- Apr 30, 2019
Creative Writing | GCSE English Revision Tips | General Advice
Updated: Aug 5, 2021
How to revise for Creative Writing in GCSE English Language.
With the GCSE language paper coming up, the creative writing element is one that can easily be overlooked. Perhaps you wonder whether you can really learn how to do well in this part of the section or if it is simply down to talent. However, the key to excellent creative writing exam answers is imagination – using your creativity to come up with things to write.
A struggle that students I teach often find with creative questions is that the prompts are typically broad, and image prompts can be sparse with little detail. Sometimes they might spark inspiration, but sometimes you might be looking at them in despair, wondering what on earth you could write about.
Now, one huge advantage of these open-ended questions is that they allow you to have the prerogative to take the answer where you want it to go; there is no way for them to catch you out for not knowing any information. The broad question or image should not be restrictive: for instance, in a description you do not have to stick exactly to describing what you see; using poetic licence to imagine what might be there is strongly encouraged.
General Hints and Tips for Creative Writing at GCSE
A general piece of advice that I give to my students is to plan the structure of your answer. When you hear “creative writing”, you may not think that a plan would be necessary. However, in the mark schemes of all exam boards, the phrase “well controlled paragraphs”, and “well-structured answer” almost always features in the top band. Of course, you do not need to plan out all your similes and metaphors, but setting yourself out a basic structure of what to say in each paragraph will help it to read more clearly.
A key way to make it clear to the examiner that you know what you are doing is through consistency . Ensure that you have the same tone throughout your creative piece, and that your narrative style and tense remains the same. This way, you can show to the examiner that your narrative choices have been deliberate, and based on the purpose and audience of the brief you have been given.
Each GCSE syllabus has a different way of assessing for the creative writing element. Find your exam board below for some tips on how to tackle the specific exam questions you will be presented with.
How to write a description or a short story - AQA exam board
For the AQA creative writing section in particular, you will be asked to write either a description based on an image, or a short story. For the image description, as well as having a good standard of language, your marks will lie within your ability to use a wide range of language techniques: think metaphors, similes, sensory language, imagery, alliteration etc.
A description of this kind requires you to be very imaginative. If you are stuck on where to begin, look at the image and think about what mood you could extract from it. Does it look spooky? Does it look dangerous? Once you have identified this, try to reflect this mood in the tone of your description.
Some advice that was offered in the November 2017 examiners' report was to ensure that your writing is not too formulaic. For instance, try not to write “I can see… I can smell…” just to ensure you are filling in sensory language: this applies to both the short story and the description. This is perhaps the hardest element of the AQA creative language question: fulfilling all the criteria while making it flow and work as a creative piece.
My advice would be to read over your work after you have finished and try to imagine you are just reading this for fun, outside of the exam context. If it works as a piece of creative writing rather than just as an exam answer, you should be on the right track.
How to answer prompt-based questions - Edexcel exam board
The imaginative writing section of Edexcel requires you to take on a broad prompt, such as the 2017 question “write about a secret” with the aid of an image provided.
For this question, the mark scheme is fairly open as to the approaches you can take. It allows writing in the form of a description, an anecdote, a speech, or a narrative. The image is also only there to provide inspiration – you are not required to reference it directly in your answer if you do not wish to.
A good revision strategy for this question would be to pick a couple of forms that you want to focus on, and practice them before the exam. Then you could pick the form most suited to the question you chose in the exam, and you will be an expert in writing for this form: something that will immediately boost your marks.
A large part of fitting in with the mark scheme is “using appropriate techniques for creative writing”. This may include using a wide vocabulary, imagery, alliteration, similes and metaphors in order to describe and explain.
How to write for purpose – OCR exam board
For the OCR specification, the focus is on writing for purpose and audience . This is a large part of what you are being tested on, so you must always ensure that you identify these two things before you start writing.
In 2017, the options were to write a blog post describing how you successfully overcame a challenging situation, and to write a letter to an employer applying for a job you have always wanted. These two tasks clearly have significantly different purposes and audiences. A blog post would be for the general population, and the tone will need to be readable and informal, whereas the letter to the employer will need to be formal and tailored to the individual reader.
The mark scheme for these questions require you to cover the following areas: tone, style, register, and organisation. The first three in this list will need you to adapt for the purpose and audience. While going over past paper questions, if you’re unsure on how you should write, look up examples of that form online. For instance, looking for a letter to an employer online should give you some good examples, as would looking up examples of newsletter entries or blog posts.
