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‘O’ Levels English Paper 1 2018: A Post-Mortem

The following are the essay questions from the 2018 O Level English Paper 1, according to feedback from several of our students and other sources.

The paper veered away from the usual mix of personal expository, discursive and argumentative options. You will notice that, for once, there are no argumentative nor pure discursive options. This time round, every question has a personal and/or descriptive aspect.
You are advised to write between 350 and 500 words on one of the following topics.
  • Describe an event you looked forward to which turned out to be disappointing. Explain why you were excited about it and why it did not live up to your expectations.
  • "I've never seen my friend laugh so much.” Write about a time when this happened.
  • Some people like to stand out from the crowd, others just want to be part of it. Which do you prefer and why?
  • Which modern invention is essential to you and your family, and which one could you and your family live without? Explain your views.

On the one hand, the personal slant makes it easier for the student to surface points from their experiences (and content can take on a more analogous/ anecdotal perspective). A more personal voice and informal tone also seem permissible.

On the other hand, however, students might fall into the trap of using less elegant expression. Thus, it might be harder to score well in the language marks. Content can also be more superficial because of the less formal way each question has been framed.

However, the content to each essay topic has the potential to be elevated and the student who structures and expresses his ideas more eloquently will stand apart from the masses.


This week, we conducted the lesson with our students on how to competently answer these essay questions. Should you be interested to receive the notes, click the button below to view and download.

If you're viewing the worksheet on a mobile device, click the download icon to save the file.

Secondary Regular Classes


O Levels 2019 Results: 100% Scored As and Bs. 2/3 Scored As

Early preparation is the key to scoring well for the exams.

Yodelling to Fame

In this day and age, it appears that anyone can become an instant celebrity overnight, thanks to the swift nature of information transmission over the internet.

One example of this is of "Yodelling Walmart Kid" Mason Ramsey, who shot to instant fame after a video of him singing in Walmart went viral. Ramsey then went on to feature on The Ellen Show as well as perform at huge music festivals like Coachella.

Consequently, this has resulted in hordes of people who record everything religiously, in hopes that something they capture on video will catapult them to fame.

Some fear that this is a worrying trend that causes people to be less aware of their surroundings, thus becoming more prone to accidents. 

Read more about Mason Ramsey here.

Questions to Consider:

1. What do you think makes a viral video popular?

2. Do you think viral videos can be used positively to effect change? Give some examples.

Blog on English Essentials

Hello and welcome to our first of many blogs regarding English enrichment and its many aspects.  We will be talking about many forms and meanings relating to English, ranging from punctuation, pronunciation, spelling, grammar, phonics and a whole lot more.  

English Oral Practice

To start us off, we will begin by looking at oral and pronunciation, and why many students, who are learning English, find it difficult at first.  This is because everybody has an accent from their mother tongue and so can be difficult to lose when learning a new language. Furthermore, certain word soundings will be challenging, but keep practicing, and never give up if you really want to sound like a English native.

Here are three methods for you to try.

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    Interacting with a native.

    This is the obvious and best method and will give you that much needed interaction of talking and listening that will be vital.  Subsequently, it will give direct access to an English source in which the person can help with your pronunciation. In addition, they will be able to identify your mispronunciation of words or syllables. If you need further assistance, listening to music or a podcast will definitely be of value.

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    Study each word and sound them out.

    At this point, you can begin systematically focusing on specific sounds especially ones that give you the most trouble.  Do not give up and continue to sound them out, going slowly at first so that you accentuate each letter until you have it perfected, then you can speed it up.  Keep everything basic and do not rush ahead of yourself. Start off with small words and then work your way up to the more difficult and structurally longer vocabularies.
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    Do you have the appropriate tools at your disposal?  

    Many English students study in one of two ways. Some buy a book and follow it blindly, where others enrol onto a course.  The prior will most likely focus on grammar rather than pronunciation, therefore, it can have major implications on your verbatim skills.  The latter, will offer you so much more in terms of an all rounded experience as you will be encompassed with other students starting off at the same level and a teacher to guide.

Let’s take a look at some words.

Socialisation (so shul iz a shion)

Television (tel a viz ion)

Following (fo low ing)

Pronouncing (pro nown sing)

Weather (weth er)

Internet (in te net)

Condition (con dit shon)

Anomaly (a nom ma lee)

Adding to letters (vowels) together will dramatically change the pronunciation.

ou and ow, gives the “ow” sound.Out, owl.

ea and ee, gives the “ee” sound.Fleeing, seeing, sea.

ie and ei, gives the “ee” sound.Receive, receipt,

oi, gives the oy sound.Choice.

