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Describe a shopping centre when it is closed and when it is open

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English Paper 2, Part B Describe a shopping centre when it is closed and when it is open A* 17/18 for Communication and Organisation 8/9 for Sentence structure, punctuation and spelling 25/27 TOTAL Busy crowds bustled up and down the centre, their arms laden with bulging shopping bags. Caring mothers pushed their prams slowly, while distressed toddlers screamed to go home. Food and drink stalls gathered customers. Old and young alike flopped tiredly onto benches to rest their exhausted legs. In the electronics store vivid lights dazzled customers and dance music pounded out of speakers. Young children entertained themselves on display computers while their parents waited patiently in a winding snake like queue. Outside a well off couple sauntered past, rather ostentatious in their attire and rather arrogant in their parlance. ...read more.


Humming quietly, the air conditioning strived to maintain a comfortably cool temperature in the centre. The pleasant breeze created helped to waft delicious food smells all the way from the delicatessen at one end of the European food market at the other, where lobsters relaxed in their plastic buckets. All day long smartly dressed staff members worked diligently to combat the growing amount of litter, but it was to no avail as the festering piles of rubbish accumulated more and more unwanted wrappers, bags and boxes. And then in what seemed like less than a moment, all the myriads of people disappeared and the centre closed for the night. Silence hung heavily on the air, broken occasionally by the scurrying of a rat as it searched the abundant, discarded food for a nutritious meal. ...read more.


No longer dynamic and interesting, it was now barren and prosaic, as even the imperturbable rats had been driven away by the copious use of bleach. Then once again the silence was broken; this time by a booming thundercloud. The dark night grew darker as the storm smothered the stars. Suddenly, through the windows a lightening bolt could be seen stabbing at the countryside, as if signalling the beginning of a colossal battle. Legions of raindrops splattered on the thin glass. The wind shrieked like a tortured witch and a sickeningly humid smell penetrated the centre. Spiders cowered in their fragile cobwebs. But as quickly as it arrived the conquering storm fled, driven away by an allied wind. Cautiously, the vanquished sun appeared again over the horizon. With a collection of metallic noises, keys penetrated keyholes and doors where opened. Another shopping day had begun. ...read more.

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Here's what a star student thought of this essay

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Response to the question

This piece of coursework ably follows the prompt, using their craft with language to make it a very strong piece. I like how the ending is used to give a cyclical nature, allowing an insight into the perpetual life of ...

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Response to the question

This piece of coursework ably follows the prompt, using their craft with language to make it a very strong piece. I like how the ending is used to give a cyclical nature, allowing an insight into the perpetual life of a shopping centre. A slight query is that the past tense is used throughout - personally, I would've used the present tense to show the continuity of events. For example they say "food and drink stalls gathered customers" whereas "food and drink stalls gather customers" shows the ongoing nature.

Level of analysis

The range of techniques used in this essay is strong. This candidate certainly met the marking allocation for using a range of vocabulary: seeing words such as "parlance" and "diligently" spelt correctly is always a good way to reach the top marks! I like how the essay shows a progression throughout the day. In tasks such as these, it is key in planning how you are going to organise and present your ideas. If it feels like it's been put together awkwardly, and not well thought out, that will be reflected in the marks. As this candidate has shown, a simple chronological order shows a logical structure. Although this isn't a persuasion task, I liked the use of the rhetorical question at the end of the third paragraph as it engages the audience. The imagery when the shopping centre is closed is great, yet I think it could be somewhat over the top. I know at GCSE students want to put as many metaphors and similes as possible, but suggesting a "sickeningly humid smell" would be in a shopping centre seems silly.

Quality of writing

This essay is structured well, with spelling, punctuation and grammar being used throughout at a high level. I would comment on the sentence structure, though. They tend to be on the short side. This essay likes to use short sentences to list what is going on in the shopping centre, but varying the length of sentences and explaining a few of these points would show the strength of the candidate's skills. I would've liked to see some more daring punctuation! Sometimes, people are too apprehensive to use semi-colons, exclamation marks, parenthesis or ellipsis, and this seems evident in this essay as only one semi-colon is used. If you don't try and use them, you won't realise when you've used them wrong, so give it a go!

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Reviewed by groat 11/02/2012

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