Exercise 4 Shipwrecked

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IGCSE ESL Exercise 4 Shipwrecked is a good example of a summary which has the appropriate length and language to gain full marks in this part of the exam.

ocean, shipwrecked

For this part of the IGCSE ESL Reading & Writing Paper, you should:
Hint 1Hint 2Hint 3Hint 4

Keep to the word limit – before the examination, check how many words you write on a line, then you’ll know approximately how many lines you will need.

Include all the key facts relating to the subject of your summary. This will mean looking again at the entire text and underlining relevant points.

Try to connect your ideas into a paragraph using linking words.

Use your own words instead of copying from the text as you have more chance of getting a higher mark for language.

Exercise 4 Shipwrecked

TextExample of a summary

Read the article about a person who survived a shipwreck. Write a summary about what he did to survive.

Shipwreck survivor

A Chinese man, Poon Lim, is famous for being the longest shipwreck survivor. He spent 133 days in the sea when his ship went down in the South Atlantic after leaving Cape Town. It took just two minutes for the ship to sink, and the only man who managed to survive was Poon Lim.

Despite the mad chaos of the sinking, exploding ship, Lim was still able to grab a life jacket, which was vital, as he had never learnt to swim well. He floated in the ocean for what he estimated to be around two hours until he spotted one of the ship’s life rafts. It was a wooden raft about two and a half metres square, partially covered by a canvas roof. After much effort, Lim succeeded in reaching it and although weak, managed to pull himself aboard. Luckily for Lim, on the life raft, there were some bottles of juice and tins of biscuits, together with two flares, a flashlight and even some chocolate.

Once Lim realised that his emergency provisions were running out, he knew that he had to invent ways to find food and water. He used the canvas from the roof and his life jacket to make a container to catch rainwater. He had never been fishing and had no skills to help him, but he improvised by making a fishing hook out of the wire from the flashlight and the jagged edges of the biscuit tins.

By day 60, he was aware that he was losing physical strength so he began to swim around the life raft twice a day. This routine continued until a particularly bad storm nearly destroyed his life raft. Against all the odds, he survived and was able to repair the damage. However, this experience left him feeling even more terrified about his situation.

Lim had never seen such a variety of beautiful sea creatures and spent many hours observing the fish that swam around him. However, he was alarmed by the threatening sharks that at times surrounded his life raft, and occasionally attacked him.

Lim survived for almost five months. On two occasions he spotted a ship, and once a plane passed by near him, but each time his shouts and frantic waving went unnoticed. The nightmare only came to an end when he was picked up by Brazilian fishermen on April 5, 1943, about ten miles from land. They sailed to Belem, Brazil, a town at the mouth of the Amazon River.

Upon arriving in Belem, suffering from severe sunburn, he spent four weeks at the local hospital to recover and regain his physical fitness. He explained to people that he had worked hard not to lose a sense of hope that he would finally be rescued. Lim went on to live to the age of 72, and even now, 133 days remains the longest time for one person to survive being lost at sea in a life raft. When he was told about his record, Lim said: “I hope no one will ever have to break it.”

More exercises available:

When learning vocabulary, especially helpful are exercises that are focussed on a theme or topic as these provide word retention practice so you can be confident to read, write, speak and listen successfully.

Exercise 1 (Questions 1 -4) - Short answer exercises

Exercise 2 - (Question 5) Gap-filled exercises

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. So, our IGCSE ESL Word searches are an excellent way to help to reinforce spellings.Word puzzles require not just a good vocabulary and a knack for spelling, but the ability to think logically and strategically. In the case of puzzles like our IGCSE Crosswords, it’s crucial to spell linked words correctly to be able to complete the task. 
Learning English requires not just a good vocabulary, but a strong foundation of all skills to communicate well. Here we provide activities for the IGCSE ESL for all the skills required to be successful in this examination.

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