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Horrible Homonyms (Part 2)

Previously, we discussed homophones, which are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and mean different things. This month, we'll be looking at homographs, which are words that are spelled in the same way, but mean different things.

For instance, the word cap could refer to a limit on something, or to a kind of hat. In the exercise below, match the homograph with the right sentences! Be careful, some sentences share the same homograph!

(a) bear, (b) minute, (c) bow, (d). fine, (e) wound

1. If you litter, you might have to pay a ______.

2. Tim is very conscientious; he takes care of even the most ______ details.

3. Hilda could not ______ to tell Joe the news of his dog passing away.

4. He ______ his clock up before going to bed.

5. After the performance, all the ballerinas took a ______.

6. "Help! A large grizzly ______ is chasing us!"

7. People often say that there is a ______ line between love and hate.

8. Charles ran to the nurse to get his ______ bandaged up.

9. "Do you have a ______ to spare? I would like to share with you what happened earlier."

10. Jenny loved wearing her bright pink ______ on her head.

Answers:

1. d,   2. b,   3. a,   4. e,   5. c,   6. a,   7. d,   8. e,   9. b,   10. c

Are you ready for the PSLE?

We are pleased to announce that we have a FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp! In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

Horrible Homonyms

Homonyms are a special category of words where the words can either sound the same but are spelled differently (homophones), or spelled the same but mean different things (homographs). Homophones are words like "bear" and "bare" which students tend to mix up in their writing. 

Exercise: Choose the right word from the following pairs of homophones. (Answers are at the bottom of the exercise.)

1. The baby (bald/bawled) when his bottle was taken away from him. 

2. "Oh no! I'm going to be late for my (lessen/lesson)."

3. Tom was so angry with Darla that he (seized/ceased) her toy unicorn from her.

4. The cloth was so (sheer/shear) that you could see right through it. 

5. HMS Victory is a famous (navel/naval) ship that was instrumental in the Battle of Trafalgar.

6. He pulled the line (taut/taught) and settled comfortably on the hammock.

7. A (fowl/foul) smell filled the air as they yanked off the sewer lid.

8. Daniel was too (tyred/tired) to shower when he reached home and plopped onto his bed instead.

9. Tricia raced to reach the airport on time but alas; it was all in (vain/vein).

10. "Could you (pair/pare) the (pear/pair) of (pares/pears) for me please?'

Answers:

1. bawled, 2. lesson, 3. seized, 4. sheer, 5. naval, 6. taut, 7. foul, 8. tired 9. vain, 10. pare/ pair/ pears

Are you ready for the PSLE?

We are pleased to announce that we have a FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp! In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

Legal Rights for Monkeys?

In 2011, a photographer named David Slater left his camera unattended in an Indonesian rainforest. When he returned, he found that a macaque had used his camera and taken a selfie!

The photo of the monkey soon went viral worldwide, catching the attention of animal activist group PETA. Mr Slater found himself embroiled in a lawsuit from PETA, claiming that the monkey was the true owner of the photo and that all profits earned from the photo should belong to it.

The case was heard in court, and the judges decided that animals were not intended to be protected by the Copyright Act and that the monkey was therefore not eligible to claim the profits. However, Mr Slater also agreed to donate 25% of any future revenue from the photo towards charities protecting macaques.

Read the report here.

Questions to Consider

1. Do you agree with the judges’ decision? Explain your rationale.
2. What rights should/ can be given to animals?
3. What are some ways in which animals can be protected from exploitation?

Are you ready for the PSLE?

We are pleased to announce that we have a FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp! In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

How to Use the Apostrophe

We use the apostrophe in two cases: 

1. When we want to show possession. Eg. The cat belongs to Jack. This is Jack's cat.

Confusion arises when the proper noun that is possessive ends with an 's'. Do we write-

(a) This is James' cat. or (b) This is James's cat.

It turns out, both are acceptable. However, if there are multiple Jameses, the apostrophe has to be placed at the end.

Eg. Both Jameses' cats have nine lives. Not - Both Jameses's cats have nine lives.

2. When we are writing short forms (contractions)

Eg. Will not = Won't/ Until = 'till/ I am = I'm/ Let's = Let us/ It's = It is/ It has

Be extra careful about the correct usage of it's and its. To show possession of the pronoun "it", we do not use an apostrophe.

