Exam Centre: Composing (B)


Composing (B) question  (50 marks)


Exam Preparation

Question B

Look over any examples you have been given of the more common Question B tasks e.g diary entries, talks and letters. Notice particularly the layout and the register used. Notice how those with the highest marks show excellent audience awareness.

The key to this is to think:

  • Purpose: Why am I writing? What am I trying to achieve? Is it to inform, persuade, entertain; or a mixture?
  • Audience: Who am I writing to? Is it myself, my best friend, my peers, my parents, my fellow citizens, the leaders of the U.N.?
  • Register: What style, language, tone will I use? Will it be light-hearted, humorous, informal, formal, etc. This is dependent particularly on who the audience is but also on what I am trying to achieve (purpose).
  • Structure: Does the task require a particular structure? What layout should I use?

Try to practice writing as many questions as you have time for. At the very least, you should find time to regularly practice making P.A.R.S. plans based on previous years’ questions, as well as brainstorming the points/paragraphs that would form the main part of your answer.

Make sure that you are aware of the layouts for the more common types of ‘B’ questions e.g. reviews have an introduction, a summary, an assessment and a recommendation. Formal and informal letters have different layouts etc.


Exam Technique



  1. Start by underlining the key words in the question.
  2. Next make a brief P.A.R.S. plan
  3. Brainstorm the task.
  4. Decide on the ideas from the brainstorm that you intend to use.
  5. Number these so that they are in a cohesive order that fit well together.
  6. Begin writing your answer, not forgetting that certain tasks require a specific layout e.g. diary entries require ‘Dear Diary’ and a date; articles require headlines etc.
  7. Stick to your plan. Many tasks will allow you to discuss one point per paragraph.
  8. It is important to show audience awareness throughout your answer.
  9. Always include a closing paragraph.
  10. In general treat the ‘B’ question as a mini-essay.




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