Category: 2018 English A Format

CSEC English A Construction Shift Questions

Construction Shift can be found of paper 1 of the CSEC English A paper. This activity is good to pair with summary because it helps to teach students how to paraphrase.
What is construction shift?
The term construction means to build, create or recreate. 
On the other hand, the word shift can mean ‘to move’ or ‘ a slight change in position’. 
 So in short, in construction shift you recreate the sentence or shift phrases in the sentence based on the instructions given by the question; however, you should not change the overall meaning of the sentence.


Rewrite the sentence in your head, following the directions given below. Keep in mind that your new sentence should be well written and should have essentially the same meaning as the sentence given you. Click the letter next to your choice for an instant response.

1.Being a female jockey, she was often interviewed.

Rewrite, beginning with
She was often interviewed . . .
The next words would be

a. on account of she was
b. by her being
c. because she was
d. being as she was

2. In her songs, Ani DiFranco makes melody and lyrics intricately intertwine.

Rewrite, beginning with
Melody and lyrics
Your new sentence will include

a. Ani DiFranco has
b. make Ani DiFranco’s
c. in Ani DiFranco’s
d. does Ani DiFranco

3.It is easy to carry solid objects without spilling them, but the same cannot be said of liquids.

Rewrite, beginning with
Unlike liquids,
The next words will be

a. it is easy to
b. we can easily
c. solid objects can easily be
d. solid objects are easy to be

4. Excited children ran towards the loud music, and they told others about the ice cream truck outside.

Rewrite, beginning with
The excited children who had run toward the loud . . .
The next words will be

a. music, they told
b. music told
c. music, telling
d. music and had told

5. If he had enough strength, Shaun would move the boulder.

Rewrite, beginning with
Shaun cannot move the boulder
The next words will be

a. when lacking
b. because he
c. although there
d. without enough

6. The band began to play, and then the real party started.
Rewrite, beginning with
The real party started . . .
The next words will be

a. after the band began
b. and the band began
c. although the band began
d. the band beginning

7. Alisa heard no unusual noises when she listened in the park.

Rewrite, beginning with
Listening in the park, . . .
The next words will be

a. no unusual noises could be heard
b. then Alisa heard no unusal noises
c. and hearing no unusal noises
d. Alisa heard no unusal noises

8. The hikers were at the bottom of the canyon, and they discovered an abandoned mineshaft

Rewrite, beginning with
After the hikers were . . .
The next words will be

a. at the bottom of the canyon, and they discovered an abandoned mineshaft.
b. at the bottom of the canyon, they discovered an abandoned mineshaft.
c. at the bottom of the canyon they discovered an abandoned mineshaft.
d. at the bottom of the canyon when they discovered an abandoned mineshaft.

9. Good money managers control their present expenses, and they invest surplus dollars to meet their future needs.

Rewrite the sentence using because
The best choice will be

a. Good money managers, because they control their present expenses, they invest surplus dollars to meet their future needs.
b. Because good money managers control their present expenses, they can invest surplus dollars to meet their needs.
c. Because good money managers control their present expenses they invest surplus dollars to meet their needs.
d. Good money managers control their expenses, because they invest surplus dollars to meet their future needs.

10. In a large city, you may have massive traffic jams on your daily commute to work.

Rewrite the sentence omitting you
The best choice will be

a. In a large city, a person may have massive traffic jams on your daily commute to work.
b. In a large city, a resident may have massive traffic jams on his daily commute to work.
c. In a large city, massive traffic jams may be part of the daily commute to work.
d. In a large city, massive traffic jams may be part of the everyday commute on the way to work.

Resource site:


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CSEC English A Summary Writing Practice

Practice Question 1

Summarize the passage below in no more than 50 words.

There is a fourth dimension to any garden that may often be overlooked. This is the dimension of fragrance, and although its appreciation is not new, it seems to have been cast aside to make room for texture, form and color. Fragrance is subjective, and opinions of it diverse, but it is unquestionable that the garden planted with scented flowers offers the added bonus of fragrance in addition to form and color. It has been said that smell is the sense that is most memorable and that none of the other senses is more subtle in its suggestions or more reminiscent of a certain time.

