Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tips on how to write answers to the questions appearing at the end of Passage 2 in GCE O’ Level English

Tips on how to write answers to the questions appearing at the end of Passage 2 in GCE O’ Level English

1.      Read first 2/3 questions. It will help make your mind keen enough.
2.      Then give the passage a quick, thorough reading.
3.      Next, once finished with your first reading, get back to the questions area. Read all 2/3 questions set against paragraph 1. Then holding a pencil or pen, underline areas where you find their answers.
4.      Why to read all 2/3 questions constructed on a paragraph?
(It helps you know how much information/detail is to be given responding to each of the question, or else you are likely to do the mistake of giving detail in an answer which is, in fact, required in the answer to the next question.
5.      Mentally arrange your answer first before writing. See, how many words you can substitute with different (own words) easily. Substituting all words is not required.
6.      Write your answer--- always write a complete short sentence, and never depend on just a phrase (even if the marking scheme allows to), because it’s been noticed that many of the candidates end up giving a structurally wrong phrase which is incapable of communicating the right answer.
7.      Write in dark blue or black pen to help your answers become conveniently visible for the examiner.
8.      Give just as much information as is required. Avoid giving extra detail.
9.      Always number your points in your answer for a question that carries two marks.
10. On Vocabulary Question:
a)     Never write a complete sentence.
b)    Always write a short phrase which should be no more than seven (07) words.
c)     Do not write literal meanings of the words.
d)    Write meanings that are contextually closer to the words.
e)  Even if you do not know literal meaning of a word, you can successfully sense its meaning by reading that part of the text repeatedly.
f)  Remember, knowing literal meanings of words is neither necessary, nor humanly possible since there are millions of words which no one can memorize.
g) Your talent and skill ‘To sense the meaning of a given word’ is what the examiner, in fact, asks for.
h) Always manage to review your answers. Stay assured, we all commit minor mistakes while writing for the first time since human mind, during that while, remains in the grip of thought process.

Tips and Techniques for Summary Writing in Passage 1 in GCE O' Level English (1123)

Tips and Techniques for Summary Writing

1.        By holding a pencil, underline all vocabulary words in the points box.
Next, write a synonymous word close to each word. 

         Fixing      Enough  
The idea of installing sufficient number of lifeboats was contemplated but rejected.
Thought of            discarded               
2.        Incorporate more than one point in each of your sentences.
The idea of fixing enough lifeboats was considered by the manufacturers but was discarded to avoid needless expense, thinking that Titanic would not sink.
3.        Avoid using passive voice wherever it is possible.
Passive: The captain was not listened to by the owner.
Active: (The owner did not listen to the captain.)

4.        Do not write the obvious.

Steve started eating healthy food

I love to wear a cap

She drank a glass of water

Father took his medicine regularly

to be able to gain strength.

on my head.

to quench her thirst.

to be able to get rid of the disease.

5.        Use single word adjective or adverb rather than adj. clause and adv. clause

Adj. Clause
A man with gigantic height came close to him.
A tall man came close to him.
Adv Clause
They played football showing lots of energy.
They played football energetically.
6.        Never write superfluous and pointless text.
Superfluous Text
There are many benefits of reading books. Some of them are simply superb with which you can excel others around. For example, you enhance your knowledge on finding solutions to a variety of issues. Another benefit is that reading helps you improve your expressive power.
Reading books helps you enhance your knowledge and expression.

7.        Do not write synonymous words.
Each and every player was equally interested.
Every boy was interested.
Michael called him over and over again.
Michael called him repeatedly. Or Michael called him again.

8.        Do not use an adverb to describe an adjective to emphasize the significance of something.
·          …but that was absolutely useless.
…but that was useless.
·          Mother told him it was unavoidably important.
Mother told him it was important.
·          It was highly appealing.
It was appealing.

