Illum.e 2020 O level Answer Key Paper 2 Comprehension

P1 Editing


  1. with -> at (prep)
  2. great->greatly (wf, adj->adv)
  3. pass->passes (wf, SVA)
  4. forgot->forget (tense)
  5. Tick
  6. serves->serving (tense)
  7. will->would (Conditional)
  8. these->this (pronoun)
  9. Tick
  10. how->what (pronoun)


Text 1


  1. Look at the paragraph with the heading Singapore Art Week. Which phrase suggests the event offers the possibility of personal development? [1]


The phrase is ‘validate your creative journey’.


  1. Look at the heading Art Activities and the information below it. Which two of the activities are aimed at beginners? [1]
  2. Using oils (learn how to mix oils + how to apply…)
  3. Installations (will introduce you…)


  1. Look at the paragraph with the heading ART AFTER DARK: A NIGHT TO REMEMBER and the photograph. What feature of the Art Week does the photograph show? [1]


Images from well-known artists on famous buildings in five nominated districts.


  1. Look back at the whole webpage. Give two ways in which the organisers are trying to attract as many people as possible to the festival. [2]
  2. enjoyment and excitement to all types of art lovers (from art collector to …curious…)
  3. Various art activities with a wide range of art media

(Discover 100 exciting art events spread over 5 different districts)


Text 2

  1. At the beginning of the text, we learn that Seth’s grandmother ‘underwent a complete change.’


Explain how the language used in Paragraph 1 emphasises how big the changes were. Support your ideas with three details from Paragraph 1.                                                    [3]

1)’suddenly cut herself off from the world (, family and friends)’ emphasises that she had abruptly distanced herself from her social circle in a short time which was a major change from her usual sociable self.

2)’to dress like a monk’ suggests that even the way she dressed herself become radically/extremely different from her previous/ usual self

3)’Short circuit in the brain’ suggests that her personality and actions are so drastic that people assumed her brain was no longer functioning as per usual/ was behaving rather abnormally


“In the space of two hours” suggests that the change in her personality happened in a short space of time. [Speed, not magnitude]

‘Shutting herself away…’ - Repeats cut herself off from the world.


  1. In Paragraph 2, we are told Alma was ‘standing at the window staring out into the mist’ (lines 9-10).
  • What does this behaviour tell us about Alma’s thoughts? [1]

She was engrossed/deep in her own thoughts / she was contemplating deeply.

     Answers must reflect a pensive mood or similar.

  • How does this behaviour support Doris’s opinion of Alma? [1]

It reinforces the turning point when Alma’s personality had been transformed totally [paraphrase not required from complete change], since she had seemed set on going to the reception with/for her husband initially.


     Answers must reflect the ‘complete change’


  1. Look at Paragraph 2.

(a) The writer says Alma’s emphatic tone brooked no argument’ (line 12). What does this suggest about how Alma feels after making her decision?                                               [1]
She was very certain/firm/resolute/adamant about her decision not to go for the reception.

Accept similar answers

Brooked → allow / accept something, especially a difference of opinion or intention


(b) Doris ‘closed the door silently’ (line 13). What does this suggest about the relationship between Doris and Alma?                                                                                                 [1]

Doris was submissive/ obedient to Alma.


Lower quality answers (likely unaccepted):
Doris was fearful of/ distant to Alma. [Since she closed the door silently, it meant that Doris had no place to argue or to even ask why. So Alma’s decisions are always heeded by Doris].



  1. Give two details from Paragraph 3 that show that the family spent a lot of money on the reception. [1]


The two details are, ‘the cooks were busy with the banquet’ and ‘the chamber musicians were tuning their instruments’


Reject: ‘The waiters were just putting the finishing touches to the tables’ → which does not suggest scale nor luxury.


Cooks + Banquet - reflect amount and luxury of food

Chamber musicians + instruments - reflect luxury → how many people can afford to call in a group of musicians for a reception?


  1. Explain in your own words what is meant by ‘the most important benefactors’

(line 18).                                                                                                                           [1]


The people who gave /donated the greatest amount of money / or gave most frequently to the charity.


[Either magnitude of donation or frequency]


Benefactor → someone who gives money to help an organisation, society or person.


  1. In Paragraph 4, the writer says, ‘The dramatic changes started the next day’ (line 21).What two dramatic decisions does Alma make? [2]
  2. to live a simple life without her wealth or most of her belongings


[to earn the full factual mark, candidates must reflect how she ‘packed her bags and decided that very little of what she had would be of use + she allotted herself a modest pension and handed the rest of her wealth ot Larry]


Ii. to live at a residential home/ Lark House


  1. In Paragraph 4, we are told how other characters reacted to Alma’s decisions. [1]


  1. “A nursing home?” asked Larry, startled’ (line 28). Why do you think Larry reacts in this way? [1]

He was shocked as he did not expect Alma to move into a nursing home / to leave him and the family behind for a nursing home.


Accept answers which either reflects on the burden of care (being the husband) or Alma leaving home


  1. What is Doris worried about when she says, ‘“And what are we going to tell people?”’ (Line 31). [1]
    She was worried about the opinion of others/ of how others may feel / of how others may question.

Accept answers which reflect understanding of other ‘people’

12(a) In Paragraph 5, why is it surprising when Alma buys a car? [1]

She had not driven in decades and she had a chauffeur.

[Both parts required for 1 mark]


12(b) Why do you think the author compares the car to ‘an upended tortoise’ in Paragraph 5 (line 36)? [1]


The author wanted to reflect the colour of the car being lime-green and similar to that of a tortoise in colour, and how the car was turned on its roof and stuck after it was turned over by the three youths like an upended tortoise.

