Category: 2018 English A Format

Sample CSEC English A Persuasive Writing Past Paper Questions

Here are CXC past paper type persuasive essay questions.
These are the types of persuasive essay questions that have been on
CXC English A past papers
NB: CXC suggests spending no more than 30 minutes to answer the persuasive essay question on Paper 2 of the English A exam. They also suggest 250 – 300 words as the length of the persuasive essay.
1. Write an article to the local newspaper expressing your concern about the high rate of traffic accidents in your country. Suggest three measures which would help to reduce this high rate of accidents.
2. Write an article for your school magazine about three major problems in your school and state how you would solve
each one.
3. You are on a committee planning the celebrations to mark the anniversary of your school. You have heard that some of your classmates plan to boycott the celebrations, and you have been asked to make a speech to persuade them to take part. Write out your speech.
4. Your school council has asked for nominations for the “Teacher of the Year” award. Write a letter to the council in which you suggest someone from your school, giving strong arguments to support your choice.
5. Write an article for a school magazine in which you present strong arguments either for or against the topic: “School should be abolished.”


CXC CSEC English A exam – Paper 1 topics

CXC English A exam paper 1 contains sixty (60) compulsory multiple choice questions organized into two (2) sections. (Compulsory means that you have no choice, you have to do ALL the questions on this Paper.)

 Section 1
 Section one (1) is made up of twenty (20) separate multiple choice questions. In this section, you will be tested on the following skills:
Section 1 Skills

  • Comprehension
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Paragraphing

 Section 2
Section two (2) is made up of forty (40) multiple choice reading comprehension questions based on your understanding of  five (5) passages. The passages will consist  of, 1) One poem
2) One narrative extract
3) One expository extract
4) one persuasive abstract ( e.g. an advertisement, speech or letter to the editor)
5) one visual abstract (e.g. a table, diagram, map, chart, cartoon or advertisement)
In this section, you will be tested on the following skills:
Section 2  Skills

  • Comprehension
  • Inference
  • Analysis
  • Evaluation
Each question on this paper is worth one (1) mark. You should attempt to answer ALL 60 multiple choice questions on this paper. (If you don’t know an answer then  guess!)

Narrative Writing 1- ELEMENTS OF A STORY

Narrative is a report of related events presented to the listeners or readers in words arranged in a logical sequence.

A story is taken as a synonym of narrative. 
A narrative or story is told by a narrator who may be a direct part of that experience and he or she often shares the experience as a first-person narrator.
 Sometimes he or she may only observe the events as a third-person narrator and gives his or her verdict.


Elements of a Story


The sequence of events that happen in a story. The plot

usually happens in the order of: Exposition, Rising Action,
Climax, Falling Action, and Denouement.

Where and when the story takes place. The setting is the

geographic location of the story. When a character walks
from one part of a neighborhood to the other, the scene
changes, but the setting always stays the same.

The people, animals, or creatures in the story.

One character who is central to the story and all the

major events in the story.

The character who opposes, or goes against the main

character or protagonist. The antagonist tries to
prevent the main character (protagonist) from
succeeding or being happy.

Conflict is a problem that happens in the story. Usually, the

conflict happens toward the beginning of the story, at the
beginning of the Rising Action. There are different types of
(1) Person versus Person
(2) Person versus Self
(3) Person versus Nature
(4) Person versus Society
(5) Person versus Circumstance

The message that is in the story. Common themes are love, friendship, loyalty, faith, hope, forgiveness, sacrifice, honor, justice, truth, freedom.



Computers and Education in America

Dudley Erskine Devlin writes his own commentary of computer technology on the rise in “Computers and Education in America.” While all the optimists out there push the movement of Websites and constantly flash e-mail addresses on all advertising promising simplicity for our hectic lives and education for our children, Devlin retorts by saying, “In short, the much ballyhooed promise of computers for education has yet to be realized.” He believes that finding information and retrieving it from the Internet is long and tedious. The Internet is cluttered by commercialism, claims Devlin. He also points out how the information might be false when found. He believes claims that the Internet is democratic are false. The personal computer eats money and that plus the cost of Internet bills is too much for families. Although the Internet has nearly 20 million sites, there are not enough mentoring programs to lead students through the Internet. Besides, according to Devlin, kids will always prefer the TV and their friends over cyberspace. Even if kids were on the Internet they would be surrounded by commercialism and pornography. Finally, in the words of Dudley Erskine Devlin, “The cult of computers is still an empty promise for most students.”


