FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH Paper 0500/01 Reading Passage General comments Not all candidates fully appreciated the circumstances surrounding the character in the reading passage. However, most found the material accessible, and the interest aroused by it was evident in the many perceptive responses produced for the writing task in Question 2. As has been noted in reports on previous examinations, most candidates performed slightly better on Question 2 than Question 1. Although most showed a sound general understanding of the events of the reading passage, not all succeeded in selecting sufficiently precise details to score highly in those sub-questions which carried more than one mark. A related misreading this time came from those candidates who failed to appreciate that the first paragraph of the passage consisted of just over one line which resulted in their attempting to answer Questions 1(b) and 1 (i) from the wrong paragraphs and, consequently, denying themselves the marks available for these questions. However, a similar number of candidates realised their mistake as they worked their way through the questions and revised their answers accordingly. Presentation and Use of Time Although some candidates’ handwriting was rather wild and badly formed there were very few responses that required deciphering skills. Generally, however, there was evidence that candidates had taken great care to arrange their responses neatly and clearly. Most candidates seem to have found it possible to complete the whole paper within the time allowed, with little or no evidence of haste. Incomplete papers were very rare, but just occasionally candidates missed out parts of Question 1, perhaps as a result of approaching the paper with undue haste. Comments on specific questions Question 1 (a) This question asked why the man in the story was able to see the huts in the darkness. The answer, which most candidates gave correctly, was because of the (flashes of) lightning. This question produced very few problems although it should be noted that many candidates wrote considerably more than was necessary. (b) The question asked for words or phrases from paragraph 2 to describe the way in which the rain moved towards the man and then to explain what the selected words told the reader about the rain. Unfortunately, many candidates responded by quoting from paragraph 3 and consequently lost all 4 marks available for this question. Where candidates chose the correct paragraph, responses were often accurate, with some good explanations of the words or phrases chosen. The most common choices were sweeping up in great sheets; methodical advance; gigantic rustle. Candidates who successfully identified two of these phrases were rewarded with one mark for each; however, the other two available marks were reserved for those who gave an explanation of the phrases which indicated that they had been clearly understood. A pleasing number of candidates achieved full marks for the question; however those who gave explanations such as
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