Category: CSEC English Exam Format

Paragraph Writing- How to Write a Paragraph

Students often overlook paragraph writing in their preparations for the CSEC English A examination; however, paragraph writing is one of the most important aspects of your exam preparation. This is due to the fact that paragraphs are the building blocks to your CSEC English essays; therefore, without proper paragraphs there will not be proper essays.

What is a paragraph?

A paragraph is a series of related sentences developing a central idea, called the topic. Therefore, a paragraph is a  group of sentences that supports one central idea.


Parts of a Paragraph

  • A paragraph consists of a topic sentence, a main idea, and supporting sentences.
  • A topic sentence states the main idea of the paragraph (the main idea is what the paragraph is about)
  • The supporting sentences make up the body of the paragraph
  • Concluding sentence is used to end the paragraph

Sample Paragraph

Read the following paragraphs and circle the topic sentence and underline the supporting ideas

Aspirin can be a fatal poison. People are used to taking aspirin whenever they feel pain. It is true that aspirin is an efficacious pain-killer for example in headache cases. However, aspirin is like any other medicine can be dangerously harmful. Any unregulated use of it may result in the damage to the lining of the stomach, prolonged bleeding time, nausea, vomiting, ulcers, liver damage, and hepatitis. It is scientifically proven that excessive use of aspirin turns it into a toxin. Its toxic effects are Kidney Damage, severe metabolic derangements, respiratory and central nervous system effects, strokes, fatal haemorrhages of the brain, intestines and lungs and eventually death. Thus, the careful and regulated use of aspirin is most advisable so as not to turn into a deadly poison.


Steps to Writing a Paragraph


Step 1-Decide on a Paragraph Topic

Before you can begin writing, you need to know what you are writing about. First, look at the writing prompt
or assignment topic. As you look at the prompt, note any key terms or repeated phrases because you will
want to use those words in your response. Then ask yourself:
• On what topic am I supposed to be writing?
• What do I know about this topic already?
• If I don’t know how to respond to this assignment, where can I go to find some answers?
• What does this assignment mean to me? How do I relate to it?


Step 2- Develop a Topic Sentence

Before writing a paragraph, it is important to think first about the topic and then what you want to say about
the topic. Most often, the topic is easy, but the question then turns to what you want to say about the topic.
This concept is sometimes called the controlling idea.

Strong paragraphs are typically about one main idea or topic, which is often explicitly stated in a topic

The topic – The main subject matter or idea covered in the paragraph.


Step 3-Develop your Supporting Details

After stating your topic sentence, you need to provide information to prove, illustrate, clarify, and/or
exemplify your point.
Ask yourself:
• What examples can I use to support my point?
• What information can I provide to help clarify my thoughts?
• How can I support my point with specific data, experiences, or other factual material?
• What information does the reader need to know in order to see my point?


Step 4-Conclude Your Paragraph

After illustrating your point with relevant information, add a concluding sentence. Concluding sentences
link one paragraph to the next and provide another device for helping you ensure your paragraph is unified.
While not all paragraphs include a concluding sentence, you should always consider whether one is

Concluding sentences have two crucial roles in paragraph writing:
First, they draw together the information you have presented to elaborate on your controlling idea by:
• Summarizing the point(s) you have made.
• Repeating words or phrases from the topic sentence.
• Using linking words that indicate that conclusions are being drawn (e.g., therefore, thus,

Second, they often link the current paragraph to the following paragraph. They may anticipate the topic
sentence of the next paragraph by:
• Introducing a word/phrase or new concept which will then be picked up in the topic sentence of
the next paragraph.
• Using words or phrases that point ahead (e.g., the following, another, other).


Write a paragraph based on one of the following:

  1. Your country
  2. Your favourite sport
  3. Your favourite food



Resource sites:



CSEC English Made Easy 2019 Exam Countdown

Exam is in the air. We are currently gearing up for the May/June 2019 sitting of the CSEC English A and B exam. As such, we are preparing videos, courses and posts that will help you to master the 2019 sitting of the CSEC English A and B exam.

The exam dates are:

May 10- English B- Papers 2 and 1

May 14- English A – Papers 2 and 1


You can follow us on:

Youtube for video lessons:





Finally, please comment below what you would like us to cover in this year’s countdown.


Section B of the CSEC English A Paper- Expository Writing- 2018 Format

Section B of the English A paper was once Comprehension; however, as of the 2018 sitting of the CSEC English A exam Section B will be Expository Discourse. This means that there are a few different topics that fall under this heading. You must also remember that there will be only one question in this section (a mandatory question). Below we will explore some of the different types of topics that comes under expository discourse:

  1. Outline of Expository Writing
  2. Expository Writing Explained
  3. Business Letter Explained
  4. Statistical Report
  5. Statistical Report Writing

Sample Questions

Letter of Complaint


1) Write a letter to the principal detailing a pressing problem facing the school. Explain what makes the issue worthy of attention and suggest possible solutions.

2) Write a letter of complaint to a business that has disappointed you. Explain what dissatisfied you about the product or service offered by that company and what you expect the company to do to remedy the situation.

3) Write a letter complimenting a business or company for its outstanding services or products. Be specific about what you like, and give details on your positive experience with the company.


Business Letter- Letter of Request

Imagine that you are keeing a fundraising event for your school. Write a letter to a company of your choice seeking sponsorship for your event.

Your letter should include information about the following:

• Description of the event

• Date of the event

• Time the event will begin

• location of the event

• Statement of how the school will benefit from this venture

• Details of the type of sponsorship you are requesting


Business Letter

  1. Letter format- salutation , address,date,body,complimentary close ( 10 marks)
  2. Writing conventions – appropriate use of punctuation marks, capital letters, subject and verb agreement ( 10 marks)
  3. Content – relevance of information and clarity of instructions ( 10 marks)

Choose any ONE of the following topics. PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE INFORMATION ABOVE

  1. Write a letter to the Minister of Culture and Sports outlining to him or her how important traditional games or sports are to your community.
  2. Write a letter to the Minister of Culture and Sports outlining to him or her the importance of culture in your community.

A Complete Narrative Writing Course

This post is the last post we have for narrative writing in this CSEME 2018 Exam Countdown. I have also link all the Narrative Writing posts below.

  1. Elements of the Story
  2. How to Write a Short Story
  3. How to include Dialogue in Your Stories
  4. How to Write a Story in 45 Minutes
  5. Short Story Questions
  6. Sample Short Story Questions
  7. Sample Short Story
  8. Sample Short Story
  9. Sample Short Story














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: