Cambridge OL English Essays

OL English
 Essays  2 

by bunpeiris

Cambridge OL English bunpeirisCambridge OL essay

[Your day-to-day chit chat English doesn’t get you anywhere up: let your words flow on the paper & ring in the ears.]

“Criticize everything that moves”
[Now, take it easy: don’t be nasty or negative about everything. All you have to do is, instead of just accepting what you are told,ask why and hunt for the answers today as if there’s no tomorrow.  In an essay title, criticize probably means you should give your judgment about the merit of [a] theories or opinions or [b] about the truth of facts, and back your judgment by a discussion of the evidence.]

At this stage in Cambridge OL, you may have definitely realized a superior command in English language is absolutely central to your learning: without it, you will not have argumentative skills sharpened with persuasive punches. Development of your language skills and specifically, your academic English is an on-going process. Mastery never comes [There’s only one master- Shakespeare], yet superior command in language is all yours, provided you put your heart to the matter.

How do I gain a superior command of English language?
[a] Read all the time. Read works of literature till death.
[b] Carry on developing your “micro skills” i.e., grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation till you gain higher competence
[c] Continue raising your four ‘macro skills” i.e., listening, speaking, reading, writing till you gain superior command
[d] Then again, you need to excel in Use of Language. Think about not only on what you say, but how you say it.
Well, that’s the edge, a really sharp edge, if you get it.
Now, “Use of Language” wouldn’t be a content area or strand that you are familiar with unless you have followed a course of study books in your lower grades, encompassing same. The study course book series of “Language in Use” in four levels, i.e. beginner, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper intermediate features all of these five strands].The fifth strand ofUse of language” is geared to set you up in the overdrive with Effective Language in your essays.
Competence in Effective Language makes it possible for you to produce high quality essays. A high quality essay is studded with six principle features:

Apply six principle features To get rid of words/expression/phrases Result
Concrete and specific vague and abstract Therein you do pave the path in producing high quality academic writing: essay,  Report, a Dissertation, a Thesis or a Proposition.
How do you become competent to the extent of producing high quality high quality academic writing: essay,  Report, a Dissertation, a Thesis or a Proposition.
Concise, verbose
Familiar obscure
Precise and clear inaccurate or ambiguous
Constructive destructive
Appropriately formal

Essay  “The essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything”, Aldous Huxley
Now, our immediate requirement: your essays in the Cambridge OL English exam

Essays and exams are the main means used to assess or measure the academic progress of a student.  An exam often requires a student to write a small number of short essays in a fixed period of time under supervision and without being able to use books or notes.  Now, how do you produce high quality essay in your Cambridge OL English exam.
You need to have a clear idea of what you think about your topic; you need to have a position, argument, or clear stance on a topic, that you defend with evidence and argument.  This is what’s called your thesis statement.

Parts Of The Essay Get Into Action Follow The Method Result: You Essay Will
[Explain the academic problem as you see it, and say how you intend to handle it. It tells the reader what to expect, and what to look for.]
Focus on the question Begin with the central theme of the essay: make your thesis statement. have the reader apprised of your theme from the very beginning of the essay

The body or content
[Present the evidence for the essay’s argument.]

Structure your essay Set up paragraphs for the logical order of the argument. become sequential; have flow
Discuss new idea/point in a new paragraph Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; i.e. a sentence which contain the main point of the paragraph. [a] become coherent
[b] have a  logical and
consistent speech
The conclusion Sum up your argument have the reader informed/convinced.

Types of Essays in Cambridge OL

You are required to You are allowed to
Argumentative Essays
[a] put forward your point of view
[b] justify holding your point of view
[c] develop your ideas logically so that convincing and persuasive conclusion
could be produced.
[d] maintain a formal tone
Descriptive Essays

[a] write about a place or person or an event known to you or participated by you.

