iGCSE (0500) Support

The Cambridge IGCSE English Exams include two papers:

English Language (0500): Core is based on your Reading and Writing Skills (out of 50 marks)

  • You will have two unseen passages – fiction or non-fiction
  • In 1 hour and 45 minutes, you’ll answer 3 questions:
    1. Reading Passages
    2. Directed Writing
    3. Summary

How can I prepare for Question 1, Reading Passages?

Example question: Using your own words, explain what the writer says about the similarities and differences between the old and the young (paragraph 1, ‘when we came…life’) (15 marks)

  • STEP 1: Read, read, read broadsheet newspapers.
  • STEP 2: Practice explaining ideas in your words (avoid quoting the text)
  • STEP 3: Pick interesting words/phrases and explain what might mean or suggest. Think about why the writer chose them (for what effect)


How can I prepare for Question 2, Directed Writing?

This question asks you to write a text form  (diary entry, newspaper article or letter etc.) in reaction to passage A. You’ll write this as someone else: a character or an onlooker such as a passerby. The question gives you three bullet points to cover in your answer.

10 marks – content                                     5 marks – quality of Writing

  • STEP 1: Work out the CRAPF (Content – what is the topic? Register – who are you writing as? Purpose – why are you writing? Audience – who are you writing to? Form – diary entry etc)
  • STEP 2: For each bullet point, find 2 ideas (1 paragraph per idea)
    • Ensure the ideas are relevant to the bullet points!
  • STEP 3: Develop each idea – explain what the “words” in the passage reveal about characters, places, feelings, time, the place etc.
  • STEP 4: Explore your inferences based on the words!


How can I prepare for Question 3, Summary Writing?

In this question, you are asked to summarise a particular aspect of a passage (passage b) in two ways:

  1. Firstly, you identify 10 key points about the topic in the question – you can use quotes from the text.
  2. Secondly, you need to write the same 10 points but in your own words and in logical order with correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.

(15 marks)

  • STEP 1: Read, read, read articles
  • STEP 2: Find the top 10 key facts.
  • STEP 3: Summarise/re-write the 10 facts as bullet points but in your own words.
  • STEP 4: Change the 10 facts into clear sentences (max 100 words), which show the order in which each idea is given.


Now you know the steps to prepare, please do practice!


Thanks for reading 🙂



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