Any reasonable answers that are explained with reference to Comparison of Lime Green colour + Upended Tortoise (metaphor)


Just like an upended tortoise is ______________, the car was _______________ [JC Metaphor answering technique)

Just like an upended tortoise is green in colour and helpless, the car was lime-green, turned on its roof and stuck.


12(c) What impression do you get of Alma from Paragraph 5? [1]

She is eccentric / unpredictable / She is resolute in her decisions.


Clues → she resolved to get her chauffeur to drive her there + she got her driving licence she didn’t need + her car was lime-green so that it would stand out to other drivers + she would not kill someone if she unfortunately ran over them

Resolute → because she has thought things through even down to the car colour, and what happens if she gets into a car accident.


  1. The structure of the text reflects the different stages of Alma’s transition to a different life. Complete the flowchart by choosing one phrase from the box to summarise each stage. There are some extra phrases in the box you do not need to use. [4]

Stages in Alma’s transition to a different life


Taking Practical ActionLeaving familiar things behindRefusing to see a different point of view
Losing fame and fortune
Taking positive stepsRefusing to do what was expectedWorrying about what other people might say



Paragraph 1: Leaving familiar things behind


[She cut herself from her obligations, the world, her family/friends and even her typical clothes]


Paragraph 2-3:Refusing to do what was expected


[She was expected to go to the reception and help Larry and to make her speech and pose for photographs, which she refused to]

Paragraph 4: Taking Practical Action


[she simplified her life/ her wealth and announced her plans to move to Lark House]


Paragraph 5: Taking positive steps

[the whole paragraph was on why she got her driving licence and a lime-green car so that it would be visible to others + not kill others if she ran over them]


Text 3


14(a) From Paragraph 1, explain how the present-day use of the word ‘robot’ links to its original meaning (line 1). [1]

Robots today serve us through the tasks they perform for us in different circumstances/ industries.


Answers must reflect servitude + performing tasks + used widely in different aspects.

No paraphrasing required so serve/ serving can still be used. 


14(b) Why are few people likely to have seen a robot? [1]

Robots are used in tightly controlled environments (like in military and medical purposes), which is why humans rarely encounter them.


15(a) With reference to Paragraph 2, what features of the human form are often incorporated into robots? [1]

Robots may have jointed arms and legs that are capable of moving like human limbs.

15(b) Why are some robots built in a different form from humans? [1]

Some robots are designed for repetitive tasks which would not be facilitated by a human-like construction.



This is because many people find that those which resemble humans so closely could be mistaken for humans…etc.


16 With reference to lines 11-15, give two reasons to explain why some people think humanoid robots are ‘disturbing’.

(i) Robots could be programmed to behave and react to real-life situations in ways that would make them indistinguishable from human beings.

(ii) Robots have vastly superior intellectual capabilities.



17 Here is part of a conversation between two students, Kim and Melanie, who have read the article.

Kim: Robots exist to serve the human race and there’ll be a lot of benefits

Melanie: I don’t agree. I think robots will make our lives worse.

(a) Give one reason from Paragraph 3 that Kim can use to support his view. [1]

Robots don’t require rest breaks, salaries and holidays and are thus efficient, cheaper replacements for human workers, thus increasing economic productivity.


[Full answer required - since ONE reason is increased economic productivity]


(b) With reference to Paragraph 3, give two examples which support Melanie’s opinion. [2]

(i) Robots could replace a large proportion of human workers in the future, eventually leaving humans destitute.

(ii) Robots could lead to the loss of the sense of purpose humans gain from paid employment.


18 Why does the writer refer to ‘empathy, compassion, dedication, and the ability to make judgements’ in Paragraph 4 (line 26)?  [1]

The writer is emphasising on essential qualities for human beings that go beyond productivity and things robots can do.


  1. Using your own words as far as possible, summarise the ways in which robotic technology can be helpful to humans.Use only information from Paragraphs 4 and 5.


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

Robots can be used to support human activity when they (hint to begin from line 28)


1Retrieve dangerous materials that may harm a humanRecover harmful materials.



2They could also do time-consuming, laborious jobs which demand a meticulous approach free from human errorThey are employed to take on work that is detailed and labour intensive, reducing mistakes by humans.



3Robots can work in extreme conditions… where human limitations and vulnerabilities may hinder progressThey suit working in very challenging and dangerous conditions for humans



4Mining robots can help save lives as they work deep undergroundsaving lives as they can go deep subterranean.



5In addition to enhancing efficiency by mining around the clock, which leads to increased profitsEfficiency is increased as they are able to work 24-hours a day, maximising profits.


6Daily productivity to healthcare and brings all kinds of benefits in terms of convenienceConvenience is created with increased productivity in the healthcare


7Robots are already used in education to facilitate learningand currently aiding education.



8Online information banks assist doctors in making accurate diagnoses when symptoms do not obviously point to a specific illnessInformation that is deposited online allows healthcare professionals to make precise diagnosis of illnesses.



9Robotic aid is used to support and advance the work of human beingsHuman work is aided and furthered by robots.


Sample answer:

Robots can be used to support human activity when they recover harmful materials. Taking on detailed and labour-intensive work, thereby reducing mistakes by humans. They suit working in very challenging and dangerous conditions for humans, saving lives as they can go deep subterranean. They increase efficiency as they can work 24-hours a day, maximising profits. Convenience is created with increased productivity in healthcare and is currently aiding in education. Online information allows healthcare professionals to make precise diagnosis of illnesses. Human work is aided and furthered by robots. (78words, 9points)


Robots can be used to support human activity when they recover harmful materials or work with humans to do difficult tasks requiring careful, error-free methods, saving lives as they dig deep subterranean. Robots improve efficiency, and thus profits. They provide convenience with increased healthcare productivity, aiding education today. Information deposited online improves precision of medical diagnoses and human work is aided and furthered by robots. (9 points, 55 words)