Year 11 Mock Exam – Example Answers from the Reading Section

Hello year 11,

Please find below excellent exemplar answers for the Reading section of your English/English Language exam papers. Review your mock exam answers and compare the two – then ask yourself – what can I do better?

(They are from the Higher Paper – but the principals of good PEE work apply to everybody)

Question 1

First of all in Geoffrey Lean’s article we learn that there is more drought in South East England than in Africa. ‘South East England has less water per head than the places above’ (Middle East and North Africa). This suggests that soon we will have major problems here in England as are going on in Africa and that many will suffer from problems related to water insufficiency. This is unexpected as we think of Africa being massively hotter than England.

We also learn that we will soon have rationing of water in the South East of England, ‘recent reports have predicted permanent water-rationing in the South East by 2025.’ This suggests that the situation, which is largely unknown now will have increased dramatically in just a few years and that it will become really serious. It also suggests that the government have been listening to scientists and have already discussed how to plan ahead for the drought problems.

 We also learn that previous governments haven’t been so careful  about flooding. ‘successive governments have neglected flood defence.’ This suggests that most of the flooding we have experienced recently is the fault of previous governments that haven’t thought the issue was so severe. It also implies that the situation we are facing of terrible flooding could have been avoided if the governments had listened to the scientists about flooding as they have about the coming drought.

Finally we learn that vital buildings such as emergency services will potentially suffer from flooding. ‘Also that hospitals and other vital buildings should be built on high ground.’ This suggests that if something isn’t done to avoid flooding something very serious could happen for example, if the hospital isn’t moved to high ground it implies that life saving equipment and machines could be destroyed by the floods and the hospital wouldn’t be able to function so many lives could be lost.

Question 2

 The headline of the article is effective as the use of numbers almost makes it seem like a countdown till the actual story, this may build the reader’s interest until they actually read the amazing feat of the story as a climatic event. This is shown from the use of ‘Four amputations, 13 hours – one extraordinary swim.’ Throughout the article there is also reference to numbers such as Philippe Croizon being ‘limbless’ and  a ‘quadruple amputee’, linking the headline and the actual article together. The word ‘extraordinary’ connotes something incredible and out of the ordinary; not only is his lack of limbs extraordinary but his determination is also which would the reader continue.

In the sub-headline it states ‘Philippe Croizon crosses Channel.’ By not referring to the channel as ‘The Channel’ it makes his expedition seem more than just a crossing of a water-body but also of his supposed limitations. This is a recurring theme throughout the article that later quotes him as saying thjat he did it to ‘prove that I am still alive.’ The sub headline also quotes the number ‘16’ which adds to the excitement of the article as a reader may be interested as to what all the numbers used stand for.

The picture is effective as the angle that it was taken at, makes Philippe appear almost like a hammerhead shark. These animals connote power and extreme strength and this links to the article as the event it goes on to describe embodies these things. It may make a reader continue as though the photograph shows that he is indeed limbless, he is still as formidable as one of the strongest creatures in the sea, intriguing a reader. Also the size makes Philippe stand out and so draws attention to his incredible stunt.

Question 3

 Christopher is seemingly very much in awe of his surroundings, this is shown in the quote ‘a beautiful expanse of water’ and also by the fact that he was simply sitting, watching and taking in his surroundings. The phrase ‘beautiful expanse’ create an idea of never ending beauty, something which is uncommonly related to aspects of everyday life, implying that Christopher could not believe the wonders he witnessed.

Christopher also seems to be at peace being in Lake Victoria, this is shown by the quote: ‘an idyllic spot. This would be a good place to start every morning.’ The phase ‘idyllic’ spot implies that the spot is very peaceful and a possibly perfect area whilst the sentence ‘this would be a good way to start every morning’ suggests that Christopher longs for peace and is enjoying being away from his hectic everyday life and dim, uninteresting surroundings.

In contrast, at times Christopher feels worried but filled with adrenaline and anticipation. A quote to support this is ‘I wonder how much this decrepit old ferry could carry?’ This shows that Christopher is doubting his own safety therefore expressing worry, but not actually stating his feelings possibly due to feelings of excitement for the journey taking over him. The way that Christopher asks himself a question implies that he is seeking re-assurance from himself to calm his nerves.



From this extract we learn that Ondaatje has mixed feelings about his experience of Lake Victoria, that he enjoyed the scenery but not the journey across the lake.

Firstly, we can infer that he felt in awe of this dramatic landscape; ‘a huge and beautiful expanse of water.’ The phrase makes the reader feel very insignificant compared to this enormous landscape and shows that the author was amazed by the breath-taking natural environment which he was about to cross.

Secondly, we learn that he felt peaceful in this environment as he says ‘the scene was undisturbed.’ This implies that Lake Victoria  was tranquil as there was little movement, noise and had not been changed by human action but left in its natural state. This quote suggests that the author felt at peace in this environment as it was free from the business of human life.

However, we can learn that the author did not enjoy the ferry which took him across the Lake Victoria. This is shown in the quote; ‘The ferry was packed with buses, petrol tanks, vans…’ We can tell this was a negative experience because he has just been describing this undistributed environment as an ‘idyllic spot’ because it was free of human interference and noise and this ferry across was quite the opposite – it was crowded therefore we can assume noisy but also busy with people.

Question 4

 Source 3 has a very different tone to Source 1 but they both use similar language techniques to get them across. Source 3 has a very excited, awed feeling or tone, which is created by his use of short impact sentences. “An idyllic spot. This would be a good way to start every morning. No other sounds.” It makes you feel excited because of the imagery it creates of being alone in a silent, beautiful place. The impact sentences create that they create the pauses which allows the reader to think and absorb what is being said. However, Source 1 has quite a negative, dramatic feeling but is still created through impact sentences. “Things are only going to get worse.” It creates a feeling of anticipation and a negative sinking feeling in the reader. It creates a pause but instead of making you feel excited, it makes you wonder what bad things are still to come. 

Source 1 and 3 also create their tones in other ways. Source 1 adds to that negative feeling using slightly sarcastic language such as ‘plonked down on land prone to flooding” and “ –often more than they want-”. ‘Plonked’ is quite negative and harsh in the sound it has ‘k’ which makes the decision to put the housing on the land ‘prone to flooding’ seem half-hearted and not very well thought through. It is sarcastic and derisive because it would have been thought through but he is making out that it hasn’t. Also ‘-often more than they want’ is quite sarcastic and ironic because it lessens the sound of the flooding. Saying that makes the rain sound comical and silly, like they are complaining about nothing. It adds to the negative tone.

Source 3 uses dramatic language to add to the excited tone. “A few minutes later we were treated to a spectacular sunrise.” It creates the excited feeling because instead of lessening the feeling, like Source 1 to be sarcastic and derisive, it uses hyperbole to exaggerate it. ‘Spectacular’ heightens the sunrise because it is not a word we normally use, and it makes the sunrise incredible and extraordinary.

The different use of language is also down to the difference in purpose of two articles. Source 1 is writing to inform the reader of the problems of flooding and water, and so uses sarcasm and derisive language to try and get across those problems more. It also uses figures to inform the reader( “over the next 15 years…increase tenfold over the coming decade.”) these figures are more convincing for the reader that these problems are real because you cannot deny facts. Source 3 has the purpose to entertain the reader in reading about the amazing trip he has and also to further educate them on life in that country. That is uses dramatic language because the readers are reading to be inspired by other cultures. He also uses rhetorical questions (“How do they gauge the weight”) to further put the reader in his shows as he experiences a different culture.

These should be really useful – can you do as well as these do students? Can you do even better?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s