• Vanita Pal

How to score in your Secondary 2 English Exams

I have written specific strategies for you to get a grasp of the secondary 2 English exam paper and achieve high scores in a short time.

It may sound like an empty promise but I have taught many students these strategies and they have found results within a short time. I have also written about these strategies in my books and they have stood the test of time.




The Secondary 2 English paper becomes more of an uphill challenge compared to secondary 1.

Most students who faced the secondary 1 paper would have found that it was a transitional time where they had to make the switch from primary to secondary syllabuses.

In secondary 2, the task is entirely different. You will be faced with more difficult questions as you will be streamlined slowly into the O level format.

The Comprehension Passages are longer in length and the content is linked to current affairs and world topics. The vocabulary used is also a challenge and by this time you are expected to be in a position to recognise more challenging words.

I am only going to teach you 2 strategies. One is for the comprehension paper and the other is for the composition, continuous writing section.

And just what are these strategies? You may ask.

The Strategies

The only way to handle these papers is to locate the main points.

You will have to locate the gist of the comprehension paper by looking out for the main points in every paragraph.

For the composition paper, you will have to focus on the main points for each composition before you write it.

More details on how to locate and write these points will be shared below.

How to Locate the Main Points for Comprehension?

Below, is an extract from my secondary 2 comprehension book.

1Nature’s wonders have always been a marvel which is hard to replicate artificially. They are seen in the form of natural phenomena which have been observed throughout all time. According to scientists phenomena are the subject of observation. It has been noted that phenomenon may be a feature of matter, energy, or spacetime. An example will be Isaac Newton’s observations of the phenomenon of the moon's orbit. The renowned Galileo Galilei made observations of pendulum related phenomena.


2 To most of us, nature’s wonders or phenomenon occur as a result of a freak of nature. It means that something happens which defies the norm or the way things are done. A natural phenomenon is not produced by humans though it may affect humans and is therefore non-artificial. Some examples of natural phenomena would be volcanic eruptions, weather and decay of living matter.


3Ageing, bacteria and natural disasters are also supposed to affect humans and are considered to be phenomena. Most natural phenomena are harmless such as rain but there are others of a harmful nature such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions.

Trying to digest every single piece of information may be quite a struggle. The only way to manage with the stream of information is to locate the main points.

If you read the paragraph, you will notice there are only 2 main points.

1) The natural phenomena of nature

2) Isaac Newton’s observations of the moon’s orbit and Galileo Galilei’s observations of pendulum related phenomena.

It becomes really easy to recall when attempting the questions later as you will know exactly how to answer.

Let us try the second and third paragraphs.

There is only one point in the second paragraph.

1) The definition of phenomena. That is, natural phenomena is a freak of nature.


In the third paragraph, there is also one point only.

1) Harmless and harmful natural phenomena.

Reasons why locating the main points in comprehension can help you

1.Locating the main points like this can also help you in your summary writing as you will be able to tackle it quickly and save time.

2. It will help you to answer your questions accurately as all questions are based on the main points. The statistical and elaboration parts can be used to pad up your answers but the main points are always the key focus.

3. When you read the passage the second time after having located the main points, the entire passage will seem easier to understand. This will aid those who are weak in their vocabulary. Locating the points will help you to understand the gist of the passage easily.

How to locate the main points for Composition?

Whether you believe it or not, locating the main points for composition can be a help when you are deciding how to begin writing.

Firstly, you will be able to organise your points quickly this way and it will help you to steer clear of writing out of point which is a common mistake many students do.

How to find the Main Points for your Composition paper?

1. Choose your topic. If it is narrative, then you will follow this simple format.

1st paragraph – introduction

2nd paragraph – 2 main points. I) background of main character ii) situation of that character

3rd paragraph - 1 main point i) Build up the problem which the character will face eventually

4th paragraph – 1 point i)the prelude to the breakdown/ chaos/ inability to handle/ stress

5th paragraph – 1 point i) The worst case scenario eg the situation is out of control

6th paragraph – 1point i) reaction, trying to gain normalcy with or without help.

7th paragraph – 1point i) getting back on track and recover

8th paragraph – 1 point i) what is the lesson learnt?

All you have to do is to follow this template carefully and stick to it during your exams. If you practice doing this at least 5 to 6 times before the exams, your results will be startling.

Why?

This way of writing the main points helps you to write i) smoothly without hitches and ii) allows you to focus on the main story so there is more room for creative thinking.

There is one Last piece of Advice I would like to offer. As much as these strategies are meant to be helpful, getting someone to check your work is always a great additional help you can get.

This will help you to avoid those dreadful mistakes in sentence construction and misuse of words which can prevent you from reaching your full potential.

If you can follow strategies which I have shared with you, your task will no longer be an uphill climb.

Instead, you will receive satisfying grades and you will actually find yourself looking forward to your exams with eagerness.

I would like to wish you all the best in your journey to achieve the best possible results!