[a] use  informal or even colloquial approach.  Ref “Crazy Rain & Hot Legs
[b] create  places, persons and situations
Discursive Essays
[a] explore your ideas about a particular topic
[b] write in your own personal standpoint, but  you are required to
[c] make an impartial approach to the topic
[d] adopt a formal tone

[a] consider different aspects of a particular idea
or situation

[b] leave the argument open, without arriving at
a particular conclusion

Personal Essays
[a] write about something which you have experienced personally[b] provide some context for the events so that your reader is not confused.
Narrative Essays
[a] write a story
[b] or write a story based on a sentence given.
[c] or write based on particular situation given
Directed or Transactional Writing
[a] demonstrate both your reading and writing skills
[b] include your writing within a particular writing genre [a letter; a report; a magazine or newspaper article etc.]
[c] write using an appropriate tone and vocabulary

The essay types given above serves the purposes of six Cambridge OL Types of essays.
However, types of essays can be categorized as follows too.

[i] Descriptive: painting a picture with  words
[ii]   Expository: observing and reporting
[iii]  Narrative: telling a story
[iv]  Imaginative: unleashing your creative powers
[v]  Comparison: show similarities & differences
[vi] Critical: analyze strengths and weaknesses
[vii]  Critical: analyze strengths and weaknesses
[viii] Cause and Effect: explain with proof
[ix] Persuasive: constructing an argument
[x]  Definitive: try and define the meaning of something
[xi] Process: explain how to do something

How do you produce a high quality essay?
[1] Maintain consistency of tense eg. I was feeling [PAST TENSE] happy so I went [PAST TENSE] to see my best friend.

[2] Maintain cohesion and coherence. Cohesion and coherence are terms used in discourse analysis and text linguistics to describe the properties of written texts.

connection of ideas at the sentence level. connection of ideas at the idea level
immediately affects the tone of your writing “rhetorical” aspects of your writing, which include developing and supporting your argument (e.g. thesis statement development), synthesizing and integrating readings, organizing and clarifying ideas.
deals with sentence unity. concerns text unity
unity of sentences within a paragraph logical interconnection; overall sense or understandability.
is determined by lexically [of or relating to the words or vocabulary of a language] and grammatically overt inter sentential relationships. is based on semantic [of, relating to, or arising  from the different meanings of words or other symbols] relationships.
the action or fact of forming a united whole. the quality of being logically structured.
describes the way in which a text is tied together by
linguistic devices, such as so/we see/additionally/    therefore/ however/and/on the other hand
a text has it if its constituent sentences follow on one from the other in an orderly fashion so that the reader can make sense of the entire text.


[3]PEEL PARAGRAPHS:  Point, Evidence, Explanation, Link format to develop paragraphs in your essays. Peel technique makes the matters easier for you to present well crafted essays at all times.

 How do you follow PEEL?
[a] Begin each paragraphs with topic sentences
[b] Each individual paragraphs should be focused on a single idea that supports your argument.
[c] Support assertions with evidence, & expound your ideas in the clearest, most sensible way you can.
[d] Speak to your reader as if he or she were sitting in front of you. In other words, instead of writing
the essay, try talking the essay.
[e] Each paragraph should end with a concluding statement, i.e. a short statement that reinforces that
you have proven what you said  in your topic sentence.
[f] Model every paragraph of your essay PEEL technique
Where do you apply PEEL?
[a] Can be applied to  writing a research paper, personal, expository, or argumentative essay.
[b] Can be applied to essay questions on literature exams.
Point Evidence Explanation Link
Topic sentence introduces the point or central argument in the paragraph.
It is extremely important for providing fluidity and unity within your paper.

Academic writing: credible & verifiable statistics, concrete examples, illustrations, results or findings of empirical studies

OL literature: evidence should be gleaned strictly from the text.

Informal writings such as personal essays, blogs: personal experience too can be used.

Explain, clarify and expand on all parts of the topic sentence.

Interpret, evaluate and provide additional details to support main idea.

Interpretation of evidence: you will be analyzing it strength & weaknesses; examining the information that is derived from it.

Judgment or claim: can be made in which you explicitly state an assumption based on the evidence provided.

