I thought about providing some last minute advice for the O’level English 1123 Examination, and hence, I have written this post. I hope you will find it a useful reminder/instant revision guide for your final examination paper.
Read the question carefully to understand the situation, task and content points.
Always follow the format in the question. If no format is given, then you should follow the format prescribed by your teacher.
Develop the 03 contents in equal detail, whenever possible.
Write 4 – 5 paragraphs in your letter/report/speech/article/account.
Write a proper beginning and ending sentence.
The word limit is 200 – 300 words. You should write around 250 words at least.
Use formal language in all directed writing tasks, except Informal letter.
Always plan your response before you start writing. You can divide the examination time in the following way:
1. Planning your response: 3/4 minutes.
2. Writing : 22 – 24 minutes.
3. Editing: 3 – 4 minutes.
Read all the given topics at least twice, before choosing the topic you want to respond to.
Choose the topic according to your strengths and preparation, and whether you have enough ideas to write between 350 – 500 words.
Avoid writing an argumentative essay, unless you have thoroughly practiced this type of writing.
Plan before you start wiring and always recheck your work before you hand it in. You can divide the examination time in the following way:
1. Planning your response: 7/8 minutes.
2. Writing: 45 minutes.
3. Editing: 5 – 6 minutes.
Descriptive and Argumentative essays should have a proper introduction (1 paragraph), a detailed body (3 – 6 paragraphs) and a logical conclusion (1 paragraph).
Stories should have an engaging opening, with an intriguing middle to sustain readers’ interest and a logical ending to bring a proper resolution to the plot.
Use similes, metaphors and effective descriptive words to create verbal pictures in a descriptive essay.
Keep your stories believable and realistic. Use flashback, dialogues and description of setting to make your narrative composition engaging for the reader.
Avoid writing stories which end up as a ‘bad dream.’ Avoid copying the plots from popular movies you have watched. Also refrain from showing violence, racism or glorifying crime in your stories.
Editing your essay is immensely important before handing it in. You should know what your common errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling are. Also keep an eye out for commonly committed slips in English writing: its/it’s, there/their, ‘i’ instead of ‘I’, use of articles (a, an and the), subject-verb agreement (He don’t/doesn’t etc), run-on sentences etc.
Don’t try to use ambitious vocabulary unless you are sure about its meaning and use. Using a simple word correctly is going to gain you more marks than using an unfamiliar word incorrectly, while trying to impress the examiner.
You have to write 15 content points from the given passage, on two aspects: advantages/disadvantage, causes/effects, comparison of past and present etc. The points on both sides should be balanced (8+7, 9+6 or 10+5).
The points should be brief, precise and concise. You don’t need to write them in your own words. Review the marking scheme to find out how the point should be written.
Avoid repeating a point in different words. Examples of a point do not count as separate points.
Each point should be written on separated line in a numbered or bulleted list.
Example points given by the examiner in the boxes are not included in your 15 content points.
Write 2/3 extra points, whenever possible. You will get marks for the extra points in case some of your points are incorrect.
Write a paragraph summary of 160 words, including the 10 words given in the question. Use your own words as far as possible and use conjunctions to make your paragraph cohesive and fluent to read.
You should know the difference between facts and opinions. Google it and you will find plenty of resources. Practice solving the past paper questions on finding fact/opinion.
Read the passage once only to get the general idea of the main topic/theme.
Read every question twice to identify its type and then locate the answer in the relevant paragraph.
Your answers should be two the point. They can be given in one word for particular questions and in 1 or maximum 2 sentences for all other questions.
‘Answer in your own words’ questions are to be very carefully dealt with. Find two key words in the text which are the exact answer of the question. Replace the key words with the correct synonyms and write your answer in a complete sentence.
Inferential questions would be more challenging than others which would require you to read between the lines and extract implicitly given information. The answer is not explicitly available. They usually start ‘What do you think/What can you tell/How do you know/What evidence is there’ etc.
If the question requires you to give one reason or find one word from the passage, writing more than one reason/word will get you zero marks, even if the answer is otherwise correct.
Vocabulary question requires you to provide meanings in context and using a single word or a phrase of maximum 7 words.
Do not attempt extra words or give extra meaning, as only the first one will be checked.
Wish you all the very best for your English examination!