Reading Comprehension: Sample Papers

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Sample 1




Sample 2




Do not for get to view the posts on the ‘Tips of CIE Examiners for Paper 2′ ,’Format of summary writing’,,‘Examples of summary writing with CIE Examiners’ assessment’ .



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 Reading (Paper 2)-

50 marks

I hour 45 mins

 These tips contain useful advice and highlight some common mistakes made by students.They are collected under exam question sub-headings to help you focus on what is expected for Reading paper.

 Paper 2 Section 1- 25 marks

Though this question is called Summary it is not a summary in the sense of being a general description of a situation but instead it is a focused list of the specific ideas or details contained in the passage, after anything irrelevant to the two questions has been removed.

i ) read and underline relevant material; count that there are at least 15 points altogether, and preferably 20 (fewer for Paper 1)

 ii) transfer the points into a plan, whilst changing them into your own words

 iii) group the points logically (using arrows/brackets); put them in order (using numbers), and decide which ones can be combined into one sentence

 iv) write the summary in two paragraphs (one for Paper 1), using complex sentences

 v) check the summary for accurate expression; adapt the length and improve if necessary by adding material overlooked or by removing repetition.

 Remember that summaries never include:

 i) examples

ii) repetitions

iii) direct speech

iv) figurative language

v) minor details.

All these must be removed from the passage, and then you use only the facts, which are

what you have left.

 • Find all the points you can for each part of the question; do not stop when you get to 15 as these may not be the same ones the examiner has on their list. The only way to be sure of getting all 15 Reading marks is to use everything relevant.

 • To get all 5 Writing marks you need to show evidence of clear and concise summary style throughout, precise focus and the use of your own words.

 • Do not give your summary in the wrong form as this is penalised i.e. do not offer bullet points or a list, or write in the first person, or comment on the content of the passages, or present a narrative, or use quotation.

 • Though you must use your own words whenever possible, you do not have to find synonyms for technical objects e.g. solar heaters.

 • Both halves of the question are equally important and should be done in the same way and given the same length of about half a page.

 • Summaries much longer than half a page are no longer summaries and will be penalized in the Writing mark.

 • To be concise enough for summary style and to get in all the points you should use complex sentences containing two or three points in each.

 • Do not repeat points, or express them vaguely; (these will be given an R (repetition) or PNM (point not made) respectively in the margin, and discounted.

 • There is no need to introduce or conclude a summary, and doing so wastes time and words. Start by using the wording of part of the question e.g. ‘The features of the desert were…’

 • Notice exactly which part of the passage is to be summarised in the question and do not include information from other parts of the text.

 Do not forget that 10 words for the summary are already given, therefore try to keep the summary upto or leass than 150 words

 • Your summary must be in a paragraph of continuous writing, not as a list.

 • Use the bullets points to help you structure your piece of writing.

 • You are expected to develop the ideas contained in the passage, and add original details of your own, but your response should remain based on the passage and not stray too far from it. This is not a creative writing exercise.

• It will help you enormously to highlight the material you are going to use in the text, and then write a quick plan in order to organise it into a logical structure before you start writing your response. This will enable you to avoid repetition and to make sure you are fully answering the question.

• Use everything which is relevant, not just some of the material. On the other hand, there may be some parts which you should ignore because they are not covered by the question.

• You should not copy big chunks of text and you should use your own words when not actually giving details.

 • You can either integrate the two, e.g. advantages and disadvantages, or deal with them separately. You can decide on your own structure for your answer, but what matters is that there should be a structure of some kind, and one which the reader can discern.

 • If you are given bullet points to remind you what should be included, use them to check you have covered what is required, and they can also help you to structure your answer. The material from the passage should be put into the appropriate section and not repeated.

 Paper 2  question 2- 25 marks

 • Skim read the passage for gist before you look at the question. Then scan the passage to find the answer to each of the questions in turn.

 • Be aware that the questions are graded in an increasing level of difficulty.

 • The answers to the questions will be found in chronological order in the text.

 • Responding precisely to the wording of the question is very important in this part of the exam.

 • Notice how many marks there are for each question. This will help you to understand the length of the answer and the number of points required. Obviously the question with 2 marks is expecting more than the question with only 1 mark.