Link to the material of the paragraph to the point of the paragraph.


Allow for the transition to the next topic or paragraph.


In the case of extended piece of writing, to the thesis or central argument.

Is there a point of view that needs sharing?
Is there an important piece of the puzzle that you can share?Do you need to define a term?
What information do you have to support your point?

Are there quotes that you can use to illustrate the point that you are making?
Are there examples that you can include that show what you mean

What effect does this evidence have?
How important is the evidence that you have shared?
What does this point and evidence to do with the question?
To begin with….

Moving on to…..

As well as….

For example…
This is shown in….Such as….
As a result of….
This means that….
This caused….
In conclusion….,This tells us that…., This helps answer the question because….


Poor writing


Beer drinking has been a popular social activity for thousands of years. “Since the Egyptians first fermented grain along the banks of the Nile, beer has been a part of almost every society.” The quotation isn’t joined to the writer’s own words; it’s a “floating quotation,” disconnected from other sentences.
This disrupts the flow of the sentences–the passage seems clunky and underdeveloped.
Convincing writing Beer drinking has been a popular social activity for thousands of years. In his book The Birth of Beer, anthropologist Paul Williams writes that “since the Egyptians first fermented grain along the banks of the Nile, beer has been a part of almost every society” This sentence gives the reader more information about the credibility of this information. The passage flows well and is quite clear.
The reader is much more likely to be convinced of the argument.

In-Text Quotations
Incorporate brief quotations [no more than four typed lines of prose or three lines of poetry] into your text. You may place the quotation virtually anywhere in your sentence:

At the Beginning
“To live a life is not to cross a field,” Sutherland, quoting Pasternak, writes at the beginning of her narrative.
“They can run, but they can’t hide,” warned President Bush during a recent press conference.

In the Middle
Woolf begins and end by speaking of the need of the woman writer to have “money and a room of her own” –an idea that certainly spoke to Plath’s condition.
“Education without attention to the arts,” explains theorists Elliot Eisner, “would be an impoverished enterprise”.

Introducing Quotations
Statements that introduce in-text quotations take a range of punctuation marks and lead-in words. Here are some examples of ways writers typically introduce quotations.

Introducing a Quotation Using a Colon
[A colon usually follows an independent clause placed before the quotation.]
As George Williams notes, protection of white privilege is critical to patterns of discrimination: “Whenever a number of persons within a society have enjoyed for a considerable period of time certain opportunities for getting wealth, for exercising power and authority, and for successfully claiming prestige and social deference, there is a strong tendency for these people to feel that these benefits are theirs by ‘right’”.

Introducing a Quotation Using a that
No punctuation is generally needed with that, and no capital letter is used to begin the quotation.

Noting this failure, Alice Miller asserts that “the reason for her despair was not her suffering but the impossibility of communicating her suffering to another person”.

Punctuating within Quotations
Although punctuation within a quotation should reproduce the original, some adaptations may be necessary. Use single quotations marks for quotations within the question:
Original from Guterson
E. D. Hirsch also recognizes the  connection between  family and learning, suggesting in his discussion of family background and academic achievement “that the significant part of our children’s education has been going on outside rather than inside the schools.”
Quoted Version
Guterson claims that E. D. Hirsch “also recognizes the connection between family and learning, suggesting in his discussion of family background and academic achievement  ‘that the significant part of our children’s education has been going on outside rather than the inside the schools’”.

If the quotation ends with a question mark or an exclamation point, retain the original punctuation:
“Did you think I loved you?” Edith later aska Dombay.

