Tuesday, September 8, 2015



On October 2nd, students from 2nd senior will be sitting for their IGCSE mock test. Cambridge IGCSE First Language English is designed for learners whose first language is English. The aim of the program is to help students develop the ability to communicate clearly, accurately and effectively in both speech and writing. They learn how to employ a wide-ranging vocabulary, use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, and develop a personal style and an awareness of the audience being addressed. Learners are also encouraged to read widely, both for their own enjoyment and to further their awareness of the ways in which English can be used.

General advice

Whichever examination(s) you are taking for your IGCSE course, there are some things you can remember to do in order to give you the best chance of success:

  • Work through the paper in the order set – there is nothing to be gained by going to the final question first and in fact often it will work against you as some tasks build up.
  • Make sure that you plan your time in the exam to allow for you to edit your answers – leave time to CHECK and CHANGE. You will almost certainly have made a mistake somewhere or be able just to add in a detail – those changes could make all the difference to your final answers. Use carets (^) or asterisks (*) to add extra material above the line or at the end of the piece.
  • Do not be afraid to make corrections, using a line through the word(s) and making a clear substitution above or with an asterisk below.
  • Pay close attention to the marks available to make sure that you are spending the right amount of time and effort on each part of your exam
  • Look out for the key words in a question and underline them – what exactly is the question asking you to do? Watch out too for any help being offered to you in the question itself. We want you to do as well as you can, so the questions are worded carefully to help you to focus your attention in the right area.
  • Do not write rough drafts. You cannot afford the time to write out every answer twice, and it is neither required nor desirable that you should do so; plans are sufficient.
  • Have a pen and a spare with which you can write neatly – we need to be able to read your answers!
  •  Suggestions for length are given as a number of pages and are there to help you understand what is expected and what is possible within the time limit. Don’t write much more as you will not have time to check it and may lose marks. If you finish the exam early, go back and check your answers again; you may have missed something.
  • Use commas to separate clauses in a sentence. It is sometimes difficult to follow meaning where they have not been used and should have been. Watch out though that you are not using commas as substitutes for full-stops - this is called ‘comma-splicing’ and will lose you marks.
  • Keep up your concentration to the end of the examination. Often students start well and then their writing declines in quality as they get tired. Sentence structure, as well as tidiness of handwriting, tends to deteriorate as time passes. Try to keep producing mature vocabulary even when you’d rather take the easy option and write on auto-pilot; the last questions carry as many marks as the first.



The best of luck!

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