Instead, he writes the day’s prices on small chalkboards in different colour chalk then cleans his hands by rubbing them on his well-ironed apron. He knows full well what some of the nearby stall owners think of him – that he’s a poshboy, out of place, will probably open a shop soon (they’re right) – but he enjoys his work, and being outdoors and speaking to people makes him far happier than his dull finance job ever made him feel. Plus, every day when he drops any unsold food at the homeless shelter on his way home, he reminds himself how fortunate he is – something he never used to it.

 

Marking Criteria for Content & Structure

14-16 marks:

  • Content is complex, engaging and effective.
  • Structure is secure, well balanced and carefully managed for deliberate effect.

DESCRIPTIVE:
Many well-defined and developed ideas and images create a convincing overall picture with varieties of focus.

NARRATIVE:
The plot is well-defined and strongly developed with features of fiction writing such as description, characterisation and effective climax, and convincing details.

11-13 marks:

  • Content is developed, engaging and effective.
  • Structure is well managed, with some choices made for deliberate effect.

DESCRIPTIVE:
Frequent, well-chosen images and details give a mostly convincing picture

NARRATIVE:
The plot is defined and developed with features of fiction writing such as description, characterisation, climax and details.

8-10 marks:

  • Content is relevant with some development.
  • Structure is competently managed.

DESCRIPTIVE:
A selection of relevant ideas, images and details, even where there is a tendency to write in a narrative style.

NARRATIVE:
The plot is relevant and cohesive, with some features such as characterisation and setting of scene.

 

Marking Criteria for Style & Accuracy

21-24 marks:

  • Precise, well-chosen vocabulary and varied sentence structures, chosen for effect.
  • Consistent well-chosen register suitable for the context.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar almost always accurate.

17-20 marks:

  • Mostly precise vocabulary and a range of sentence structures mostly used for effect.
  • Mostly consistent appropriate register suitable for the context.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar mostly accurate, with occasional minor errors.

13-16 marks: 

  • Some precise vocabulary and a range of sentence structures sometimes used for effect.
  • Some appropriate register for the context.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar generally accurate, but with some errors.
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