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Secondary 4 English for October - O’ Level Exams (Paper 2)


Here's what students can expect for Secondary 4 English for the month of October.

It will be the O’ Level examinations this month. Both Paper 1 and Paper 2 will be conducted on the same day.


Although we went through the sections of Paper 2 last month, I would like to share and remind students the steps to take for tackling the summary question as this is the most challenging question out of all the comprehension question types.

For the parent who is unsure of what the summary question is, it is the last question that will be asked in the Paper 2, based on a non-narrative text. Students are required to understand the text, extract information from the stated paragraphs and write a summary of no more than 80 words.

As we have mentioned previously, locating the points is not a problem for the students. What is challenging for them is rephrasing the ideas in their own words and ensuring each point flows smoothly from one to the other.

Let's go through a step-by-step approach with a sample question:

"Using your own words as far as possible, summarise the challenges that road builders have faced, and the improvements they have made to overcome each of them, during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Use only information from Paragraphs 2 and 3.

Your summary must be written in continuous writing (not note form). It must not be longer than 80 words (not counting the words given to help you begin."


1. Understand and Analyse the Summary Question

  • First, students have to pick out that this summary question requires them to look out for two things. They have to identify challenges that road builders have faced and the improvements they have made to overcome.

  • Next, they should mark out the paragraphs they are supposed to extract the points from

2. Search for main points

  • After marking out the paragraphs, underline each main point and then rephrase it along the margin, in note form, in your own words.

  • Remember to only include main points. We have been taught to leave out details, examples/illustrations, elaboration, repetitions, quotations.

  • Having said that, this is tricky as some texts use examples to illustrate a main point, so students have to be careful and not think that all examples are unnecessary.

  • With 8 marks allocated to content, there should be 8 main points identified.

3. Organise your points

  • With this sample question, students could write their answer listing one challenge and its corresponding improvement. There are some questions which require students to organise the answer into 2 parts and the points provided in the passage may not be in order.

4. Writing your answer

  • If possible, students should write a first draft on a sheet of rough paper with a grid drawn freehand. Then, write one word per box in the grid.

  • Rephrase: it is necessary to change the sentence structure. Word for word substitution will not work.

  • Write in complete sentences, not in note form. Thus, it is important that students use linking words to make the summary cohesive.

  • The summary is to be written in one paragraph only.


Of the 1 hour 50 minutes for Paper 2, students should be allocating about 20 minutes for this question.



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