9.        Do not use ‘that’ in reported speech.
·          Mother told him that it was important.
Mother told him it was important.
·          Sami suggested that we should relax for a while, but we were so very excited that we rejected the idea.
Sami suggested to relax, but we rejected the idea.
10.     Avoid giving reason where it seems unnecessary.
Sami suggested that we should relax for a while, but we were so very excited that we rejected the idea.
11.     Shrink clauses to phrases and phrases to single words.
The man who was wearing a big, blue coloured cap came forward.
The man wearing a cap came forward.
It was a lecture that covered every aspect of the topic.
It was a comprehensive lecture.
12.     Precision: Be precise and write single words instead of definitions.
I realized its importance was more than usual.
I t was doubly important.
She had a whole collection of documents that contained detailed information about the event.
She had a dossier on the event.
A person who is too curt in his or her dealing
For years dreadful memories of the crime she had committed kept coming to her mind.
For years she was haunted by guilt.
A situation that does not allow any viable solution
Sami was feeling extremely irritated and he dropped the idea of attending his cousin’s birthday party.
Frustrated, Sami changed his mind.
13.     When showing contrast, use connectors.
On the other hand, on the contrary

14.     Sometimes, you can show a list of so many points in a single sentence.
She had many different chores to do before moving to the market. She was to cook food as per her husband’s desire. She had a pile of washable clothes waiting for her to finish. Next, she wanted to make a couple of important phone calls that seemed unavoidable. Also, she was planned to reading a book review on her laptop.
Cooking, washing, making phone calls and reading a book review were the jobs to be finished before her moving to the market.
15.     Your summary must be continuous prose, and not in points form.

16.     Do not paragraph. Your summary must appear as a single paragraph.

17.     Use formal language words.
Concerning/pertaining to
Man, boy
18.     Keep having a look at the list of serious errors and minor errors.
1.        Wrong verb forms.
2.        Serious tense errors.
3.        Serious errors of sentence structure, especially in setting up subordination.
4.        Omission or obvious misuse of prepositions.
5.        Wholesale misunderstanding over the meanings of words used.
6.        Serious errors of agreement.
7.        Ingrained weakness of punctuation, i.e. the habitual comma replacing the necessary full stop.
8.        Mis-spellings of a minor nature. Count as a serious error when the form of the word is severely mangled.
9.        Obvious slips of repetition or omission.
10.    Breakdown of sense.

·         Minor errors of punctuation, i.e. the failure to complete pairs of commas in parenthetical
·         Phrases/clauses, omissions of stops after introductory words like 'however'.

Guidelines on How to do Comprehension Passage 1 in GCE O' Level English (1123)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

‘Essentials to a Prosperous Life’ by Hassan Bukhari (of class O’ Levels Final Year) offers you a pack of inspiring tips that can certainly help raise a bit of reflection towards the way you are, and the way you’d like to see yourself. While the web-world is already crammed with such ‘life changing’ inspirational stuff, giving these 700 words a quick read won’t be a waste of time --- for sure!

Essentials for a prosperous life
Remember the last time you lost hope? Or when criticism won the war against your will, hopes and dreams? Or when you lost yourself in the flood of critics and so called friends?
All this happens and no one can ever deny it, what I am going to pinpoint here are some fact no-one out there can contradict. I hope this can help some who have not yet lost them to others or rather this cruel world! And for those who have, it’s never too late.

Be sincere to yourself
People love telling this to you, and I bet you hear it every single time you find yourself sitting in some life counseling seminar whatsoever. But how many of us do really follow this? Guess what, none! You know what this actually means? Have you ever tried to actually listen to what the red organ in your chest has to say? A friend wrote this and I believe this explains everything:

“What’s the best escape? 
Is it a veil to pretend to yourself that you are not a frail?
Why is it that you are not you?
Is not it that hard to get it through?
The mask is just a sweet lie stopping you from being true
The mask you put on was a high score.
Now you’re trapped the mask is the door.
And when you come out, it won’t be you anymore.
It’s been long since you became a chalk on the floor.
The mask was a shadow you should have known.
It’s too late now that you are overthrown.
But say HI to you for me.
For me, when you are alone.
For me, when you are home...”

And remember, when you are sincere to you, you are sincere to people around you as well and that’s what your enemies don’t want to see, so make sure of their defeat.

Ignore the critics
There are two kinds of people in this world, ones who criticize you to make a better you, and the others who criticize you to see you lose hope and get solely crushed. Make sure you can differentiate between the two.

