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IGCSE Extended Reading Paper Question 2 - An exam question a week

Question 2 tests your ability to analyse a text.

For this one you have to scan a prescribed paragraph of a text and pick out loaded phrases.

It tests the Reading Objectives:

·         Understand how writers achieve effects

It is worth 10 marks and you should spend 25 minutes working through it.

You will gain the most marks by finding 3-4 quotations per part and zooming in to those quotations picking out key words and analysing the effect:

'snorted water like a horse' comes as Lennie is thirstily gulping down water with the word 'horse' particularly important in de-humanising him as a character.

See how in the above example I've returned to the quotation to show I understand deeper meanings. If you can show this skill over 3-4 quotations per part you will do very well.


Re-read the descriptions of:
(a) the cold spell in paragraph 3, beginning ‘We are in the midst…’;
(b) the tiredness in paragraph 9, beginning ‘To tell the truth…’.

Select words and phrases from these descriptions, and explain how the writer has created
effects by using this language.
Write between 1 and 1½ sides, allowing for the size of your handwriting.

Up to 10 marks are available for the content of your answer.



Passage A
My winter on a husky farm in the Arctic Circle
Just over a year ago, I left my job at a national newspaper to work on a husky farm, 130 miles within the Arctic Circle in the far north of Finland. I handed in my security pass, packed away my notepads and prepared for a winter in darkness and under snow. My reasons for leaving, I realised, as I tried to explain my decision to friends and colleagues, were unclear. But, at 26, I was restless. I was dreaming of Arctic landscapes, cold and bleak expanses, perhaps in reaction to the noise and intrusion of London. Crowded living, urban alienation; they make films about that, don’t they? So I found a farm near the village of Hetta, deep in Finnish Lapland, that agreed to take me on as a dog handler for a busy winter season.

November 6, London
In my suitcase: one down-filled jacket, one PrimaLoft insulating jacket, four fleeces (varying heaviness), three pairs waterproof salopettes, two pairs fleece trousers, numerous base layer tops and long johns, many pairs thick socks (£21 a pop), head lamp, liner gloves, over-mitts, under-helmet balaclava, two polar Buffs, climbing knife, three Christmas puddings, one bottle Russian vodka. In summary, I’ve spent most of the money I’ve saved, and I haven’t left London yet.
On my flight from Heathrow I find myself staring blankly at a page of more than 100 husky mug shots I printed out before I left; I am meant to have memorised their names by the time I get there, but I am distracted and panicky. I put the page down and look out of the window instead.

December 17, Hetta
We are in the midst of a super-cold snap, with temperatures falling below -30C. I can’t go outside for more than a few moments without fully suiting up in cold-weather gear. The insides of my nostrils crackle with frost; any hair left uncovered picks up a grey sheen, as though I’ve aged 50 years in minutes. Occasionally my eyelashes freeze together. I learn that if any part of my body sticks to metal, I mustn’t panic and wrench away, or I risk ripping the skin clean off. One of the dogs, Monty, lost half of his tongue this way as a pup when he licked a metal post. It nearly killed him, and it took months of careful nursing and hand feeding in the house before he returned to work.
But while the temperatures drop, the tourist season is hotting up. Lapland’s economy depends almost entirely on a few short weeks before Christmas when visitors flood in from overseas. Suddenly it’s all go as we try to run as many safaris as possible, often working from 7am till past midnight.
In a rush this morning, I sped with my team out of the gates and took the first corner far too quickly. The sled flipped, dragging me through the snow on my stomach until the bar slipped out of my grip. By the time I’d jumped to my feet my dogs had overtaken the team in front and started a fight; I had had to throw myself between the two teams and wrestle them apart, growling and yelling. No harm done, but my nerves are jangling and my confidence has taken a knock.

December 21, Hetta
While freeing two dogs that have become tangled in the lines, I stupidly remove my gloves in -38C, and later find the colour has drained away from the tips of my fingers. They also have an unpleasant needling sensation. 'Congratulations,’ Pasi says. 'Your first frostbite.’ I’m thrilled and show them off to everyone.

December 25, Hetta and Valimaa
This week has been hard. We seem to be working non-stop and I haven’t seen daylight in three weeks. This is the polar night. The sun will not rise above the horizon for a further 10 days. It is dark enough to use head torches for most of the day, but at noon the skies are incredible, streaked with magenta and crimson and orange.
To tell the truth, I’m running on empty. Every waking moment for weeks has been spent feeding or harnessing or sledding or shovelling snow or shovelling shit. When, on Christmas Eve, I’m sternly told off for not cleaning kennels properly, I’m so tired and it’s so unfair that I find myself in tears, sobbing into a bucket of frozen meat as I chop it into pieces.
'Oh dear,’ Dot, another of the guides, says when she finds me. 'Feeling fragile?’ I laugh. It is a bit ridiculous.
Christmas Day itself is just as dark and cold as all the other days but it feels like we’ve turned a corner: the hardest part is over. The tourists will soon return to wherever they came from, the daylight will return from wherever it went. After a Christmas feast, five of us return to the wilderness farm. I drive; others grab some sleep while they can. When we arrive, past midnight, it strikes me how lucky we are. The air is so still and the sky is so clear, the stars so incredibly bright. 

Edited from an article by Cal Flyn in The Telegraph - Full article available here
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+ comments + 2 comments

25 March 2016 at 10:18

Is there a mark scheme? :)

25 March 2016 at 10:36

The writer gives the impression of extreme weather conditions. The phrase "super-cold" means the temperature is extremely low. This makes readers visualise the intensity of the cold climate. Next, the writer says her nostrils "crackle with frost". The word crackle means to break. This gives us the image of dry and cold weather


conditions. Also, the writer says her eyelashes are "frozen" together. The word frozen means that liquid has frozen into solid ice. This encourages readers to visualise the
formation of ice on her eyelashes.

To continue, the writer a;so gives the impression that life is very difficult. For instance, she says she is "sobbing". This means she is crying uncontrollably. This shows readers how hard life is because she is very emotional. Also, the writer says life is "unfair" to her. Unfair means that she is not being treated equally. This gives us the imagee of how she feels mistreated. Lastly, the writer says she is "sternly" told off. This word means strict and firm. This indicates that she is never given a break from the harsh activities she does.

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