IGCSE English (First Language): Specimen Questions with Answers 155 - 156 of 179


Reading Comprehension

Life by,

Henry van Dyke

Let me but live my life from year to year, with forward face and unreluctantly soul; Not hurrying to, nor turning from the goal; Not mourning for the things that disappear in the dim past, nor holding back in fear from what the future veils; but with a whole and happy heart, that pays its toll to Youth and Age, and travels on with cheer.

So, let the way wind up the hill or down, o՚er rough or smooth, the journey will be joy: Still seeking what I sought when but a boy, New friendship, high adventure, and a crown, My heart will keep the courage of the quest, and hope the road՚s last turn will be the best.

Question 155 (2 of 2 Based on Passage)


Write in Short

Short Answer▾

Write a letter to your friend describing your reaction to the various acts of violence you are aware of. (Marks 10)


North High ground road, Tirunelveli,

June 23,20120

Dear Sanjay,

How are you? I am sure you are safe in your place. Take care of yourself. Life is becoming riskier and more unsafe. The value for life is not given importance: I am sure you know about the terrorist՚s attacks in Mumbai and in other parts of the country. When we open a newspaper or switch on a news channel, we see a lot of unpleasant incidents taking place in the world. Terrorism in Kashmir, religious clashes in Gujarat, Maoists problem in Orissa, Bihar and West Bengal, caste clashes in Tamil Nadu are examples of growing violence. It is time that man puts an end to violence. We shall hope for the better.

Thanking you,

Yours lovingly,




Music – The Hope Raiser

One of my parents՚ deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not properly value me as a musician, that I wouldn՚t be appreciated. I had very good grades in high school, I was good in science and math, and they imagined that as a doctor or a research chemist or an engineer, I might be more appreciated than I would be as a musician. I still remember my mother՚s remark when I announced my decision to apply to music school. She said, ‘You՚re wasting your SAT scores!’ On some level, I think, my parents were not sure what the value of music was, what its purpose was. And they loved music: they listened to classical music all the time. They just weren՚t clear about its function. So, let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts music in the “arts and entertainment” section of the newspaper. Serious music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it՚s the opposite of entertainment. Let me talk a little bit about music, and how it works.

One of the first cultures to articulate how music really works was that of the ancient Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you: the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects.

Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us. Let me give you some examples of how this works. One of the most profound musical compositions of all time is the “Quartet for the End of Time” written by a French composer Olivier Messiaen in 1940. Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered the war against Nazi Germany. He was captured by the Germans in June of 1940 and imprisoned in a prisoner-of-war camp.

He was fortunate to find a sympathetic prison guard who gave him paper and a place to compose, and was fortunate to have musician colleagues in the camp, a cellist, a violinist, and a clarinetist. Messiaen wrote his quartet with these specific players in mind. It was performed in January 1941 for four thousand prisoners and guards in the prison camp. Today it is one of the most famous masterworks in the Repertoire.

Given what we have since learned about life in the Nazi camps, why would anyone in his right mind waste time and energy writing or playing music? There was barely enough energy on a good day to find food and water, to avoid a beating, to stay warm, to escape torture-why would anyone bother with music? And yet-even from the concentration camps, we have poetry, we have music, we have visual art; it wasn՚t just this one fanatic Messiaen; many, many people created art. Why? Well, in a place where people are only focused on survival, on the bare necessities, the obvious conclusion is that art must be, somehow, essential for life. The camps were without money, without hope, without commerce, without recreation, without basic respect, but they were not without art. Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, “I am alive, and my life has meaning.”

Question 156 (1 of 6 Based on Passage)


Write in Brief

One Liner▾

Read the incident again and answer the following questions. (Marks 4)

How is music different from astronomy?


Astronomy is the study of relationship between observable, permanent, external objects. But music is the study of relationship between invisible, internal, hidden objects.