Summary Writing Practice Question 2

 Summarize the passage below in 150 words. The model question will be provided tomorrow. 

Computers and Education in America In the last decade, computers have invaded every aspect of education, from kindergarten through college. The figures show that schools have spent over two billion dollars installing two million new computers. Recently, with the explosive increase of sites on the Internet, computers have taken another dramatic rise. In just five years, the number of Internet hosts has skyrocketed from 2 million to nearly 20 million. It is not uncommon for 6th graders to surf the ‘Net, design their own home pages, and e-mail their friends or strangers they have “met” on the Web.

Computer literacy is a reality for many junior high students and most high school students. In the midst of this technological explosion, we might well stop and ask some key questions. Is computer technology good or bad for education? Are students learning more or less? What, exactly, are they learning? And who stands to benefit from education’s current infatuation with computers and the Internet?
In the debate over the virtues of computers in education, the technological optimists think that computers and the Internet are ushering us into the next literacy revolution, a change as profound as Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. In contrast, a much smaller but growing number of critics believe that cyberspace is not the ideal classroom. I agree with the critics. If you consider your own experience, you’ll agree that the benefits of computer literacy are at best wildly overrated. At their worst, computers and the Internet pander to the short attention spans and the passive viewing habits of a young television generation. The technological optimists sing a siren song of an enchanted new land where the educational benefits of computers and the Internet are boundless. First, they boast that children can now access information on every conceivable subject. If little Eva or little Johnny wants to learn about far-away cultures, they can access sites from their own homes that will teach them about the great languages and cultures of the world.

Second, these starry-eyed optimists warble about how the Internet has created a truly democratic space, where all children–rich, poor, black, white, and brown–have equal access to information and education. Third, they claim that computers will allow students to have e-mail conversations with experts on any subject around the world. No longer will students be limited by their own classroom, their teacher, or their environment. Distance learning is the wave of the future, and classrooms will become obsolete or at least optional. In the words of John Sculley, former CEO of Apple Computer, the new technologies have created an “avalanche of personal creativity and achievement” and they have given students the “ability to explore, convey, and create knowledge as never before.” Children who used to hate going to school will now love to learn to read and write, to do math and science. They will voluntarily spend hours learning on the Web instead of being bored to death by endless books and stodgy teachers. Sound too good to be true? Let’s examine these claims, one by one. First, promoters of computer learning are endlessly excited about the quantity of information available on the Internet. The reality, however, is quite a different story. If you’ve worked on the Internet, you know that finding and retrieving information from a Web site can sometimes be tedious and time consuming. And once you find a site, you have no idea whether the information will be valuable. Popular search engines such as Yahoo! are inefficient at finding relevant information, unless you just want to buy a book on or find a street map for Fargo, North Dakota. Information is definitely available on the Web, but the problem is finding relevant, reliable, and non-commercial information. Next, the optimists claim that the Internet is truly a democratic space with equal access for everyone. Again, the reality falls short. First, access to an Internet provider at home costs over a hundred dollars a month, once you add up service and long distance fees. And then there’s the technology barrier–not every person has the skills to navigate the Web in any but the most superficial way. Equal access is still only a theoretical dream, not a current reality.