My best piece of advice for OCR’s questions is to practise. Ask a parent or friend to come up with some different forms and audiences for you to write in, and practise adapting your tone, style and register for the different audiences.
OCR have also provided some helpful resources for creative writing (GCSE English Language 9-1 syllabus) .
Blog Post Crafted by Genevieve
Genevieve is currently working towards her bachelors in English Literature at the University of Warwick .
Born in Coventry, she now tutors English SATs and GCSE in her free time, as well as working for the university as an outreach ambassador in local schools.
She also enjoys playing piano and flute, and often performs as a backing singer at local gigs.
Whenever she has a moment to spare, you might find her driving to the beach or catching up on her reading!
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Insider GCSE creative writing tips + 106 prompts from past papers
by Hayley | Mar 9, 2023 | Exams , Writing | 0 comments
Are you feeling a little bit twitchy about your child’s English GCSE writing task?
Sciences and humanities – although sometimes daunting in their content – seem a fair bet as ‘revisable’ topics. But the creative writing element of the English Language GCSE is less knowable and ultimately more of a frightening prospect for a student keen to do well.
What is the GCSE writing element of the GCSE Language Paper?
There are 5 key GCSE exam boards: AQA , OCR , Pearson Edexcel , WJEC Eduqas and CCEA . Each board sets their own papers which may appear much the same at first glance (bizarrely they all have a similar front cover layout and fonts). Certainly there is plenty of overlap between their mark schemes and the comments and tips they share in their Examiner Reports.
However, as with all your child’s other subjects, it is essential to know which exam board they are preparing for. You may be surprised to discover that schools pick and choose boards by subject, perhaps choosing AQA for chemistry and OCR for mathematics. Individual school departments have their own preferences. My brother teaches at a school where their English Literature and English Language exams have been split between two different boards. This is unusual though, not the norm!
What forms (question formats) can the test take?
It varies by board.
The AQA board has a writing task in their Question Paper 1 called Explorations in creative reading and writing . Students are given two prompts to choose between. The AQA board also has a second persuasive writing task in Paper 2 called Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives.
Jump ahead to AQA creative writing and persuasive writing prompts from past GCSE papers
The Pearson/Edexcel international iGCSE favoured by many UK private schools has two prompts to choose between for each section. The student is asked to complete a piece of transactional writing (perhaps a persuasive speech or an advertisement leaflet) and additionally a piece of imaginative writing.
Jump ahead to Pearson/Edexcel transactional writing and imaginative writing prompts from past GCSE papers
Interestingly, the WJEC Eduqas board favours non-fiction writing. Unit 2 Reading and Writing: Description, Narration and Exposition gives two prompts to choose between, for an account and an essay perhaps, and Unit 3: Reading and Writing: Argumentation, Persuasion and Instructional sets up a letter, or similar.
Jump ahead to WJEC Eduqas non-fiction writing prompts from past GCSE papers
The OCR board offers two prompts to choose between. One might be a talk for other students and the other might be a letter on a difficult subject .
Jump ahead to OCR creative writing prompts from past GCSE papers
The CCEA board has a writing task in called “ Writing for Purpose and Audience and Reading to Access Non-fiction and Media Texts” and a second writing task which offers a choice between personal writing and creative writing.
Jump ahead to CCEA persuasive writing, personal writing, and creative prompts from past GCSE papers
How long do students have to craft their piece of writing?
Creative writing tests are timed at either 45 minutes or 1 hour. The last thing your child will need is to prepare to write for an hour, only to find they have just three-quarters of an hour on the day. If in doubt, insist that they check with their teacher.
AQA students are given 45 minutes to produce their writing response. The introduction advises: ‘ You are reminded of the need to plan your answer. You should leave enough time to check your work at the end.’ What this means is that 30–35 minutes max is what’s really allowed there for the writing itself.
Pearson/Edexcel allows 45 minutes for each of the two writing tasks.
OCR students are given an hour to complete this section of their exam. The introduction states: ‘You are advised to plan and check your work carefully,’ so they will expect the writing itself to take 45–50 minutes.
How long should the completed GCSE writing task be?
Interestingly, although the mark schemes all refer to paragraphingthey don’t state how many paragraphs they expect to see.