The purpose of a flower’s fragrance is thought to be that of an attractant to nectar-feeding insects. Not all perfumes are found in the flowers, however. Scents may also be found in roots, bark, gum or oils, leaves, stalks and sometimes in the seeds.

Generally, fragrant flowers are lightly colored or white.  Although brilliantly colored flowers are not usually fragrant, there are exceptions. Flowers that are thick in texture, such as citrus, magnolia and gardenia, are often the most distinctive and intense in scent.



Sample CSEC Application Letter Past Paper Question

Read the following carefully and answer the question set on it.


A vacancy exists for a Sales Representative with a dynamic sports goods firm.
No experience is necessary but applicants should have at least three years of secondary education.
Participation in Sports would be an asset, as well as a knowledge of popular indoor games.
All applications should be in the form of a letter in the applicants’ own handwriting and should be addressed to:
The Personnel Manager
West Indies Sports Goods Ltd
P.O. Box 103
Imagine that you have seen he above advertisement in your local newspaper. Write a letter of application for this position.
(30 marks)
(1991 CSEC Past Paper Question)

Your answer will be assessed on how well you: 

 formatted your letter

 selected relevant and complete information

 organized and expressed the information in your letter

 used appropriate grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, spelling and punctuation.

Your letter MUST be in continuous prose.


Completing the CSEC English A and B SBA

For the first time in our history high school students who are sitting the CSEC English A and B Examination in May 2018 sitting will be required to complete an English A and B School Based Assessment (SBA) . As such, students are asked to prepare the English A and B School Based Assessment  as a project based grade that will be twinned with their English A and B exam marks  to produce their final CSEC  Exam grade.

Starting The SBA

Before starting the SBA process it is recommended that you do the following (click below for links):
  1. Know the SBA Outline
  2. Review the Updated CSEC English A and B Syllabus
  3. Read the CSEC SBA Notes for Teachers and Students
  4. Listen to CSEC Webinar that was held on September 30, 2017

Where to Begin

It is expected that after you fully understand the outline of the SBA. You can then create your SBA groups, selected your group theme and individual topics.
It is important to note that your individual topics should not be too broad. 

For Example:

Theme: The Environment
Broad Topic: Air
The questions is what about air would you want to discuss or review in your SBA? This topic is too broad and so students might select stimuli that are too wide and do not focus on any one particular issue/event/theme.
Narrow Topic: How pollution affects the environment?
This suggestion does not mean that this is the only way you can phrase your individual topic. However, this is one way of narrowing the topic. When the topic is narrow, your research will be more focused. It will also be easier to find stimuli that are geared towards your topic.

What  Next?

The following steps can be done in any order you cho0se. You can either write your plan of investigation or find your three stimuli. For details about the various stimuli click the link (HERE). 
Some persons choose to find their stimuli first so that they can know whether or not to modify their topics. Individual topics are often modified because it is difficult to find artifacts based on the topic. If you decide to modify your topic please ensure that you consult with your group mates because you don’t want to select a topic that someone else is doing or for there to be any overlap in topics chosen.  Also, if you modify your individual topic this change must be reflected in your plan of investigation if your plan was written before.

Finding SBA Stimuli

In order to make the process of finding the SBA artifacts easier the following can be taken into consideration:
  1. Review how to research (The research I am referring to is finding stimuli that are inline with your individual topic. This can be done via the internet). There is no need to create your own stimuli. This is not required. Additionally, this can be problematic when it comes time to write the reflection. 
  2.  Distinguish between fake and credible news  (It is important to note that not all news sources are credible or up to date. This distinction must be able to be made by you. You will also need to review facts and opinions)
  3. Ensure that the stimuli selected reflects your individual topic 