Eg. The cat scratched its own owner. Not - The cat scratched it's own owner.

Start preparing for the PSLE now

Have you subscribed to our FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp? Students from Primary 3 and up can benefit from this course.

In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”  ~ Virginia Woolf

Crispy rendang chicken, anyone?

At Creative Campus, our curriculum is tailored to include a healthy dose of current affairs. Besides tackling real-life issues, we ensure that our students know how to source for relevant clues in a given question, so that they can arrive at the correct answer every time. Here’s a short passage to test your skills in Comprehension Cloze.
Scroll down for the answers at the bottom of this page.

Gregg Wallace cooked up an international (1) ________ when he eliminated a Malaysian contestant based on the chicken rendang she presented on a television contest. The iconic delicacy is usually slow cooked in a coconut-based curry gravy. It is meant to be tender and moist.

“The chicken skin is not (2) ________. It can’t be eaten,” he declared on MasterChef UK.

Wallace’s controversial remarks on the reality television show sparked an online (3) ________. Even the British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Vicki Treadell, warned that he should not confuse the traditional dish with fried chicken, which is often served with nasi lemak (coconut rice). Wallace has since added fuel to the (4) ________ on his Twitter account. Many are up in (5) ________ over his Twitter feed that signed off with “Namaste”, a greeting native in India, while suggesting that the dish was from Indonesia.

(6) ­________ the saga, Wallace has been busy backpedalling, “I didn’t mean it should be fried, like fried chicken. What I (7) ________ was it wasn’t cooked. It was white and flabby.”

Read more details on the #chickenrendang saga here.

Answers to Comprehension Cloze

Did you get all the answers to the cloze passage above?
1. storm
2. crispy
3. furore
4. fire
5. arms
6. Since
7. meant

Start preparing for the PSLE now

Have you subscribed to our FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp? Students from Primary 3 and up can benefit from this course.

In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”  ~ Virginia Woolf

How to use Who and Whom

Many are often confused by the correct usage of the words "who", "whom" and "whose"; particularly "whom". Interestingly, the word "whom" is not commonly used in modern spoken English, but rather in the formal written form. Generally, it is safer to use "Who" if one is unsure, since the use of "whom" can be limiting.

The difference between these two relative pronouns is that "who" is used in the subject position of a sentence or phrase, whereas "whom" can only be used in the object position, or after a preposition. Sounds technical? Click here for a clearer picture.

Start preparing for the PSLE now

Have you subscribed to our FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp? Students from Primary 3 and up can benefit from this course.

In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”  ~ Virginia Woolf

The Benefits of Journal Writing

Journal entries are pivotal for improving writing and honing a student's personal voice. A skilled storyteller can reflect on his records and use them as fodder for his essay writings. Here are some benefits of writing a diary or a journal, especially for students.

1. Confidence Building

Unlike assigned writing, journal writing does not have the pressure of an audience. It can be totally uninhibited, confessional and honest. Journal writing lets fledgling writers practice without fear. Research shows that it takes at least 28 repetitions of a concept or skills before it is solidified in the brain. It helps if the writer learns a specific writing technique and then consciously apply the skills while writing the journal. Over time, through adequate self-review, the writer can nail down the techniques and apply them in his work accurately.

2. Better Self Understanding

Like any form of artistic expression, journal writing is a process of self-discovery. Important issues or ideas that lay dormant in the subconscious may resurface during free writing, whereby one writes without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. Writing is therapeutic, and hence, cathartic. Hidden strengths are revealed in the prose, helping one to build character and grow.

3. Entertainment

Journal writing can include drawings, sketches, doodles and polaroids to make the process interesting. The writings can also tie-in with the writer's hobbies and sometimes, help the writer to make a living.

For example, many food connoisseurs write food blogs (a form of public journal writing) to chronicle their experiences. In 2002, Julie Powell channeled her love of cooking into setting up a blog where she documented her daily thoughts while cooking each of the 542 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. As a result, Powell became a published author and a Hollywood film based on her blog, Julie and Julia, was made. Even Doctor Leslie Tay, famed for his "ieatishootipost" blog, is renowned for his insight on the Singaporean cuisine.


With the plethora of benefits of journal writing, try it out as part of your new year resolution. Who knows, you might just end up loving it.  

Start preparing for the PSLE now

Have you subscribed to our FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp? Students from Primary 3 and up can benefit from this course.

In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”  ~ Virginia Woolf