Finally, computers do allow students to expand their learning beyond the classroom, but the distance learning is not a utopia. Some businesses, such as Hewlett Packard, do have mentoring programs with children in the schools, but those mentoring programs are not available to all students. Distance learning has always been a dream of administrators, eager to figure out a cheaper way to deliver education. They think that little Eva and Johnny are going to learn about Japanese culture or science or algebra in the evening when they could be talking with their friends on the phone or watching television. As education critic Neil Postman points out, these administrators are not imagining a new technology but a new kind of child: “In [the administrator’s] vision, there is a confident and typical sense of unreality. Little Eva can’t sleep, so she decides to learn a little algebra? Where does little Eva come from? Mars?” Only students from some distant planet would prefer to stick their nose in a computer rather than watch TV or go to school and be with their friends. In addition to these drawbacks are other problems with computers in education. There is the nasty issue of pornography and the rampant commercialism on the Internet. Schools do not want to have their students spend time buying products or being exposed to pornography or pedophiles.

Second, the very attractiveness of most Web sites, with their color graphics and ingenious links to other topics, promotes dabbling and skimming. The word “surfing” is appropriate, because most sites encourage only the most surface exploration of a topic. The Internet thus accentuates what are already bad habits foremost students: Their short attention spans, their unwillingness to explore subjects in depth, their poor reading and evaluation skills. Computers also tend to isolate students, to turn them into computer geeks who think cyberspace is actually real. Some students have found they have a serious and addictive case of “Webaholism,” where they spend hours and hours on the computer at the expense of their family and friends. Unfortunately, computers tend to separate, not socialize students. Finally, we need to think about who has the most to gain or lose from computers in the schools. Are administrators getting more students “taught” for less money? Are big companies training a force of computer worker bees to run their businesses? Will corporate CEO’s use technology to isolate and control their employees? In short, the much ballyhooed promise of computers for education has yet to be realized.

Education critic Theodore Roszak has a warning for us as we face the brave new world of computer education: Like all cults, this one has the intention of enlisting mindless allegiance and acquiescence. People who have no clear idea of what they mean by information or why they should want so much of it are nonetheless prepared to believe that we live in an Information Age, which makes every computer around us what the relics of the True Cross were in the Age of Faith: emblems of salvation. I think if you examine your own experience with computers, you’ll agree that the cult of computers is still an empty promise for most students. Computers, the Internet, and the Web will not magically educate students. It still must be done with reading, study, good teaching, and social interaction. Excellence in education can only be achieved the old fashioned way–students must earn it.

–Dudley Erskine Devlin



How to Write a Summary

 The following are the six (6) steps for writing a summary

1. Find the main idea of the passage:

Read the passage the first time for understanding.  (So you can get a sense of what point they are trying to make.)

Ask yourself, “ What was the passage about?”

(You should answer yourself with a sentence or a phrase)

Hint: If you are having problems, scan the passage to see which ‘topic’ word appears most often. This is likely the topic of the passage.

Now you have to figure out what is being said about the topic. Read the passage a second time.
What is the overall point being made about the topic word?

You need to be able to see the “big picture” being presented by the passage. This is the main idea of the whole passage; Write it down. Never start writing a summary before you read the passage for a second time.

2. Find the supporting ideas in the passage:
(Supporting ideas are used to develop, explain or expand on the main idea.)

While “skimming” (reading through quickly) the passage for the third time, look for the supporting ideas by reading over the opening sentences of the paragraphs.  (A paragraph expresses and develops one main idea or point).

Underline topic sentences in the paragraphs and the key ideas in them.

3. After reading the passage for the third time, write one or two summary sentences for each paragraph describing the main idea that you see expressed by the paragraph.

If you see yourself repeating the same ideas, you will need to read the passage again to get a clearer picture and then revise your summary sentences.

4. Join together the main idea of the passage and your paragraph summary sentences by using transitional words and/or phrases.

These transitional words/phrases do three things:

1) They give your summary a sense of being a “whole” – not just a group of unconnected sentences.

2) They also make your summary “flow” smoothly when reading

3) They reinforce and support the main idea being expressed in the passage.

5. Reread (and edit if necessary) the summary to make sure it clear and to-the-point.
Eliminate repetitive words, too many descriptive words (adjectives and adverbs)and non-essential sentences.

The final version should read like a whole, sensible piece of writing.
**Check your spelling and grammar.

6. Finally, check your summary against the author’s original. Have you correctly described the author’s main idea and the essential supporting points?
Make any necessary adjustments or changes to your summary.