The GCE O Level English paper is not a piece of cake.
You would have discovered that it is one of the most gruelling of international exams.
If you take the time to learn the prerequisites for each paper, your effort will be worth it as you will have a certificate that is recognised all over the world.
The O Level English Writing Paper
The writing paper seems formidable for these reasons:
- Content is 350 to 500 words for the essay.
- Topics include world issues.
- The topics are unseen so you will need to prepare for a wide variety.
Ok. Now that we know what we are headed for, let us take a look at the various topics in O level English Paper 1, Section C.
This is the section where you will have a choice of 5 essay topics to choose from.
From my teaching experience, I have found that the hot favourite as a choice with most students is descriptive and expository questions.
And why is that?
These O level English essays require the student to:
A) observe one’s community, function, activity for example
B) write about it from a spectator point of view
C) include the highlights and moral values (if any)
Topics like these do not require much preparation.
In fact, when you choose descriptive topics, the questions are often on everyday life where your attitude or ability to cope will be included.
As these are the type of situations you may be faced with rather often, it is also easier to write these compared to argumentative topics.
How do you write an Introduction for a descriptive essay?
The assortment of everyday activities which you will encounter require you to write a brief description of how you got to be in that situation.
Most of the time, it may be rather ordinary such as writing about how someone impacted you or describing what you do to relax.
These O level English topics are general but have to be written in a personal way.
If you were to write about someone whom you met that had an impact on you, the introduction will have to reveal some background details about yourself.
Background details and how to write it
Writing about how you got to that point and what you were doing there is basically what the introduction should be about.
Remember the How and the What?
You need to start with this and make sure that it matches the O level English question of course.
Before you reveal who it was that impacted you, it may be wise to say that your life was in a rut and you were stuck with a routine that nauseated you.
This is actually working backwards.
Imagine the ending first when you write any O level English essay based on a fictional or part-fictional account.
This is a very useful technique to use.
For instance, in the case of meeting someone who impacted you, the ending will of course be about having discovered a valuable lesson or feeling satisfied.
Whatever the ending may be, it will be a positive one.
Ok. If it ends positively, it makes sense that it should start negatively shouldn’t it?
I mean, if you have started positively, there will be NO IMPACT.
Imagine feeling totally uplifted at the end where you feel regaled and cherished.
This will be the total opposite of what you were at the start who was feeling nauseated and bored.
Great! Now continue with the boring and nauseated part.
State what or who was the Cause of this.
You need to state a little of what got you to this point.
Once you have completed the Introduction about your obviously rather gloomy circumstances, you have set the stage for the entrance of this ‘impactful person.’
Now, let us take a look at the other topic which I mentioned about what you do to relax.
This topic does not include an intervention as in the previous topic.
If you choose this descriptive essay in O level English, you will need to focus mainly on yourself.
The sense of Personal Achievement is acute in such an essay.
Begin by working backwards at the end where you have gained a high place in personal growth.
Then work back to the beginning where you had been beset with disappointments or low self-esteem.
The introduction should reveal your sense of morale, personal challenges and inner harmony.
It should be a bit more reflective than the earlier topic.
Once again, when you state the low point, you are paving the way for how you started on your journey in self-improvement.
This topic requires a more personal touch.
Both topics have different formats for the introduction but they both lead the way for a moralistic viewpoint or inner growth by the end.
The introduction is a stage setter and you can use it to create any sort of tone and value in the O level English essay.
Use these tools wisely and you will notice that your descriptive essays will not only be more mature but appealing as well.