GCSE English Language Paper 1: A* / Level 9 model answer

October 11, 2018

English language paper 1 – model answer 

**Please download the attached sample paper to understand the model answer**


Q1. Read again the first part of the Source from lines 1 to 12. List four things from this part of the text about the ship.



1)There were noises and groans coming from the ship.

2) The ship was listing and sinking.

3) The ship had an incline from bow to stern.

4) The ship has a main deck.


Q2. Look in detail at this extract from lines 13 to 25 of the Source. How does the writer use language here to describe the narrator’s fright and confusion?



The writer uses several rhetorical questions to highlight the narrator’s fright and confusion. The narrator asks: “What is it?” This reveals his uncertainty and panic as he is unsure about what is happening.

Additionally, the writer uses personification coupled with onomatopoeia to create a frightening atmosphere. The ship lets out a “monstrous metallic burp”. This effective use of personification and onomatopoeia conveys the unnatural sounds the ship is making which is frightening the narrator. 

Finally, the violent verbs “shrieking” and “thundered” are used to describe the panicked movements of the animals. This reveals the narrator’s fright and confusion. The animals are acting unnaturally, highlighting the precarious position the narrator finds himself in. 


Q3. You now need to think about the whole of the Source. This extract comes at the end of a chapter. How has the writer structured the text to interest you as a reader?



The narrator begins the passage by painting a scene of utter chaos and pandemonium. The use of short, simple sentences to describe the ship moving speeds up the pace of the text, making us feel as if the sinking is happening rapidly. This is shown in the quote: “No harm done. I got up.” These two simple sentences make us as readers immediately interested as we feel tense and afraid of what will happen next. 

The writer shifts from focusing our attention on the ship itself at the opening, to describing the reaction of the animals on the ship in the middle of the passage. This shift is reflected in the use of complex sentences: “I thought I saw some animals too… crafted by rain and shadow.” In contrast to the simple sentences in the opening, this longer complex sentence slows the pace of the writing down and paints a vivid and horrific picture of the animals screaming and escaping from their cages. We as readers find this engaging as we wonder whether there will be any salvation for the animals and the narrator, or whether we are witnessing a tragedy unfold. 


Q4. Focus this part of your answer on the second part of the Source from line 19 to the end. A student, having read this section of the text, said: ‘The writer makes the reader feel sympathetic for the narrator.’ To what extent do you agree?



The writer successfully makes the reader feel deeply sympathetic for the narrator. As we read and witness the events unfold, we cannot help but feel sadness and pity for the narrator. This essay will examine how the writer successfully makes us as readers feel sympathy for the narrator.

The use of the first person narrative makes me as a reader feel sympathetic for the narrator – as it brings me close to the narrator and I feel as if I were in his shoes. Indeed the narrator says: “I looked at it… I ran…” The repetitive use of the first person pronoun “I” brings the narrator to life – we as readers vividly feel as if we were on the ground with him. In fact, we can sense his panic and fear as he deals with such a difficult predicament, hence making us as readers feel sympathetic for the narrator. 

Moreover the use of the hyperbole in the rhetorical question: “Who in God’s name had let it out?” makes us as readers feel sympathetic for the narrator. This hyperbole conveys the narrator’s heightened sense of panic. Additionally the rhetorical question is one of several questions he asks in this passage to no avail – he receives no answers and no clarity. The narrator’s fate is unclear and we as readers wonder whether he will survive this ordeal, making us feel a deep sense of worry for the narrator. 

In addition, the writer uses a skilful blend of simple and complex sentences to create dramatic shifts in the pace of the writing. Indeed the simple sentence: “They turned” contrasts with the complex sentence: “Only when they threw me… did I begin to have doubts.” The constant shift from the fast paced nature of the shorter simple sentences, to the longer complex sentences which slow down the passage’s pace, may reflect the unpredictable nature of the tossing and turning of the ship at sea. This makes us as readers empathise with the narrator. We are thrown into the same unpredictability in the flow of the writing and this creates empathy within us for the narrator. 

In conclusion, I think the author successfully makes the readers feel sympathetic for the narrator. The writer’s range of literary and stylistic devices in the passage make us as readers able to effectively empathise with the narrator and by the end of the passage we worry as to whether he managed to survive the ordeal. 


Q5. You are going to enter a creative writing competition. Your entry will be judged by a panel of people of your own age. Write a description suggested by the picture.



    The morning sky smiled down on the town’s residents and the sun’s rays emitted a refreshing radiance - like a cold glass of lemonade on a summer’s day. The town was small and scenic: rolling mountains and evergreen tall trees framed the edge of the town, which was dotted with small, isolated homes – which held tiny families. Emerald green pastures stretched as far as the eye could see, and they were watered with a small stream that ran through the mountains and past the homes. At the centre of the town ran a large road leading to a petrol station, and cars drove to and from the station – filling up their tanks and heading on their way.

    There was a sense of hope in the air: a sense of new beginnings and a new life. The birds chirped loudly - as clear as the stream that wove its way through the grass and mud. This stream seemed to have a strong sense of direction: instead off flowing in a monotonous manner, it seemed to oscillate and ripple. Pulling back and forth, the water looked as if it were trying to break apart. It weaved its way down the mountains and wandered like a lost traveller through the fields of grass and hay. 

    All at once, the stream began to shake violently as the ground beneath rumbled and roared. The rumbling grew louder and louder as hairline cracks began to appear in the ground. The tranquillity that had filled the morning was now damaged as the hairline cracks grew and the ground appeared to begin yawning. The cars on the road began screeching and speeding away from the petrol station as panicked residents scrambled away from the opening ground. Police sirens started screaming – yet and screams of panic emitted from the homes as residents watched in horror as the ground up relentlessly. 

    Suddenly – to the horror of all – the ground opened beneath the petrol station and it appeared to pour the building like liquid into its dark throat at the core of the earth. The road began to spill into the dark abyss of the earth – as it swallowed whatever stood in its way. A dark plume of smoke rose from the pit as the crash of cars, buildings and petrol from the station mixed in a toxic cauldron inside the earth and set alight. The wailing police siren continued it wail – but stuck on one side of the divide, the police officers in the car watched helplessly as the ground continued relentlessly widening and nature asserted itself as the dominant force. 

    After a few terrifying seconds – the deafening rumble died down and the earth’s tremors decreased. The Armageddon was coming to an end. Nature had claimed its victims and it was satiated – ready to settle and rest. As quiet descended upon the small town, the plumes of smoke continued to rise from parts of the pit. The gaping hole in the ground stood one mile wide and it stretched across the town for miles and miles. It zigzagged through the landscape of fields and grass, appearing like an ugly scar on what was once a beautiful face. 

    The town’s residents stared – from the homes and cars – at the ugly scene before them. The cheery chirping of the birds had come to an end and it was replaced by a terrified silence. This town would never be the same again. 


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