Plan of Investigation 

Your plan of investigation must be 100 words. After you have written your plan of investigation, it is important that you compare what you have written to the SBA mark scheme. To my knowledge there is no one set formula or format to writing the plan of investigation. It is only crucial that you include the areas that you are being marked for.
These areas are:
  1. Why did you choose this issue/topic/theme/event? This reason must be original (3 marks)
  2. What are the expected benefits to you as a student of English?  These should be sound and attainable. (3 marks)
  3. The use of language skills outlined and state how they will be used  (2 marks)
  4. How do you intend to collect relevant information on your issue/topic/theme/event and use this in your presentation (2 marks)
Please note that although the plan of investigation is marked out of 10 the final grade will be divided by 2. Do not worry about this step because it does not affect your overall grade.  This is just scaling the marks so that the plan of investigation is marked out of 5. There is no 1/2 or .5 grade that is given in CSEC; so if your final grade is 3.5 it will be round up to 4 marks.

The Reflection

Here are a few tips before writing the reflection:
  1. read/watch/listen to your three stimuli to ensure that you have an understanding of each
  2. analyse all three stimuli. You can use the data analysis questions from the Achieve Book 4 SBA guide (HERE) Please note CSEC has modify the Plan of Investigation and other areas that are featured in this document since its publication. Therefore, only note the recommended sections.
  3. Know the different aspects of the reflection and the mark scheme. See Reflection Guidelines in the Notes for SBA listed above.
It is important to know that the reflection should be a discussion. All artefacts must be integrated in the discussion instead of presented as stand alone pieces. A good writing structure to use is the comparison contrast structure. This can show the similarities and differences between the stimuli as you discuss the different areas of the reflection.  You can find a sample reflection  (HERE). Please note CSEC has modify the Plan of Investigation and other areas that are featured in this document since its publication. Therefore, only note the recommended sections.

Oral Presentation

For the actual SBA portfolio you will only need to include an Oral Presentation Outline. This guideline includes: 
  1. Brief Introduction
  2. Individual Topic
  3. State how you will present your topic
  4. State the Language you will use
  5. Your sources used for the presentation
The guidelines will be taken from what you did in your 3-5 minutes oral presentation. Your oral presentation grade will be based on your actual oral presentation. Your  Oral Presentation Outline is what the CSEC examiners will read to have an idea of what you did for your oral presentation.  
The oral presentation is your personal response to the SBA. As a personal response you can share your thought, feelings, etc, in a genre of your choice. Remember, that any genre that is chosen you should be the only presenter because it is an individual grade. As an individual piece this is not a group presentation. As a group, you can consult with your group members, help each other to edit the presentation or do mock presentations for each other.
Things to consider when doing the Oral Presentation:
  1. Review presentation skills
  2. Think about what you have learnt so far in the SBA process and what you would like to say about what you have gathered
  3. Practice your presentation
  4. Ensure your presentation is an original piece and that it is a reflection of you. 
  5. Remember that you are being graded for Language Use, so your presentation should mostly be in Standard English. 

Written Report

In order to complete the written report you must meet with your group and select at least three stimuli/artefacts from the total number of stimuli/artefacts from members of the group.
  • 5 group members = 15 stimuli/artefacts
  • 4 group members = 12 stimuli/artefacts
At least ONE piece of the THREE selected stimuli/artefacts must be in print.
The written report should reflect the proccesses and procedures the group took to complete the SBA. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can we have two print?

  • The syllabus did not state you could not. What it stated was that one artefact must be print.

Can all three artefacts come from one person?

  • Once again, there is no guideline in the syllabus to address this at this point. However, I would recommend not to do so. Just because it would be a better reflection of the group work process if the stimuli can from different group members.

What is there are only three members in my group?

  • In the CSEC Webinar hosted September 2017 it was stated that this type of group would be accepted. It was taken into consideration that there might have been movement of students between the grades 10 and 11 years for various reasons.

Do all group members need to have a group of the report?

  • Yes. I would also recommend all group members to also have a copies of the three stimuli selected as well.