‘A skilfully controlled overall structure, with paragraphs and grammatical features used to support cohesion and achieve a range of effects’ (OCR)
‘Fluently linked paragraphs with seamlessly integrated discourse markers’ (AQA)
Why? Because management of paragraph and sentence length is a structural technique available to the student as part of their writers’ toolkit. If the number of optimal paragraphs were to be spelled out by the board, it would have a negative impact on the freedom of the writer to use their paragraphs for impact or to manage the pace of the reader.
For a general guide I would expect to see 3 to 5 paragraphs in a creative piece and 5 paragraphs in a persuasive piece. Leaflets have a different structure entirely and need to be set out in a particular form to achieve the top notes of the mark scheme.
What are the examiners looking for when they are marking a student’s creative writing paper?
There are two assessment objectives for the writing itself:
- It has to be adapted to the form, tone and register of writing for specific purposes and audiences.
- It has to use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures, with appropriate paragraphing, spelling, punctuation and grammar.
As a GCSE English nerd, I really enjoy delving deeper into the Examiner Reports that each board brings out once the previous cohort’s papers have been marked. They are a fascinating read and never disappoint…
Within their pages, examiners spell out the differences they have spotted between the stronger and the weaker responses.
For example, a creative task set by the AQA board was to describe a photograph of a town at sunset. The examiners explained that some of the strongest responses imagined changes in the scene as darkness descended. They enjoyed reading responses that included personification of the city, and those that imagined the setting in the past, or the weariness of the city. Weaker candidates simply listed what was in the picture or referred directly to the fact it was an image. This chronological-list approach weakened the structure of their work.
No surprises that some weaker students relied heavily on conversation. (As an exam marker myself, I dreaded reading acres of uninspiring direct speech.)
Pearson/Edexcel explain that weaker persuasive pieces (in this case on the value of television) simply listed pros and cons rather than developed ideas fully to clarify their own opinions. The higher-level responses here were quirky and engaging, entertaining the reader with a range of appropriate techniques and making the argument their own.
What accommodations are possible for students who have specific learning difficulties?
The UK Government’s Guide for Schools and Colleges 2022: GCSE, AS and A Levels includes information about changes to assessments to support ‘disabled students.’ Their definition of disabled includes specific learning difficulties (dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, ADD, ASD etc).
Exam boards can make a wide range of adjustments to their assessments. Some of the most common adjustments are:
- modified papers (for example, large print or braille exam papers)
- access to assistive software (for example, voice recognition systems or computer readers)
- help with specific tasks (for example, another person might read questions to the student or write their dictated answers)
- changes to how the assessment is done (for example, an oral rather than a written assessment, word-processing rather than hand-writing answers)
- extra time to complete assessments
- exemptions from an assessment
The exam board will expect paperwork to be in place where your child’s specific needs are formally reported by an appropriate professional (Educational Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, Consultant). The report needs to be recent, but how recent is difficult to confirm.
If your child is likely to need adjustments to their access arrangements you will need to discuss this with their school in plenty of time before the exam itself.
A close friend of mine realised in the final few weeks before her son’s GCSE exams that his tinnitus would have a negative impact on his performance. She approached the school to ask if he might take his exams in a separate room to minimise noise disturbance. Unfortunately, it was far too late by then to apply, and her son was denied the request.
Your child’s school will explain the process for applying for special arrangements and will be able to advise you on what your expectations should be. Never presume your child will be given what they need – but plenty of requests are successful, so stay positive and make sure your paperwork is in order beforehand.
Tips and strategies for writing a high scoring GCSE creative writing paper:
1. learn the formats.
Know the different formats and conventions of the different GCSE writing tasks. There is a standard layout for a leaflet, for example, where including contact details and a series of bullet points is part of the mark scheme. Not knowing these conventions will knock back a student’s score.
2. Plan ahead
Prepare a planning structure for each of the written forms you might encounter during the exam. It may need to be flexed on the day, but it will banish fear of the blank page and allow you to get started.
3. Prepare sentence-openings
Familiarise yourself with appropriate sentence-openings for each type of GCSE writing task. Fronted adverbials of time and place will improve the quality of a creative piece, whereas access to varied and specific conjunctions might push up the mark of a transactional piece.
4. Check your speaking
Ask your family to check your speech at home. Every now and then try to flip a sentence into formal language, using more interesting synonyms for your usual spoken vocabulary. This will help you to write formally on paper, avoiding colloquialisms.
