Edexcel English Language GCSE

Personally, I think that English GCSE is one of the Hardest tests in GCSE. Here are some practice questions:

 

Read the text below and answer Questions 1–4 on the question paper.

‘A Terribly Strange Bed’: Wilkie Collins

Now, for the first time, I was able to move — to rise from my knees — and to consider of how I should escape. If I betrayed by the smallest noise that the attempt to suffocate me had failed, I was certain to be murdered. Had I made any noise already? I listened intently, looking towards the door.

No! no footsteps in the passage outside — no sound of a tread, light or heavy, in the room above — absolute silence everywhere. Besides locking and bolting my door, I had moved an old wooden chest against it, which I had found under the bed. To remove this chest (my blood ran cold, as I thought what its contents might be!) without making some disturbance, was impossible; and, moreover, to think of escaping through the house, now barred-up for the night, was sheer insanity. Only one chance was left me — the window. I stole to it on tiptoe.

My bedroom was on the first floor, above an entresol1, and looked into the back street. I raised my hand to open the window, knowing that on that action hung, by the merest hair–breadth, my chance of safety. They keep vigilant watch in a House of Murder. If any part of the frame cracked, if the hinge creaked, I was a lost man! It must have occupied me at least five minutes, reckoning by time — five hours, reckoning by suspense — to open that window. I succeeded in doing it silently— in doing it with all the dexterity of a house-breaker — and then looked down into the street. To leap the distance beneath me would be almost certain destruction! Next, I looked round at the sides of the house. Down the left side ran the thick water-pipe — it passed close by the outer edge of the window. The moment I saw the pipe, I knew I was saved. My breath came and went freely for the first time since I had seen the canopy of the bed moving down upon me!

To some men, the means of escape which I had discovered might have seemed difficult or dangerous enough — to me, the prospect of slipping down the pipe into the street did not suggest even a thought of peril. I had always been accustomed, by the practice of gymnastics, to keep up my schoolboy powers as a daring and expert climber; and knew that my head, hands, and feet would serve me faithfully in any hazards of ascent or descent. I had already got one leg over the window-sill, when I remembered the handkerchief filled with money under my pillow. I could well have afforded to leave it behind me, but I was revengefully determined that the miscreants of the gambling-house should miss their plunder as well as their victim. So I went back to the bed, and tied the heavy handkerchief at my back by my cravat2.

The chill feeling of horror ran through me again as I listened. No! dead silence still in the passage — I had only heard the night air blowing softly into the room. The next moment I was on the window-sill — and the next, I had a firm grip on the water-pipe with my hands and knees.

I slid down into the street easily and quietly, as I thought I should, and immediately set off, at the top of my speed, to a branch ‘Prefecture’3 of Police, which I knew was situated in the immediate neighbourhood. A ‘Sub-prefect’ and several picked men among his subordinates happened to be up, maturing, I believe, some scheme for discovering the perpetrator of a mysterious murder, which all Paris was talking of just then. When I began my story, in a breathless hurry and in very bad French, I could see that the Sub-prefect suspected me of being a drunken Englishman who had robbed somebody; but he soon altered his opinion, as I went on, and before I had anything like concluded, he shoved all the papers before him into a drawer, put on his hat, supplied me with another (for I was bareheaded), ordered a file of soldiers, desired his expert followers to get ready all sorts of tools for breaking open doors and ripping up brick-flooring, and took my arm, in the most friendly and familiar manner possible to lead me with him out of the house.

Glossary

1entresol: another smaller floor

2cravat: large cloth-like tie

3Prefecture: French police station

Questions:

  1.  From lines 1 to 7, identify the phrase that explains why the narrator was so scared about making a noise? (1 mark)
  2. From lines, 5 to 17 give two reasons that show the narrator is in a dangerous situation. You may use your own words or quotation from the text. (2 marks)
  3. In lines 19 to 31, how does the writer use language and structure to show that the narrator feels confident he can escape? Support your views with reference to the text. (6 marks)
  4. In this extract, the writer tries to create suspense. Evaluate how successfully this is achieved. Support your views with detailed reference to the text. (15 marks)

 

Imaginative Writing:

  1. Write about a time when you, or someone you know, faced a challenging or difficult situation. Your response could be real or imagined. (Your response will be marked for the accurate and appropriate use of vocabulary, spelling, punctuation and grammar.) 40 marks
  2.  Look at these images provided:

Image result for snowy castleImage result for locked in a room

Write about an escape. Your response could be real or imagined. You may wish to base your response on one of the images. (Your response will be marked for the accurate and appropriate use of vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, and grammar.) 40 marks

 

 

Mark scheme:

1. ‘I was certain to be murdered.’
2.  Anything along the Lines of:
  • he could not move the chest that was against the door without making some noise
  • he was essentially locked and trapped in the room
  • he is fearful of what might be in the chest: ‘my blood ran cold’
  • the whole house was barred up for the night so he could not get out
  • he was worried that the murderers would be awakened by any noise that he might make
he was trapped in a room that was high up: ‘to leap the distance beneath me, would be almost certain destruction’
3.
1–2 ·       Some comment on the language/structure used to achieve effects and influence readers, including use of vocabulary.