If a quotation ending with a question mark or an exclamation point concludes your sentence, retain the question mark or exclamation point, and put the parenthetical reference and sentence period outside the quotation mark:
Edith later asks Dombey, “Did you think I love you?”.
“Cohesive Markers” are words used to link/join/connect sentences and paragraphs. COHESIVE MARKERS IN PEEL PARAGRAPHS


To avoid using ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘my’ This means/suggests/indicates that….   It is evident that …..
This evidence supports the idea that…  This leads to the conclusion that…
Verbs that can replace ‘states’ Describes, thinks, infers, declares, concludes, conveys, testifies, questions, summarizes, asserts, proclaims, illustrates, believes, observes, protests, doubts, exemplifies, stresses
To state a point of view This means that…     this would be a good choice because…. In particular…. Above all…  Besides… it is significant that…..
Analyzing a problem A is like B in that……; Of most significance is …. ; Of least significance is… ; Some aspects of the problem are more or less significant than others….; There are several aspects of the problem to be examined…… ; There are clear similarities between,,,, and ….   ; Differences are evident between….
Making recommendations After looking at both sides/all the evidence…; It is therefore advisable ‘logical to propose…..; Evidence overwhelmingly supports the suggestion/notion that….
Reaching conclusions So, finally, to conclude, As a result….; Thus…/ Therefore…../Finally…..  The evidence supports the view/opinion that… ; The following conclusions can be drawn….   Consequently, it would seem….. A consideration of all the
Stating the obvious obviously, it goes without saying, clearly, naturally, of course, as one might expect, surely, as one might expect/choices affirms that…..
Generalizing In general, on the whole, as a rule, for the most part, in most cases, usually
Concession However, even though, however much, nevertheless, still, yet, although
Highlighting In particular, especially, mainly, particularly
Reaching conclusions So, finally, to conclude, As a result….; Thus…/ Therefore…../Finally…..  The evidence supports the view/opinion that… ; The following conclusions can be drawn….   Consequently,   it would seem….. A consideration of all the options/choices affirms that…..


Cause and effect Because, because of this, thus, accordingly, hence, in order to, so that, in that case, under those circumstances, as a result, for this reason, as a consequence, if, then, because, so, therefore, thus, as a result of
To show sequence firstly, finally, meanwhile, after, then, [first, second, third],
To indicate addition and, too, besides, as well as, in addition, what is more, apart from this, not only… but also, in the same way
moreover, also, as well as, furthermore, on the other hand
To express inference therefore, consequently, accordingly
To indicate viewpoints in spite of, with regard to, in view of
To qualify a statement however, although, unless, except, if, as long as, apart from, yet
To emphasis above all, in particular, especially, indeed, notably
To illustrate for example, such as, for instance, as revealed by, in the case of
To compare Equally, in the same way, similarly, likewise, as with, like
To contrast Whereas, instead of, alternatively, otherwise, unlike, on the other hand, in contrast to, although


Transitional phrases are useful for showing the reader where one section ends and another begins. In essence, they lead the reader from one section of the paragraph of another.

Add information Again, besides, moreover, another, together with, and, likewise, as well, additionally, along with, also, for example, furthermore, apart from this, what is more, in addition, in the same way, not only… but also, as well as, besides
Conclude or summarize In short, finally, in summary, in conclusion, consequently, due to, all in all, as a result, accordingly, to sum up, thus, therefore, hence
Contrast or show a difference But, otherwise, even though, conversely, even so, yet, however, counter to, on the other hand, as opposed to, on the contrary, nevertheless, still, in contrast to, alternatively
Emphasize a point Again, indeed, to repeat, truly, in fact, to emphasize, for this reason, with this in mind
Show similarities in the same manner, in the same way, also, likewise, both, as , similarly
Clarify That is, in other words, put another way, stated differently, to clarify
Show location Above, across, against, alongside, amid, in front of, near, among, around, away from, behind, below, inside, off, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by, down, into, onto, throughout, outside, over, under
Show time About, after, at, first, second, prior to, subsequently, until, meanwhile, today, tomorrow, before, soon, later, afterward, immediately, finally, during, in conclusion, next, as soon as, then

Structuring the text
Some words and expressions for ordering and arranging the parts of an essay

Function in the text example
beginning I should like to preface my argument with a true story.
Mapping out the text I shall return to this point later in my essay
Connecting points This brings me/us my next area of discussion, which is finance.
focusing I should now like to address the question of the arms race.
Ordering points The arguments are presented in ascending/descending order of importance
Quoting/referring The ideas of several writers will be cited in support of the argument.
The text alludes to several themes that need closer examination.
Including/excluding material Discussion of the roots of the problem is beyond the scope of this essay.
It is impossible to deal with all the issues in this short essay.
There will only be space to touch upon the big question of political responsibility.
drawing conclusions We are forced to conclude that unemployment will always  be with us.

