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IGCSE Coursework - Travel Writing

As we move towards the first drafts of the coursework, here is an exemplar piece of work and a self assessment scheme.

A revision activity you could try is using the self assessment descriptors to assess the piece of work below and use it to assess the writing you have completed in class and as homework. 

Write down which rungs you think this piece hits and assess where you think you are in the comments below.

The content of paragraphs is shaped for effect.5
Paragraphs are linked cohesively by discourse markers4
Paragraphs contain mostly descriptive detail.3
Paragraphs focus on one piece of information with a clear topic sentence2
Work is Paragraphed1

Sentence lengths are crafted for effect5
Sentences include adverbial clauses4
Sentences include prepositions and noun phrases.3
Sentences are mostly complex.2
Sentences contain subject, verb and object.1
Judicious use of Negative language serves to emphasise Positive Language through contrast.5
Highly Complex language used accurately and where appropriate throughout.4
Vocabulary includes lexis of Travel Writing and is accurately used.3
Vocabulary creates positive connotations.2
Every day vocabulary is used accurately (including Spelling)1
Work shows evidence of choice of devices for specific effects avoiding cliché. (Could include Semantic Field or Extended Metaphor)5
Work includes Comparatives, Superlatives, Modal Verbs and Imperatives.4
Work includes Figurative Language (Metaphor / Simile, Oxymoron)3
Work Targets 5 Senses2
Work use Adjectives and Adverbs.1
Accurate use of the full range of punctuation including more complex punctuation used for effect. (Semi-colon and Colon)5
Accurate use of punctuation with ellipsis, dashes and brackets used for effect.4
Accurate use of punctuation with question marks and exclamation marks used for effect.3
Accurate use of simple punctuation including commas.2
Accurate use of Capital Letters and full stops.1
As you step off the aeroplane having landed in Croatia, you can sense things are going to be different. There is a blast of warm air, which if it happened in London, would cause nothing but aggravation but here it caresses your skin and whispers “relax”. This is the first blessed flirtation with one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.

You find, as you explore further, that Croatia is a country of contrasts. The people, the landscape and the climate encapsulate a mesmerising experience that you would struggle to replicate in any other country of the world.

Monolithic mountains guard the coastline dropping away sharply to the delicate shore. Islands moated by emerald green waters provide havens for wildlife and the occasional adventurous tourist. Inland the castellated mountains provide lush springs and streams that create fertile plains that stretch infinitely towards the horizon. Along these streams, waterfalls stand as imposing gateways to the historic farm lands beyond.

“Dobro dan!”

The guttural tone of the border guard would suggest you have arrived in a dystopian novel; however his smile betrays the authority of his tone. You emerge from Zadar airport into a crush for the final spaces on the only bus into town. Amid the throng of anxious tourists, you could feel claustrophobic, but again the air re-assures you that everything will be alright.

Croatia is really an island nation so forget about staying put, there is a lot to explore. Renowned as the jewel in the crown of Croatia’s coastal cluster is an uninhabited archipelago:


Explored only by the hardiest of sailors 100 year ago, you must take advantage of the advances in nautical technology and book yourself on one of the more sedentary tourist boat trips. Cliffs leap up from the sea forming imposing warnings to foolhardy ships yet behind these barriers are luxurious lagoons heated by only the sun to create an oasis of calm. Secluded olive groves provide the ideal place for a picnic and coves dappled with stepping stones provide an idyllic spot to cool off.

With the islands securely ticked off in your travel log, head inland towards the Krka National Park. Unlike Plitvice which perhaps holds the most spectacular waterfalls in the Adriatic, you can swim under the cascading waterfalls of Krka without being troubled by water snakes. The water here has been used to work the mills of the area but now you are more likely to find quaint market stalls and sumptuous fruit as the locals cash in on the tourist boom. You may find this more commercial than rustic but still, there is nothing like emerging from the crystalline water to relax in the shade.

Perhaps on the surface Croatia is a rough diamond. The language and expressive nature of the locals always seem to suggest you are going to be carted off in the back of a military vehicle but their carefully constructed smiles let you know that all is well and you are very welcome. Embrace your inner pioneer and look for the polish in amongst all those sharp edges!

Final Hint - Here is a nice little table to help you vary your complex sentences:

Start with an adjective or noun phrase.E.G. Simple and easy to use, the London Underground.
Start with a preposition.E.G. Behind the bleak exterior, you will find a magical menagerie of artefacts
Start with an 'ing' verbE.G. Rafting down the Tara river, I felt euphoria seep into my bones.
Start with a simile.Like a tidal wave, the sheer beauty hit me with wave after wave of beautiful smells.
Start with a subordinatorAlthough people consider Albania to be hellish, you will find the beauty of the country mesmerising.
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+ comments + 2 comments

22 August 2014 at 11:16

Thank you for your help, Sir - I'm Aaran, by the way. But I failed miserably. I got an A* in the literature (full UMS in unit 4 and 5, but a B in unit 1!) and got an A for English language with a B (51 marks) in the paper :( . I've sent it off for a remark, but was wondering if you could please send me a copy of the paper and mark scheme and insert, so I can try and comprehend if I'll go up in marks. My email is aarank@hotmail.co.uk

28 August 2014 at 13:30


I hope you feel differently about your results now. An A* and an A is something to be very proud of. There do seem to be some strange marks popping up in the AQA paper. The best thing for you to do is ask your teacher to access EAQA to get a breakdown of each of your questions and topic skills, see how many UMS marks you were away from an A* and wait for your remark. I don't think looking at the paper and the markscheme will be of use as it seems, from schools I've spoken with, to be applied in an unpredictable manner.

Remember your GCSEs grades are a stepping stone to your next stage in education and these grades certainly seem like they will get you where you want to be. Be proud.

Mr Milne

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