Category: 2018 English A Format

CSEC English A Section B Question 2 – Sample Business Letter

No 67 Happy View,
St James.


October 12, 2014.


The Manager,
The Fair Trade Commission,
Green Hill,

Dear Sir/Madam,

I write to complain against Best Line Supermarkets from which I purchased a box of cereal on October 10, 2014.  I have two areas of concern: the treatment I received, and the quality of the product. The item was on sale and I paid $8.45 for it.  On arrival home I realized that the product had expired since September.

I returned the package, with the bill, and was directed to speak with the supervisor.  He simply said that it was my duty to check any product I wanted to buy. I went to the manager, explained the issue and expressed my disappointment.  I also requested a refund but he too told me that I should have checked the date before making the purchase.

In addition, he said that their policy is no exchange or refund on sale items.  He promised to speak to his colleague, then he dismissed me and went to the telephone.  I believe this treatment is unjust and would like you to intervene to rectify this matter.

Yours sincerely,
Hadia Rogers

Section B of the 2018 English A Paper 2 Exam

(Suggested time: 35 minutes)
You MUST answer this question.

Write your answer on the RULED PAGES provided, pages 8 and 9.  There may be more space than you need.

2. Study the situation presented below and then answer the question that follows.


You purchased an item from a supermarket.  On arrival home you noticed that the expiry date had passed. You attempted to return the item but you were told that it was on sale and the manager refused to give you a refund or replacement. Write a letter to a consumer protection group or the editor of a newspaper in which you complain about the quality of the product and treatment which you received.

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. Make sure to include all the details that would help in highlighting the matter.  Your letter should include:

 Details of the complaint, for example:

– Date and time of purchase
– Cost of the item
– Specific condition of the item
– Response of staff

Total 30 marks 


Summary: Tattoos Model Answer


 Tattoos are permanent markings which have been around from the beginning of civilization.

 They were brought to the Caribbean from Africa, China and India, but the Amerindians wore them even before.
 They were used by people in the Caribbean for religious, ethnic and cultural purposes
 Over the years they came to be personal expressions identified with rebellion and deviance.
 Attitudes have changed towards tattoos and today they have become acceptable as marks of uniqueness and difference.

     (5 marks)  



      From the beginning of civilization tattoos and other body markings have been marks of identification, spiritual protection and decoration. 
       Tattoos are permanent markings which vary greatly and can be personally very revealing.  A tattoo is an instant of your life etched forever on you for the world to see. 
       Tattoos and other body markings were characteristic of the Amerindians of the Caribbean as well as of the Africans, Chinese and Indians who came there.  For all these people they had cultural, spiritual and ethnic significance. 
       Over the centuries tattoos and other body markings have changed back and forth from group significance to individual significance, presenting a daily image of difference and uniqueness.
                                                                                                                                               (20 marks) 

Sample Section A of the 2018 CSEC English A Exam

Section A of the 2018 CSEC English A Exam

(Suggested time: 40 minutes)  
You MUST answer this question.  
Write your answer on the RULED PAGES provided, pages 4 and 5.  There may be more space than you need.  

1. Read the following article on tattoos carefully and list FIVE MAIN points discussed, then write a summary of the article in NOT MORE THAN 120 words.  If this limit is exceeded, only the first 120 words of your answer will be read and assessed.   

As far as possible, use your own words.  Your summary must be in continuous prose.  You may use your answer booklet to jot down a plan.  In your answer, you will be assessed on how well you: 

(a) identified the main ideas and opinions in the extract
(b) organized and expressed these ideas and opinions in your own words 
(c) used appropriate grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, spelling and punctuation.  


        Since the beginning of civilization, they have served as marks of identification, spiritual protection and decoration. Now at the cusp of another millennium, tattoos and other varieties of body markings are resurfacing as a popular form of individual self-expression.  
      Tattoos are timeless and can be as unique as the bearers they adorn. They don’t fade away like favourite T-shirts, or get lost or broken like school rings. They stay with you forever, until death. They become a part of you from the day you sit in the artist’s chair, etching your emotions alongside the needle’s sting, transforming an instant of your life into a symbol for the world to see.  
     Tattoos and other body markings arrived in the Caribbean with African slaves and indentured workers from China and India. They were sometimes the only permanent keepsakes of peoples snatched from their ancestral places. The Caribbean’s original Amerindian inhabitants also used tattoos to mark spiritual milestones. The Taino of the Northern Caribbean Islands, for instance, used vegetable dyes to affix images of their guardians onto their skin. These images also indicated an individual’s lineage, or his or her social position. Each tattoo was both a personal history book and a mark of belonging.  
    Over the centuries, however, tattoos and other forms of bodily adornment have mutated, exchanging religious and cultural significance for individualist associations. Sometimes that mark of individuality has been confused with rebellion and non-conformity, often alluding to a stain of bad character. Tattoo-wearers have seemed wild, dangerous, even just plain bad.  
     But today, tattoos have come full circle. Celebrities, writers, lawyers, housewives, all proudly display their marks of rebellion. An entirely new perception of the art of tattooing has arisen, which is more than just a preoccupation with style. This rediscovered form of expression has spawned an entire subculture of individuals among us. They carry this common bond of distinction through their daily routines. Via the images on their forearms, shoulders, ankles, or torsos, they connect to each other, announcing to the world that it is OK to be unique and different.  

