The first two exercises of the IGCSE English as a Second Language Paper 2 are two reading exercises, where you have to answer direct questions based on the text given.

These are reading exercises, because it tests your understanding of the contents of the passage – what it is about, what point the author is trying to make, etc. This is the easiest section in the entire paper so it is important that you nail it and gain maximum marks.

  • First, simply skim through the texts and get an idea of what it is about. Skimming, is simply glancing through the text to catch words and phrases. Find out what kind of text it is (travel brochure, newspaper article, leaflet etc.) and the main idea of each paragraph. For exercise 2, the texts are very similar, designed to confuse you, so it’s easier to look through the questions first and then read the text.
  • Read the questions. Underline the keywords in the questions. Understand what the question is asking you; is it, what, why, when, were or how? Also underline the other key phrases or words (nouns and verbs that tells you what you should look for). Questions can be confusing sometimes so make sure you read the question thoroughly and can pinpoint on what exactly they are asking for. Be wary of questions with signpost phrases like ‘apart from’, ‘rather than’, or ‘according to the graph’; they tell you what exactly you need to find. For exercise 2, be very careful when marking points because they tend to be very similar and requires detailed examination.
    s17_qp22 Exercise 2 (current syllabus’ Exercise 1)
  • For exercise 1, find the answers, by locating the keywords (noun and/or verb) from the question, in the passage. Then read that sentence properly to get the answer. It is also worth noting that, usually, answers will be found in chronological order within the passage. The first questions’s answer will mostly be in the introduction paragraph and the next one in the second paragraph and so on. (However, for the last question of Exercise 2 you will need to scan the entire passage to find the answer).
    Some questions are very specific, so the answers are very easy to find.
    Others you will have to read between the lines– you have to look at what the author is implying- what he means. Some questions will also use synonyms of the words used in the passage simply to confuse you! So make sure you know your vocabulary!
    Remember, you don’t have to come up with your own answers, everything is there in the passage itself; it’s a reading exercise, not writing.
    For exercise 2, you have to match each point to the corresponding person/thing. You will have to examine each paragraph closely and choose which para the given point matches to.
  • Write the answer of a question once you’ve found it from the passage. You won’t lose marks for spelling and grammar mistakes, again, because it is a reading exercise. You can copy the text from the passage itself; you don’t have to write in your own words! You don’t even have to write in full sentence! As long as the answer is correct, no worries! For exercise 2, just write the person/thing the point corresponds to, given in the text. Nothing more.

Time Management

For the core paper 1, spend about 15 minutes on the first two reading exercises.

For the extend paper 2, spend around 20 minutes on the first two reading exercises. The first passage is relatively easy to find answers for. So quickly finish it up. The second exercise requires a little more detailed reading, so allot more time for it.

Notes submitted by Lintha

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