 • There is no need to repeat the whole of the question before beginning of your answer. ‘He means that…’ or ‘It is because…’ are enough to provide a grammatical introduction to your sentence.

 • Where you are asked to give a word or words you do not need to answer with a full sentence.

 • When you are asked to find words they are separate not consecutive words unless you are told otherwise. Do not give several words if asked only for one, even if you think there are other correct answers.

 • Notice which questions specifically ask you to use your own words and do not then repeat in your answer any of the words contained in the phrase to be explained.


Revision Guide for O-Level Students

Check list designed by  CIE examiners for the preparation of O-Level English Language subject code-1123

Checklist – tick if against the column you have worked on something similar

Skill: All students should be able to: Those taking the Extended examination should also be able to Ways in which the skills might be practised (appropriate contexts
Reading.Locating specificinformation asquickly as possible =Skimming Read short non-fiction texts, such asleaflets, news reportsand advertisements Cope with more detailed andextensive informative texts • Looking at leaflets, reports, guidelines
• Analysing brochures
Reading.Locating more detailed information;looking morecarefully= Scanning Read longer non-fiction texts, such as articles from newspapers andmagazines Cope with longerand more challenging articles • Reading similar articles (in style and in length) to those seen frequently in past examination papers
• Reading factual articles
• Extracting relevant information from articles
Reading & Writing.Integrated reading and writing 1. Read a text which contains information andrespond using therelevant material from the text Convey a thoroughunderstanding by writing a lengthy response in adifferent genre from the original text • Practising using the same material in different genres
• Practising writing formal letters
  2. Understanddescriptive texts and select relevantinformation and phrases from them Select, explain and analyse the effect of the usage ofcertain phrases in the text • Reading passages from literary texts and identifying the ways in which feeling or atmosphere have been         created
  3. Adopt an appropriate voice in which to express a response to a text Adopt a sophisticated orofficial persona • Practising using different registers and styles for different aims according to                                                specific tasks
  4. Show awareness of audience Target your audience • Practise using devices which show ability to address your audience directly and manipulate its response
  5. Write short summaries Summarise through Note-taking • Writing a summary based on a set of notes of between 7 and 15 points
• Practising the use of own words
• Becoming familiar with the concise and precise language of summary style
Writing 1. Describe, discuss, argue and narrate Carry out longer writing tasks on a range of topics, paying attention tostructure, sequence and style • Writing descriptions of events,places, people using all five senses and imagery
• Planning openings and endings to stories
• Structuring and supporting points for an argument
  2. Use language for a specific purpose, e.g. to persuade, toconsider, to evaluate, to inform, to entertain, toconvey an impression Create sustained and cohesive responses tocontinuous writing tasks,showing an awareness of the generic characteristics ofdifferent types of writing • Writing (and performing) debate speeches
• Balancing ideas for and against a discussion topic
• Analysing the devices used in letters, articles and editorials stating a point of view
• Writing stories which have gripping openings, pace,dialogue, climax,strong endings





When you are doing comprehension questions avoid lifting and try to use your own words. Read the question carefully along with its marking scheme. Be very sure that you have understood how many points are required for the answer. If the marking scheme refers to the question to carry only 1 mark do not waste time in extending your answer to two or three lines. Be precise and to the point because accuracy is very important so don’t lose marks for grammatical mistakes. Keep your answer simple and clear.

The examiner expects the candidate to write clear, big and nice. Generally poor handwriting may be considered a way to hide the mistakes. So, it won’t give a good impression to the examiner.

  • In the reading comprehension question should you read the text first or should you read the question first?

To understand better practice before hand to work out what works best for you in this question. There is no specified answer to this because what suits you may not be applicable for your friend.

  • Will I run out of time if I spend some time to plan my essay?

Planning your essay is a key to writing a good structured essay. Take time to organize and plan your essay because in the long run it will save you time.

  • Watch your time carefully in attempting your writing paper. If you spend so much time on question 1, you may not be left with much time to complete the second question.
  • Do not reproduce learnt essays. You may think that you have fitted it into an essay, however it may not be the case for the examiner.
  • Make sure you have fully answered the Task in directed writing. Tick off all the points as you answer making sure that you haven’t left out any point.
  • If you have finished your work early do not forget to review your work. A lot of marks are lost through simple errors.

Good luck in your exam!


British Council

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