Illum.e 2015 O level Answer Key Paper 2 Comprehension

1. The webpage begins with the words ‘The world is yours’. What effect is this intended to have on the reader? [1]

(talk about how they are engaged and how the world can become theirs, because they can go around the world and make a difference/are responsible because its their own world.)

2. Refer to the paragraph headed Volunteer Overseas with Projects Abroad. Identify the two phrases of not more than six each words which suggest that ‘Projects Abroad’ can look after its volunteers successfully. [2]

(i) ‘organise all aspects of your project’ [1]

(ii) ‘over twenty years of experience’ [1]

3. Look at the photograph under the heading Teaching. What impression of teaching do you think the photograph aims to present? [1]

Teaching is fulfilling because one has the ability to make students happy, as seen in the smiling faces on the students.


Teaching is fun, as illustrated by the smiling teacher in the picture.

4. Projects Abroad offers a wide range of activities and packages. Which sentence is intended to give the impression that, for this firm, nothing is impossible? [1]

‘Whatever it is that you would like to do, we can arrange it for you.’

2015 Text 2

5. From paragraph 1, give two ways in which the writer emphasises the extremely inquisitive nature of the foreigner who was ‘full of questions’.

i) The writer uses ellipsis at the end of the paragraph.

This shows that there are many more questions yet to be asked. [1]

ii) The writer uses the word ‘all’ to show the foreigner’s eagerness to know everything about Chinese technology. [1]


The writer repeated the phrase ‘he wanted to know’ to emphasise his extremely inquisitive nature. [1]

6. Which one word in paragraph 1 suggests the domineering nature of the engineer? [1]

The word is ‘demanded’.

7. In paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, the writer suggests that the engineer is a very irritating person. Pick out and write down one expression from each of these paragraphs and explain in each case the characteristic that makes him irritating.

(i) Para 2 ‘incessant questioning’ informs that us the foreigner was asking questions without pausing, which meant that there was no peace for the writer. [1]

(ii) Para 3 ‘would no doubt have enlightened me’ suggests that the foreigner was a show-off/ a smart-alec/ a know-it-all. His pompous attitude/inflated ego about his knowledge was annoying. [1]

(iii) Para 4 ‘that the engineer would shut up and poke his nose elsewhere’ suggests that the foreigner was a busybody who was insensitive to people’s need for privacy.[1]

8. In paragraph 4, what made the student sound as if he were speaking about ‘an old classmate’? [1]

He referred to Marco Polo by using his first name, ‘Marco’ casually/informally.


He referred to Marco Polo, a famous historical figure, by his first name, as if he were a personal friend.

9a. In paragraph 5, the writer says that the old road ‘teased like a mirage’. In what two ways is this expression particularly effective? [2]

i) Similar to how the word ‘teased’ means that someone is playing with somebody, the road seem to be playing tricks on his eye.

ii) Similar to how a mirage is something that appears and disappears (like a deception), the expression is effective how as the bus was moved up and down the undulating road, the writer might not see the full view.


9b. Identify the two expressions of not more than five words each which emphasise the smallness of the machinery compared with the vastness of the quarries.

i)‘no bigger than toy models’

ii) ‘crawled like ants’

10. In paragraph 6, the writer says ‘ a page had turned while I wasn’t looking’. What does he mean by this expression?

The scenery completely changed without the writer’s realisation/ quickly/suddenly while he was moving along in the bus.

11 (i) In paragraph 6, which word suggests the hills are like the sea? [1]


(ii) Give one reason why this comparison is effective. [1]

The hills have different shades of green and blue, similar to the different hues of the sea.


The simile compares the colours of hills, indicated within the dashes, with the different shades of green and blue of the sea.

12 (i) The writer describes the paddy terraces as ‘obstinate’ and clinging on ‘grimly’ (line 38). What does this description suggest about the landscape? [1]

If they clung on resolutely and in a determined fashion, the paddy terraces are probably very clearly marked and defined on the hillslopes even at parts where the slopes are steep.


The landscape is rugged with steep slopes.

(ii) Why does the writer use the word ‘dwarf’ (line 39) to describe how the paddy terraces appear to him? [1]

He wanted to emphasise/highlight the long distance between the terraces and the himself in the bus.


The paddy terraces looked tiny to the writer as he was viewing them from a distance in the bus.