Cause and Effect
Cause verbs and their collocations

cause sadness, unhappiness;  [a lot of] trouble/problems; an illness [e.g. pneumonia]; a disaster/an accident
produce a report, statistics/figures, good results/evidence
give [a lot of] pleasure/happiness;  a reason/motivation for something; [a lot of] trouble; good results; good results
generate revenue/income/money; complaints/extra work/ controversy, graphics/documents; interest/enthusiasm/publicity
provoke feeling of despair
Precipitated/sparked off political crisis
brought about great results
resulted in a formal complaint

Replace “because of” wherever possible for the purposes of style

Because of Replacing ‘because of’
Because of the crash on the motorway, all traffic is being severely delayed. Owing to/As a result of/As a consequence of the crash on the motorway, all traffic is being severely delayed.
We got there in time, because of your advice. We got there in time, thanks to you advice.
My computer crashed, because of which I lost all the data My computer crashed, as a result of which I lost all the data.
My computer crashed, as a consequence of which I lost all data.
The flight was cancelled because of bad weather. The flight was cancelled due to/owing to bad weather.
Because of one bad decision after another, he’s lost all his money. As a consequence of/As a result of one bad decision after another, he’s lost all his money.

Comparison and contrast
[a] Talking about similarity

Key word collocation meaning
affinity I often feel there is a cultural affinity between London and New York.
I felt an affinity with the writer as I read this novel.
Closeness; feeling that different things/people have much in common
akin Their music is more akin to that of the Beatles than to the Spice Girls similar in spirit/feel
analogy To use a sporting analogy, middle-age is like half-time at a football match. See similarities that help us understand something
correspond The picture this news article paints does not correspond to the truth. Is not equal to/does not match
equate It’s a mistake to equate the price of something with its true value. consider as the same
tantamount She knew that to apologize would be tantamount to admitting she had failed. The equivalent of (normally used in negative contexts0
interchangeable The goals of the two sides in the war have become almost interchangeable. so similar that they could be exchanged one for the other.
indistinguishable Mrs. Burton’s shop was indistinguishable from all other in the street. so similar you cannot see the difference

[b] Talking about difference; adjectives with di-

adjective contexts/comments example
diverse used of different types of something The diverse ethnic groups living in Malaysia give the country its cultural richness.
disparate used of different types within a group, but emphasises separation and difference The disparate regions of Spain all have unique customs and cultures.
dissimilar very often used with not This house is not dissimilar to the one I was born in.
divergent often used of contrasting opinions or ideas. They have widely divergent opinions.
distinct used to describe differences where one might be deceived by similarities. The Swedish and Norwegian languages are quite distinct from one another, even though they look similar when written.
discrete different and separate, not overlapping There are several discrete categories of verbs in Englsh.

Works Cited

Book: Toner, Helen & Reynolds, John. O Level English: New Delhi, Cambridge University Press India, 2009, Reprint
Book: Etherton, Alan. General Certificate English: Cheltenham, Nelson Thornes, 2001
Book:McCarthy, Michael & O’Dell, Felicity: English Vocabulary in Use Advanced, New Delhi, Cambridge University Press India, 2012, Reprint
Book:Axelrod, Rise B. & Cooper, Charles R. The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing: Boston, Bedford/St. Martin, U.S.A., Eighth edition

Image, Essay Paragraph Structure×713/Essay_Paragraph_Structure_Burger_2012.jpg  18 January 2016

Image 2: Wiki Educator. “Academic writing/Writing an academic” 18 January 2016

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