Follow your dreams
This is my favorite part. When you are true to yourself, when you are not ashamed of who you are, only then you can concentrate on your passions and live up to them. We don’t want to wake up one random morning and say “what the hell am I doing?” This is when you feel there is no place for you in this world and you start criticizing yourself and others around. Never let worthless things like peer pressure keep you from who you are and what you want to be. Do what you believe is right for you and be the best of what you make.

 You are the best judge of you
Remember that aunt, yes the one who likes picking flaws in you and always comparing you with either her own children or the ones next door. Guys! Not for a moment should you ever doubt yourself just because of her. Indeed, you know what is best for you, now I am not saying that you should neglect what others have to say, but neither should you try to be anybody you are not. You are the best judge of you and let that stay as it is.

Spend some time solo
Yeah, you heard me. Spend some time with the one I call “you”. The global village this planet has turned out to be makes me think a hundred times before I can agree to stay alone. Parties, hangouts and a lot of other ridiculous stuff like that. Spend some time alone; let it be somewhere in the basement or the attic but please! ---For your own sake, don’t lose yourself in the crowd! I don’t need to mention what you should do, but when the time comes you will know what to make of it.

Only you can help yourself
Wow, I just wrote 700 words! For whose sake, if I may ask?? My own?! Yes, that’s right. I wrote this for myself, not for some boring old blog but for me! --- Because I would like to help myself. Gradually, I have come to understand I am the one who can help me because I am sincere to myself, believe in myself, follow my passion and I myself can only be the best judge of me!

Hassan Bukhari
O’ Level Final Year
PakTurk International Schools
Chak Shahzad Campus

‘Natural Disasters’ is a thought-provoking piece of writing by Sohaib Zahir Sayed of class O’ levels final year! See, he’s given an attention-grabbing opening to his essay; has successfully provided information in the form of statistics, facts and figures, and has discussed the factors involved behind such ravaging natural calamities humans keep getting hit from time to time. Let’s laud our dear Sohaib’s attempt!

Natural Disasters

It was a frosty morning of December with a flurry of snow falling, covering the whole ground with a white soft sheet.

The temperature was around -2 when I, reluctantly, got out of my warm bed. After having taken a delightful warm shower, I changed my sleeping dress and came out of my room. Next, I rushed to my fathers room to wake him up because we both were to pay a visit to Aunt Saima who had had a small accident last evening, and was consequently hospitalized. Once having made sure father was wide awake, I dashed to my own room upstairs to put my mobile phone onto the charger. As I was about to pick up the charger, the wooden floor of my room started trembling raucously. I bawled” Mama, it’s an earthquake.” And spurt down to the ground floor to see whether she was safe enough.


“At around 9:00 in the morning, northern areas of Pakistan were hit by a devastating earthquake of destructive magnitude of 8.3. It has wrecked havoc. Houses were dismantled in many areas, roads lying fractured, and numerous tall buildings were collapsed. The intricate communication system has been enormously interrupted as a result of which some of mountainous cities have got cut off from the rest of Pakistan” News anchors were busy blurting out shocking details.

In total 25,000 houses were eradicated from the face of earth; 33km of road was fractured, 8750 people died and a total financial loss of 3.7 billion dollars was estimated by the ministry of information a month later after the earthquake.

Ever since that tragic moment of my life, I have been doing some research on natural disasters and I have got quite a few answers to questions like why natural disasters occur, how they can be prevented etc.

A natural disaster is a major adverse event resulted in earths natural processes. There are many types of natural disasters. To list a few are earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, avalanches, floods, etcetera.

When we have a look at the history, it comes out natural calamities have been hitting humans’ puny settlements and destroying them effortlessly since time immemorial. Man has been curious to know about the reasons behind such occurrences and which is why science along with religion have been giving their answers.

Science explains that natural disasters occur due to disorder in natures cycle, like floods are triggered due to heavy rain showers, and heavy rain is caused by increased heat caused by mans caustic activities like deforestation, pollution etc. that lead to furthering the damage to already injured ozone layer.

On the other hand, religions answer that natural calamities are from Gods side at regular intervals just to warn man and test his resilience, patience, and obligatory abilities. Moreover, these disasters occur when society is inclined towards sinful and evil activities that attract God’s wrath.