Adapted from “Pictures made flesh”. Caribbean Beat, July/August 2003. 

                                                                                                              Total 25 marks  


Alternative to English A School-Based Assessment (SBA) 2018-2025 Outlined

Paper 032,  Alternative to School-Based Assessment (SBA) – The exam is 2 hours  and it is 21% of Total Assessment 

Private candidates are required to write Paper 032, an Alternative Paper to the SBA. The Alternative Paper will assess the candidate’s acquisition of skills in the same areas of the syllabus identified for the SBA. 

This paper will consist of a guided critique of three pieces of stimulus material:   

1. An excerpt from a recent newspaper article on a topical issue;

2. A cartoon strip or lyrics to a  song on the same topical issue;
3. A poem, short story, public speech (extract) on the same issue.

 Candidates will answer three compulsory questions. 

Two questions will require short answer responses and one question will require the creation of an imaginative piece in response to the theme selected. 

Marks will be awarded for content, organization, effective use of language, voice or style; and  word choice.

  1. Candidates will be required to respond to questions on: (a) issues raised in the stimulus;
(b) possible impact on the intended audience;
(c) language techniques used.

2. Candidates will be required to respond to questions about oral presentations. Candidates must research and be aware of the characteristic features of oral presentations.

3.  Candidates will select ONE of the issues/situations raised in the stimulus and create a personal response to it. The response can take the form of drama, poetry, prose, lyrics to a song (a satisfactory response should be no more than 2 pages in length). 

Sample English A Summary Writing Question

Summarize in not more than 120 words, describing the life in deserts.
As what geographers have estimated, about twenty percent of the earth’s surface is occupied by deserts. A majority of us view deserts as one unique kind of landscape — areas with little or no rainfalls.

In actual fact, there are differences between the deserts, though in varying degrees. While it is common for laymen like us to see deserts as rocky or covered with gravel or pebbles, there are some where large sand dunes inhabit. Despite the fact that rainfall is minimal, temperatures do change in deserts, ranging from seasonal ones to daily changes where extreme hotness and coldness are experienced in the day and night. Unfavorable conditions in the deserts, especially the lack of water, have discouraged many living things from inhabiting these landscapes. Nevertheless, there are exceptionally surviving ones which through their superb tactics, have managed to live through and are still going strong. One such kind is the specialist annual plants which overcome seasonal temperature changes with their extremely short, active life cycles.

In events of sudden rain, the plant seeds pullulate and grow very quickly to make full use of the rain water. Their flowers bloom and set seeds that ripen quickly in the hot sun too. Once the water runs dry, the mother plant dies, leaving behind the drought-resistant seeds, waiting patiently for the next rainy season to arrive. The Cacti, a native in American deserts, adapts to the dry surroundings by having unique body structures. The plant has swollen stems to help store water that carries it through months. By having sharp pines instead of leaves, water loss through respiration is minimized. Besides, these pointed pines also help the plant ward off grazing animals, thus enhancing its survival period. Besides plants, there are also animals with distinct surviving tactics in deserts too.

For instance, Skinks ( desert lizards ) metabolize stored fats in their bulbous tails, producing water to supplement their needs, just like what camels do with the stored food in their humps during long journeys through deserts. Antelopes like the addax, have very low water needs and hence are able to tolerate the conditions in deserts, extracting moisture from the food they eat. Finally, there are the sandgrouses ( desert birds ) which do not have special features to overcome the drought-like nature in deserts. Hence, to survive in these hot, dry deserts, they need to spend a large part of their time flying in search of waterholes.

gravel Small pieces of rocks and stones
pullulate to have just enough money to pay for the things that you need
bulbous like a bulb


Despite the dry conditions in the deserts, some plants and animals still manage to survive there. One of them is the specialist annual plants. Their short life cycles allow them to germinate, grow and produce seeds during short rainy seasons. These seeds are drought-resistant and are able to wait for the next rainy season before starting their life cycles again. The Cacti adapts to the dry weather by having swollen stems for water storage and pine-like leaves to minimize water loss through respiration. Skinks generate water from stored fats in their tails and antelopes which requires very little water, survives in deserts by extracting water from food they eat. Finally, sandgrouse with no adaptive features turn to waterholes constantly for help.    ( 119 words )