Learner Guide for Cambridge
The guide describes what you need to know about your IGCSE English as a Second Language) examination. It will help you to plan your revision programme for the examinations and will explain what we are looking for in your answers. It can also be used to help you to revise by using the tick boxes in Section 4, ‘What you need to do’, to check what you have revised. The guide contains the following sections: Section 1: How will you be tested?
This section gives you information about the different Examination Papers that you will take. Section 2: Examination tips This section gives you advice to help you do as well as you can. Some of the tips are general advice and some are based on the common mistakes that learners make in exams. Section 3: What will be tested? This section describes the areas of knowledge, understanding and skills that the examination papers will test you on. Section 4: What you need to do This section shows the syllabus in a simple way so that you can check that: • You have practised each skill. You can understand and respond, in English, in a variety of contexts and situations. • You are well prepared for the level of examination (Core or Extended) you will be taking. • You have covered enough topics and themes to be able to show your skills in writing and speaking English. Section 5: Useful websites Section 6: Appendix
This section shows you the importance of the command words and phrases that are used in examination questions. It also gives you additional hints and details, which will help you feel more confident when you take the examination. Cambridge International Examinations 2012 Learner Guide for Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language Section 1: How will you be tested? You will probably take three parts: • Reading and Writing question Paper • Listening question Paper • Speaking Test There are two different options for IGCSE: Option 1: The first option is detailed below: you take two papers – the Reading and Writing paper, and the Listening paper, which together make up your grade. Let’s look at the first two papers you will take. If your teacher thinks you should enter for the Core examination, you will take Papers 1 and 3.
If your teacher thinks you should enter for the Extended examination, you will take Papers 2 and 4. Your teacher will assess your skills towards the end of your IGCSE course and will discuss with you which Papers and which level of examination (Core or Extended) you should take. You may also wish to discuss the decision with your parents. Paper number and level of examination.
You will also, normally, take an Oral test, either Paper 5 or Paper 6, which tests your speaking skills. Paper Number Paper 5 Speaking Test How long and How many marks? Up to 15 minutes 30 marks What’s in the Paper? What’s the % of the total mark? Not included in your grade. A separate result is given. A conversation with the Examiner and a discussion of a topic on a card chosen by the Examiner. OR:v Paper 6 Oral Coursework Completed during Coursework – 3 different your course. speaking activities, e. g. roleplay, telephone (30 marks) conversation, interview.
The tests will be conducted and marked by your teacher during your course. Not included in your grade. A separate result is given. These Oral Tests do not contribute to your overall result, because they are marked as a separate examination, and you will be given a separate result. You should ask your teacher if you are taking Paper 5 or 6. Option 2: The second option is detailed below. The difference is that the mark for your Speaking Test is included in your grade. This is called ‘Count-in Oral’. 30% of your overall mark is shared between Listening and Speaking – 15% for each skill.
Some of the tips are general advice and some are based on the common mistakes that learners make in exams. Reading and Writing: Paper 1 – Core Level Paper 2 – Extended Level Exercises 1 and 2 • • Read quickly (skim) through the text – concentrate on finding the main idea in each paragraph. As you read, underline any names, numbers or dates. Use the pictures and other visuals to help you understand. Read the questions carefully and make a note of any questions that need two pieces of information in the answer. If there are two lines, this means that you should write one answer on each line.
Underline the question word and think about what it means: ‘Where’ means ‘a place’; ‘How’ means ‘in what way’, and ‘Why’ means look for a reason or cause. Underline other important words in the question – nouns and verbs provide information that you might need to find in the text. Try to match the words in the question with the correct point in the text. (This is called ‘scanning’). When you locate the sentence, read it more carefully to find the exact answer. If you can’t match any words, remember, the word in the question might be a synonym of the word in the text.
If you still can’t locate the right answer, read up or down from the sentence you found, or guess! Don’t write full sentences in your answer. Keep your answers short – a date or number or a few words will be enough to get a mark. Too much writing can waste your time, and, if you give too much information, you might include wrong details which could mean you lose a mark. You can copy the words from the text – you don’t need to use your own words. If you write in your own words, you won’t lose a mark as long as you include all the correct information needed in the question.
Look out for and learn the meaning of signpost phrases such as ‘apart from’, or ‘rather than’, or ‘According to the graph’, and make sure you understand what they refer to. Remember! The questions follow the order of the text in Exercises 1 and 2. The only exception to this is in Paper 2 – Extended Level – in Exercise 2 you need to look back at the whole text to find answers to the last question.
Handwriting is important too, because you often have to write names, addresses, or other Proper Nouns. Examiners are looking for the correct use of capital letters, so you must make these completely clear when you write. If you have to write an answer on the line, remember – make it a short answer! Do you know how to use Tick, Underline, Circle, and Delete? If not, ask your teacher to explain. Remember that you’re completing this exercise as if you are the person in the text, so you must use ‘I’ or ‘we’. Answers with ‘he’, ‘she’, or ‘they’ will get no marks. The last section of this exercise is different: • • • • © Cambridge International Examinations 2012 Learner Guide for Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language Extended Level – one sentence – make sure it is a) within the word limit, b) completely accurate, c) relevant (it answers the question). Core Level – two sentences – make sure they are a) completely accurate, b) relevant (they answer the question). What does accuracy mean? • i) ii) iii) iv) start your sentence with a capital letter finish your sentence with a full stop write a full and complete sentence, using a subject and verb don’t start your sentence with ‘and’, ‘but’ or ‘because’.
Exercise 4 • • Use the same skills for reading and understanding as you did in Exercises 1 and 2. Try to connect the headings with parts of the text, so that your answers correspond to the right heading. Correct answers in the wrong place don’t get any marks! Notice the bullet points at the beginning of each line and write short answers that fit the space on the line – remember this is a note-taking exercise. Although your answer must be short, make sure you include all the key information. • • Exercise 5 – General Advice In this exercise you need to write a summary based on the text you have read.
In a summary you should: • Keep to the word limit – before the examination, check how many words you write on a line, then you’ll know how many lines you will need. • Include all the key facts relating to the subject of your summary. This will mean looking again at the entire text and underlining relevant points. Try to connect your ideas into a paragraph using linking words. If you use your own words instead of copying from the text, you have more chance of getting a higher mark for language. • • Paper One – Core Level • • Use your notes from Exercise 4, but you might not need all of them. Don’t ust make a list of the points in your notes. Try to write connected sentences. Linking words will help you do this. Keep on the topic and use your own words if you can. • Paper Two – Extended Level • Read the instructions carefully – do you need to summarise the whole text or just part of it?