Although, science and religion have proved that natural disasters cannot be stopped from happening, but what one can do is to curtail its holocausts effects to some extent by reducing pollution, stopping deforestation etc. Man has developed such technology that can detect disastrous weathers and signs to help evacuate such areas in advance from humans, animals and other assets so as to save lives and avoid other losses.

We also need to rectify our manners to help us avert Gods wrath. Big powers, this day, are mostly busy suppressing those around in a race to establish their monopoly. Moreover, interest-based economy too is a form cruelty. These and other kinds of cruelty on earth, I believe, need to be mitigated sooner than later. If so happens, we will obviously be safe from being faced with such seismic disorders that result in ravaging natural calamities, and will start enjoying much peaceful a time on earth, or else such brutal earthquakes will go on hitting us even harder in future.

This world runs in an ostentatious order and we are to keep it same or be ready to face the ravaging natural calamities?

May those rest in eternal peace, who lost their lives in 2005 and in such other natural disasters. Amen!

Written by: Sohaib Zahir

Thursday, January 16, 2014

'Despite my best endeavours I could not save the boy...' is Umar Khan's debut --- an engaging story with a natural flow. The text has an impressive vocabulary. Sentence structure is the area, however, Umar needs to work on. I personally believe Umar does hold a genuine flair for writing. In the days to come, much more is likely to be shared from this boy because Umar Khan of class O-2 is fast in doing the things. Happy reading!

Despite my best endeavours I could not save the boy...

I will never forget those small, innocent, terrified eyes, for the incident haunts me to this very day. Despite my best endeavours I could not save that boy.

It was a bright, sunny day --- just the sort of day when I feel like leaving my abode in the mountains for a hiking trip. I was geared and ready within half an hour. The hiking trails were not far from my house, so I decided to take a stroll. When I reached the trails I looked up at the enormous mountain peaks.

“Today, I’ll touch the top, no matter what,” I said to myself.

Without wasting a moment more, I started up the mountains. Knowing the technique for hiking, I started off slow, saving up most of my stamina for the final sprint. The trail got steeper as I climbed further. Gradually, I reached the point where I could climb no further without clinging to anything.

I was out of breath and my legs felt heavy and numb. I could feel my blood as it left my heart and raced across my body. The trail showed no sign of ending any time soon; and although I had climbed for more than an hour, any sign of the summit seemed far.

“I’ll never make it,” I thought breathing heavily, after I was sure I could go no higher. Only two or three thousand metres up the trail, I would be all washed out.

I was about to relinquish, when I heard a faint cry. At first I perceived it to be an animal, but after putting my ears to the sound, I could make out a voice. Someone was asking for help. I followed the voice which seemed to be coming from the edge over which I was busy balancing myself.

I climbed a little higher to reach the source of the sound, and that was exactly what I found. A small boy clung to the under-side of the cliff. He was struggling to keep his balance, for that is what would save his life. Springing forward I grabbed his hands. He looked up, his eyes filled with tears.

“Help me!” he said. “I’m scared, mister!”

“Don’t you worry, son. It’ll be alright.” I tried to calm him.”

Without losing a second I tried to push him up, but my feet quivered to lose ground.

“My mother must be looking for me,” he said between sobs, “I’m all she has left.”

His frail form hanging from those cruel rocks brought tears to my eyes. I could read in his eyes that he wasn’t lying. Knowing that I would not be able to hold on for long, I began to shout for help. But the only answer I got was my own echo. I knew full well that the nearest population was at the foot of the mountains, and there wasn’t enough time for anybody to reach this tragic scene.

To top it all off, I was badly sweating, and the moisture made my hands slippery. The boy having realized the grasp was loosening, reached out to grab my arm, but unfortunately he lost hold of my hand and before he could grab me with his other hand, gravity got to him.

Mommmmm.......!!”. The next moment, I helplessly saw him rolling down into the abyss below.

Noooo.......!!” I screamed.

After a few seconds, I could see his small, lifeless body resting on the rocks below me. I stood up. As I was walking away, I looked over my shoulder one last time and I thought: “life isn’t fair.”

By Umar Khan
Class O’ Levels 2nd year
PakTurk International Schools
Chak Shahzad Campus