5. Forget finishing
Finishing is less important than you might imagine. Sloppy, hurried work is your enemy. GCSE examiners will follow your clear planning and mark you accordingly, even if you’ve not managed to complete that final paragraph.
6. Note the details
The question often gives additional information the examiner would like to see included. Note it in your plan to make sure it doesn’t get forgotten.
7. Start strong
Use your best sentence-opener at the start of each paragraph. It will set you up as someone to be taken seriously.
8. Cut back dialogue
Keep dialogue contained in a single paragraph. Focus on description of the speaker and their actions before noting the second character’s reply.
Do this by prepping work as above. Nothing beats it.
Would you like me to transform your child’s writing in my higher writing club?
Each week in my higher writing club , we spend 20 minutes on Zoom together. After the task has been introduced, the students write for 15 minutes. Next, they upload their work for 1:1 video marking.
There is no point prepping essays/creative pieces for the GCSE English Language exam if your child’s writing is poor. First, their scruffy presentation, attention to detail, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary need to be addressed.
After 2 months in the higher writing club your child’s written technique and fluency will be transformed by our 1–2-1 video marking system (consistent messaging is achieved by matching your child with their own teacher).
Each weekly activity is drawn directly from the GCSE English Language Subject Content and Assessment Objectives , published by the English Department of Education.
Here’s an example of a student’s writing, BEFORE they joined our club:
It is chaotic, poorly-presented and nonsensical. Letter-sizing is confused and the student is clearly anxious and repeatedly scribbling through small errors.
Below is the same student 2 months later:
Observe the rich vocabulary, authorial techniques (the jagged rocks are ‘like shards of broken glass’) and general fluency and sophistication.
Real and recent GCSE example questions/prompts from each of the 5 key exam boards
Aqa english language gcse questions, paper 2 writers’ viewpoints and perspectives:.
- ‘Our addiction to cheap clothes and fast fashion means young people in poorer countries have to work in terrible conditions to make them. We must change our attitude to buying clothes now.’ Write an article for a magazine or website in which you argue your point of view on this statement. ( Source )
- ‘People have become obsessed with travelling ever further and faster. However, travel is expensive, dangerous, damaging and a foolish waste of time!’ Write an article for a news website in which you argue your point of view on this statement. ( Source )
- ‘Cars are noisy, dirty, smelly and downright dangerous. They should be banned from all town and city centres, allowing people to walk and cycle in peace.’ Write a letter to the Minister for Transport arguing your point of view on this statement. ( Source )
- ‘All sport should be fun, fair and open to everyone. These days, sport seems to be more about money, corruption and winning at any cost.’ Write an article for a newspaper in which you explain your point of view on this statement. ( Source )
Paper 1 Explorations in creative reading and writing:
- A magazine has asked for contributions for their creative writing section. Either write a description of an old person as suggested by the picture below or write a story about a time when things turned out unexpectedly. ( Source )
- Your school or college is asking students to contribute some creative writing for its website. Either, describe a market place as suggested by the picture below or write a story with the title, ‘Abandoned’. ( Source )
- Your local library is running a creative writing competition. The best entries will be published in a booklet of creative writing. Either, write a description of a mysterious place, as suggested by the picture below or write a story about an event that cannot be explained. ( Source )
- A magazine has asked for contributions for their creative writing section. Either, describe a place at sunset as suggested by the picture below or write a story about a new beginning. ( Source )
OCR English Language GCSE questions
Paper: communicating information and ideas.
- Either, Write a post for an online forum for young people about ‘A moment that changed my life’.
- Or, You are giving a talk at a parents’ information evening about why all children should study science at school. Explain your views. ( Source )
- Either, Write a letter to a friend to describe a challenging and unpleasant task you once had to do.
- Or, Write a short guide for new workers about how to deal successfully with difficult customers. ( Source )
- Either, “Was it worth it?” Write an article for a magazine to describe a time when you had to do something difficult.
- Or, Write a speech for an event to congratulate young people who have achieved something remarkable. ( Source )
- Either, Write the words of a talk to advise pet owners how to make life more enjoyable for their pet and themselves.
- Or, Write an article for a travel magazine to describe your dramatic encounter with an animal. ( Source )
- Either, ‘How I prefer to spend my time.’ Write the words of a talk to young people about your favourite activity
- Or, Write a magazine article to persuade parents to allow their teenage children more freedom. You are not required to include any visual or presentational features. ( Source )
- Either, Write a talk for other students about a person you either admire strongly or dislike intensely
- Or, Write a letter to a friend to explain a difficult decision you had to make. ( Source )
Paper: Exploring effects and impact
- Either, Hunger satisfied. Use this as the title for a story.
