Short Answer Questions

The first section of paper 1 tests comprehension questions based on Text A.

The comprehension task requires that you respond to a series of sub questions, testing on your understanding of explicit and implicit meanings as well as the ability to select/use information from the text.

Explicit vs implicit information.

Explicit information refers to the surface ideas that are easy to understand without any ambiguity and. do not require in depth reading of the text. Explicit questions do not give you a lot of marks, since not much analysis is required.

E.g. A crammed dormitory simply means that it was congested or crowded.

Implicit information on the other hand refers something that is suggested or implied hence not expressed directly.

Eg. A crammed dormitory suggests/implies lack of privacy, risk of suffocation and discomfort.

Tips to answering the short answer questions

  1. Read Text A before attempting the questions.
  2. Pay attention to the marks per question and space provided. It is a guide on how much you should write.
  3. Take note of the key words in every question e.g. Own words, identify, explain, paragraph to refer to.
  4. For questions 1b, you must show an understanding of meanings in 2 key words in the phrase provided. 
  5. For questions 1d(ii) and 1 (e), you must give 3 distinct ideas to score full marks. Don’t be FOOLED by the word EXPLAIN- it does not in any way insinuate that you give an elaborate explanation for each of the points given.


Qn. 1a. Give three examples of man-made materials humans use more than plastic.

Steel, cement and bricks

Qn. 1b  Using your own words, explain what the text means by:

  • ‘Adaptable and durable’ (line 1)

Tip: you must show a clear understanding of each of the keywords ‘adaptable’ and ‘durable’

Possible answers include.

Plastic can be used for different purposes and lasts for a long time

Can be changed into different shapes and it’s hard wearing

  • An astonishing mass

Tip: you must show a clear understanding of each of the keywords ‘astonishing and ‘mass’

Possible answers include.

An incredible amount

An amazing amount of plastic.

Qn. 1 (c) Re-read paragraph 3 ( ‘‘‘We’re rapidly emissions.’’’). Give two reasons why disposing of plastics is difficult.

Possible answers

Reason 1: because commonly used plastics are not biodegradable

Reason 2: plastic can only be disposed of through burning, but there are concerns about health due to emissions.

Qn. 1 (d) Re-read paragraphs 4 and 5 (‘Plastic items recycled once.’’’).

(i) Identify two facts about how plastic items are dealt with, which lead to plastic waste littering the environment. (3 marks)

Possible answers

Fact 1: plastic is used for very short periods of time then discarded.

Fact 2: plastic is usually sent to landfill.

Qn. 1d (ii) Re-read paragraphs 4 and 5, (‘Plastic items … recycled once.”’). What changes are needed to improve the recycling of plastic?

Tip: Three distinct reasons are needed to score full marks.

Possible Answers

A better design that can be recycled

Educating people on the need to recycle

By recycling plastics more than once

The need to recycle the remaining 10% of plastic too

Qn. (1e.) Re-read paragraphs 6 and 7, (‘In the meantime … that long.”’). Using your own words, explain the reasons why the problem of plastic waste is not being dealt with quickly enough.

Tip: you must use your own words and give 3 different answers. Don’t explain each of the answers.

Possible answers

The plastic problem is not quickly being addressed because of the sheer volume of it caused by the cheap cost of manufacturing it as well as the lack of a coordinated approach to deal with the problem worldwide.