Final Thoughts:

  1. Know your CSEC English SBA Rubric
  2. Do not copy any sample given in a wholesale manner. Remember the bulk of the SBA must be unique in nature.
  3. In the absence of samples from CSEC your best course of action is to ensure that what you have written are in guidelines with what the rubric requires to attain the best marks
  4. Do not try to cheat the system by copying other people’s work. You might end up shooting yourself in the foot and failing the SBA component of the exam.
  5. If you have not done your SBA it would mean that your chances of passing the English A and B  exam are minimal at best.
  6. The SBA is a process. Do not try to complete it all at once. This would mean that you would not have grown throughout the process and as such, it will be more difficult to write about your experience in the reflection or written report.
  7. Group work is here to stay; so, this means that you will have to find a way to work with your group members. Conflicts will always arise; however, teamwork is crucial to the process. It is good to adopt the mentality that if you do not work together you all will fail together. At this point the aim is not to fail; so, find ways to resolve any issues that might arise. 
This post was written by Sherice Antoinette Blair a teacher, blogger, author and consultant.  Readers of this forum/blog/website are given permission to use this information for personal use. Users do not have right to use this information for commercial purposes or training sessions.  You can seek permission to use this information by emailing:

Writing a Job Application Letter

A Job/Application Letter is also a business letter which means the structure of this letter is similar to other Business Letter Format (click the link to review the format).
This type of letter can be referred to as a job letter, cover letter or an application letter. All of these names are used to refer to a letter that is attached to your resume’/curriculum vitae when you are applying for a job.
The purpose of an application letter is to market your skills and ability to your prospective employer. Therefore, their first impression of you will come from your letter. As such, it is essential that your letter is error free, concise and well structured. 
With this in mind, we are going to explore the type of information that should be included in the body of the letter.  Your body of the letter can be three to for paragraphs.

Body of the Letter 

Paragraph 1: State the job you are  applying for and where it was advertised and the date. 
Paragraphs 2-3: State why you would like to work for the company. Highlight what you have to offer the employer , state your experience and skills and say why you are a good fit for the job.   For each skill or quality you mention you can also provide a specific example.
Paragraph 4: Say thank you to prospective employer for considering you and note how you will follow up.

Sample Application Letters


Market Yourself
  • Your application letter is your marketing tool. This means that you are selling  your skills, experience and setting yourself a part from the other applicants. 
Include Key Points
  • Always include key terms/ points/ phrases that your employers are looking for. All employers are looking for employees that are ‘motivated’, ‘team players’, ‘excellent communicators’, ‘driven’, ‘result oriented’, ‘experts’, ‘organized’, ‘pays attention to detail’ and ‘efficient’. These are just a few of the key terms that you can include.
Keep it Short
  • Try and make your letter only one page because an employer is more likely to remember a letter that is concise.
  • Always edit/proofread your application letter multiple times before sending it top a prospective employer.   One simple error can cause you not to get the job.


CSEME Short Story Writing Competition Rules

As we prepare for the 2018 sitting of the CSEC English A Exam we are hosting our first CSEME Short Story Competition. 



  • Entrants must be in fourth or fifth grade.
  • Children of contest judges and CSEME employees are not eligible.
  • Only one entry per person will be accepted.
  • Only single author stories qualify (no co-authored stories).
  • Students may conference with parents, teachers, and/or peers on their work.
  • Entries must be based on questions given.
  • Short stories and Cover Page must be submitted digitally by midnight February 14, 2017. Email your story to
  • Any failure to adhere to these contest rules may result in disqualification.
  • No purchase or donation is necessary to enter this contest.


  • Text should be typed. Entrants who cannot type may have their story typed by someone else.
  • Short stories entered should include a title page that lists the title of the story, the full name of the author and the country the author is from.
  • All fictional story characters should be original. Copyrighted names and images are not allowed.


  • All stories should have a minimum of 400 words and a maximum of 450 words.
  • The word count includes “a,” “an,” and “the” but not the words on non-story pages, such as the title page.



Short stories must be submitted digitally and will not be returned.

The Top Six Stories will be Posted on the Site

Once stories have been submitted. CSEME will have the right to publish entries in other CSEME events, blogs, features, etc. 



Short Story Competition Questions


English A Narrative Writing Rubric