- Or, Write about a time when you were waiting for something. ( Source )
- Either, The Taste of Fear Use this as the title for a story.
- Or, Write about a time when you were exploring a particular place. ( Source )
- Either, Alone. Use this as the title for a story.
- Or, Describe a time when you found yourself in a crowd or surrounded by people. ( Source )
- Either, Land at Last. Use this as the title for a story.
- Or, Imagine you have visited somewhere for the first time and are now reporting back on your experience. ( Source )
- Either, The Playground Use this as the title for a story
- Or, Write about a memory you have of playing a childhood game. ( Source )
- Either, It seemed to me like I had been magically transported. Use this as the title for a story.
- Or, Describe a place where you have felt comfortable. ( Source )
Pearson Edexcel English Language iGCSE questions
Paper 1: transactional writing.
- Either, ‘In our busy twenty-first century lives, hobbies and interests are more important than ever.’ Write an article for a newspaper expressing your views on this statement.
- Or, ‘We are harming the planet we live on and need to do more to improve the situation.’ You have been asked to deliver a speech to your peers in which you explain your views on this statement. ( Source )
- ‘ Zoos protect endangered species from around the world.’ ‘No wild animal should lose its freedom and be kept in captivity. Write an article for a magazine in which you express your views on zoos.
- Write a review of an exciting or interesting event that you have seen. ( Source )
- Your local newspaper has published an article with the headline ‘Young people today lack any desire for adventure’. Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper expressing your views on this topic.
- ‘The key to success in anything is being prepared.’ Write a section for a guide giving advice on the importance of preparation. ( Source )
- You and your family have just returned from a holiday that did not turn out as you expected. Write a letter to the travel agent with whom you booked your holiday, explaining what happened.
- A magazine is publishing articles with the title ‘Friendship is one of the greatest gifts in life’. Write your article on this topic. ( Source )
- ‘Important lessons I have learned in my life.’ You have been asked to deliver a speech to your peers on this topic.
- Your local/school library wants to encourage young people to read more. Write the text of a leaflet explaining the benefits of reading. ( Source )
- ‘Most memorable journeys.’ A website is running a competition to reward the best articles on this subject. Write an article for the competition about a memorable journey.
- ‘Cycling is one form of exercise that can lead to a healthier lifestyle.’ Write a guide for young people on the benefits of exercise. ( Source )
- ‘Television educates, entertains and helps global understanding.’ ‘Television is to blame for society’s violence and greed and delivers one-sided news.’ You have been asked to deliver a speech in which you express your views and opinions on television.
- ‘Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions we ever make.’ Write the text of a leaflet that gives advice to young people on how to choose a career. ( Source )
- Write the text for a leaflet aimed at school students which offers advice on how to deal with bullying.
- A museum is planning to open a new exhibition called ‘Life in the Twenty-First Century’. ( Source )
Paper 2: Imaginative writing
- Write about a time when you, or someone you know, enjoyed success
- Write a story with the title ‘A Surprise Visitor’.
- Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that begins ‘I did not have time for this’ ( Source )
- Write about a time when you, or someone you know, challenged an unfair situation.
- Write a story with the title ‘Bitter, Twisted Lies’.
- Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that begins ‘It was a new day …’ You may wish to base your response on one of these images. ( Source )
- Write about a time when you, or someone you know, visited a new place.
- Write a story with the title ‘The Storm’
- Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that ends ‘I decided to get on with it.’ ( Source )
- Write about a time when you, or someone you know, saw something surprising.
- Write a story with the title ‘The Meeting’.
- Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that starts ‘Suddenly, without warning, there was a power cut.’ ( Source )
- Write about a time when you, or someone you know, went on a long journey.
- Write a story with the title ‘A New Start’
- Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that begins ‘I tried to see what he was reading. ( Source )
- Write about a time when you, or someone you know, felt proud.
- Write a story with the title ‘The Hidden Book’.
- Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that begins ‘It was like a dream’ ( Source )
- Write about a time when you, or someone you know, had to be brave
- Write a story with the title ‘Everything Had Changed’
- Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that begins ‘It was an unusual gift’. ( Source )
WJEC Eduqas English Language GCSE questions
Unit 2 reading and writing: description, narration and exposition.