The writer was a long distance away from the paddy terraces and he was simply describing how small the paddy terraces appeared to him from his position on a moving bus.

13. The structure of the text reflects different stages of a bus journey. Complete the flow chart by choosing one phrase from the box to summarise the stage of the bus journey described in each part of the text. There are some extra phrases in the box you do not need to use.


  • investigating the unfamiliar (para 1)
  • an interesting past (para 2-4)
  • building for the future (para 5)
  • a peaceful interval (para 6-7)

2015 Text 3

14. According to paragraph 1, in which ways were India and China associated with the origins of rice? [2]

(i) India: Rice was thought to be the descendants of wild grasses which grew along the shores of lakes in India (COPY EXACTLY)

(ii) China: Rice was first domesticated around 300 BC in the Pearl Valley region (COPY Exactly)

15. In paragraph 2, which group of words tells us that it is not essential for the fields to be underwater to grow rice? [1]

‘flooding is not mandatory’

16. Which one word in paragraph 2 tells us why the villager in Yuangyang decided to breed crayfish in his paddy fields? [1]


17a. Using your own words, identify two problems associated with the process of ‘laying the rice out in the sun’ (line 26). [2]

(i) ‘time-consuming’ - many hours/a longer duration is required to carry out the process

(ii) ‘labour intensive’ - a lot of people are required to carry out the process

17b. Give the example of modern technology which the writer says is used instead. [1]

‘continuous flow dryer’.


Here is a part of a conversation between two students, Tian Yun and John, who have read the article.

Tian Yun: Rice has brought great benefits to humankind.

John: But I think rice has brought problems too.

18a. Give two pieces of evidence from paragraph 4 to support Tian Yun’s view. [2]

Rice provides one fifth of the calories which are consumed worldwide every year/it yields more food per acre than any other grain (COPY EXACTLY! – DON’T LEAVE OUT WORDS LIKE EVERY YEAR!)

Rice has become the staple diet for the poor when other types of food (meat, fish, vegetables) are not available/Rice has done much to prevent famine in much of the world’s poorest places.

18b. Explain with reference to paragraph 4 why John feels as he does. [1]

Children who eat nothing but rice become prone to deficiency diseases, such as Kwashiorkor

19. Using your own words as far as possible, summarise the methods, as outlined in the passage, which are used to grow rice and to process it to make it ready for cooking.

Use only information from paragraphs 2 and 3.

When a farmer wants to grow rice, he needs to…

From TextRephrased
1. seeds need to be soaked first, to get constant water supply, in low-lying areasSeeds must be immersed in water in low-lying regions for regular water supply.
2. propagated in special seed beds for easy handlingInseminated in special seed beds for uncomplicated handling
3. seedings need to be planted out by hand in flooded fields/paddiesSeedings are manually planted in paddies
4. flooding to provide ample water for the crops and deter weeds and pestsFlooded to provide plenty of water and prevent weeds and pests
5. Young rice plants are left to grow until seeds have ripened in the sunYoung rice plants are cultivated till seeds have matured in the sun
6. paddy fields are drained to make them accessibleFields are drained for accessibility
7. process of cutting is managed either by hand with sickles or mechanically with combined harvestersAnd cut manually with sickles or mechanically with combined harvesters
8. rice must be dried quickly to prevent moulds, by laying the rice out in the sun or by using very sophisticated machinery such as the so-called continuous flow dryerdried swiftly using advanced machinery or manual sunning to avoid moulding
9. rice grains are milled to remove the husk for brown rice, and both the husk and the bran for white riceRice grains are milled to remove husk for brown rice and both the husk and bran for white rice
10. in order to improve its appearance and prolong its shelf life, white rice is often polished, particularly if it is prepared for exportswhite rice is further polished for better long-lasting appearance and shelf life, especially before exportation.
When a farmer wants to grow rice, he needs to…

immerse seeds in water in low-lying areas for regular water supply, before inseminating them in special seed beds for easy handling. Seeds are then planted manually in paddies, and flooded to provide plenty of water and deter weeds and pests. During harvest, fields are drained for accessibility, cut manually with sickles or mechanically with combined harvesters, and dried quickly using advanced machinery or manual sunning to avoid moulding. White rice is further polished for better long-lasting appearance, especially before exportation.

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