·       Range of reference is correct but not developed.

NB: The mark awarded cannot progress beyond the top of Level 1 if only language OR structure has been considered.

3–4 ·       Some explanation of how both language and structure are used to achieve effects and influence readers, including use of vocabulary and sentence structure.

·       The quotations are appropriate and support the points being made.

5–6 ·       Language and structure are analysed and the candidate comments on how this has influenced the reader.

·       Their comments include use of vocabulary, sentence structure and other language features.

·       The quotations are well selected and illustrate the point being made.

4.
1–3 ·       Some description of ideas, events, themes or characters.

·       Some comments are offered about the text.

·       Use of quotations is limited.

4–6 ·       Some comment on ideas, events, themes or characters.

·       Some simple comments are offered with some simple views about the text.

·       The selection of quotations is appropriate, but might be overlong or too brief.

7–9 ·       Explains ideas, events, themes and characters.

·       Clear views are given about the text.

·       The use of quotations is appropriate and well linked to the point being made.

10–12 ·       Analyses ideas, events, themes and characters.

·       There is a developed reflective overview and there are opinions about the text.

·       The use of quotations supports these ideas and they are well selected.

13–15 ·       The candidate has a clear and reflective overview of the text.

·       Thoughtful and perceptive points are made and some insightful opinions are given.

·       The use of quotations is insightful, apt and develops the candidate’s argument.

Imaginative Writing:

1.
Purpose: to write a real or fictional account about a time you or someone else faced a difficult or challenging situation. This could include a range of approaches such as description, storytelling, literary techniques and dialogue.
Audience: the piece does not have a specific audience – but it should interest and engage the reader.
Form: it should be a descriptive or narrative piece. There should be a clear start, middle and end. It may have literary features and dialogue may be informal.
Responses might:
  • use a range of devices to interest and engage the reader
  • introduce the person and situation via dialogue or description
  • use appropriate techniques for engaging interest, including literary techniques
  • use dialogue and direct speech
  • include non-standard English for effect
  • be written in a non-linear way, including flashbacks.

 

2.
Purpose: to write a real or fictional account about an escape. This could include a range of approaches such as description, storytelling, literary techniques and dialogue.
Audience: the piece does not have a specific audience – but it should interest and engage the reader.
Form: it should be a descriptive or narrative piece. There should be a clear start, middle and end. It may have literary features and dialogue may be informal.
Responses might:
  • use one of the images as a basis for writing – e.g. a real escape from a threatening situation or from a prison, or a metaphorical ‘escape’; candidates might use the images in a completely different way to base their piece on an escape; they might use the picture of the mysterious individual behind bars to craft a piece that includes meeting this person and the events that follow
  • use a range of devices to interest and engage the reader
  • use dialogue or description
  • use appropriate techniques for engaging interest, including literary techniques
  • include non-standard English for effect
  • be written in a non-linear way, including flashbacks.

 

For both 1) and 2) for imaginative writing:

A05
1–4 ·       gives a limited response that does not engage the reader

·       expresses only basic ideas

5–9 ·       has some engagement with the reader

·       uses paragraphs and the piece has a basic structure

10–14 ·       clearly gains the reader’s interest and largely maintains this throughout the piece

·       shows clear, competent structuring with paragraphs to aid understanding

15–19 ·       engages the reader throughout the text through using a range of devices

·       shows effective use of structuring and paragraphing to increase effect of text on reader

20–24 ·       crafts the text to anticipate the reader’s response; employs a range of skills, which are sustained and highly effective across the piece

·       crafts the structure to influence and engage the reader; structural features are carefully selected for deliberate effect on the reader.

A06
1–3 ·       uses language choices that are basic

·       makes frequent spelling errors

·       uses basic punctuation with a limited range of sentence structures

4–6 ·       makes some interesting language choices

·       uses a wider range of word choices, but there are some spelling errors

·       uses a range of sentence structures and punctuation with a degree of accuracy

7–9 ·       makes a range of interesting word choices

·       has mainly accurate spelling

·       uses a range of punctuation and sentence structures to achieve effect

10–12 ·       has a wide vocabulary

·       uses mainly accurate spelling

·       uses a wide range of punctuation to create an interesting effect for the reader

·       uses a wide range of sentence structures to create a variety of effects

13–16 ·       has an interesting vocabulary and is rarely at a loss for the correct word; word choices delight and engage the reader; spelling is largely accurate

·       uses a wide range of punctuation and sentence structures to craft and create specific effects on the reader.

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