- Write an account of a time when you enjoyed or hated taking part in an outdoor activity.
- “It’s essential that more people are more active, more often.” (Professor Laura McAllister, Chair of Sport Wales) Write an essay to explain how far you agree with this view, giving clear reasons and examples. ( Source )
- Describe an occasion when you did something you found rewarding.
- Famous chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Mary Berry have spoken of the need for better food and better education about food in schools. Write an essay to explain your views on this subject, giving clear reasons and examples. ( Source )
- Write an account of a visit to a dentist or a doctor’s surgery.
- NHS staff, such as doctors and nurses, provide excellent service in difficult circumstances. Write an essay to explain your views on this subject, giving clear reasons and examples. ( Source )
- Write an article for a travel magazine describing somewhere interesting that you have visited.
- You see the following in your local newspaper: ‘Young people are selfish. They should all be made to volunteer to help others.’ Write an essay to explain your views on this subject, giving clear reasons and examples. ( Source )
- Describe an occasion when technology made a difference to your life.
- Write an account of a time you were unwilling to do something. ( Source )
- Describe a time when you faced a challenge
- Write an essay explaining why charity is important, giving clear reasons and examples. ( Source )
- Write an account of a time when you did something for the first time.
- “It’s time for us to start making some changes. Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live, and let’s change the way we treat each other.” Tupac Shakur Write an essay on the subject of change, giving clear reasons and examples. ( Source )
- “School uniform is vitally important in all schools.” Write an essay explaining your views on this, giving clear reasons and examples.
- Describe a time when you had to create a good impression. ( Source )
Unit 3: Reading and writing: Argumentation, persuasion and instructional
- Your school/college is considering using more Fairtrade items in its canteen. Although this will help to support Fairtrade farmers, it will mean an increase in the price of meals. You feel strongly about this proposal and decide to write a letter to your Headteacher/Principal giving your views. ( Source )
- Increasing litter levels suggest we have lost all pride in our beautiful country. Prepare a talk for your classmates in which you give your opinions on this view. ( Source )
- Write a guide for other students persuading them to stay safe when using social media and the internet. ( Source )
- According to your PE teacher, ‘Swimming is the very best form of exercise.’ You have been asked to prepare a talk for your classmates in which you give your views about swimming. ( Source )
- You read the following in a newspaper: ‘Plastic is one of the biggest problems faced by our planet. Why would we use something for a few minutes that has been made from a material that’s going to last forever?’ Write a letter to the newspaper giving your views on the use of plastic. ( Source )
- “People today never show enough kindness to one another. We must make more effort to be kind.” Write a talk to give on BBC Wales’ new programme Youth Views persuading young people to be kind to others. ( Source )
- ‘We have enough problems in the world without worrying about animals.’ Write an article for the school or college magazine giving your views on this statement.
- You would like to raise some money for an animal charity. Write a talk for your classmates persuading them to donate to your chosen charity. ( Source )
CCEA English Language GCSE questions
Unit 1: writing for purpose and audience and reading to access non-fiction and media texts.
- Write a speech for your classmates persuading them to agree with your views on the following issue: “Young people today are too worried about their body image.” ( Source )
- Write an article for your school magazine persuading the readers to agree with your views on the following question: “Should school uniform have a place in 21st century schools?” ( Source )
- Write a speech for your classmates persuading them to agree with your views on the following question: “Are celebrities the best role models for teenagers?” ( Source )
- Write an article for your school magazine persuading the readers to agree with your views on the following statement: “Advertising is just another source of pressure that teenagers don’t need!” ( Source )
Unit 4: Personal or creative writing and reading literacy and non-fiction texts
- Either, Personal writing: Write a personal essay for the examiner about what you consider to be one of the proudest moments in your life.
- Or, Creative writing: Write your entry for a creative essay writing competition. The audience is teenagers. You may provide your own title. ( Source )
- Write a personal essay for the examiner about an experience that resulted in a positive change in your life.
- Write a creative essay for the examiner. The picture below is to be the basis for your writing. You may provide your own title. ( Source )
- Personal writing: Write a speech for your classmates about the most interesting person you have ever met.
- Creative writing: Write a creative essay for your school magazine. The picture below is to be the basis for your writing. You may provide your own title. ( Source )
- Personal writing: Write a personal essay for the examiner describing your dream destination.
- Creative writing: Write a creative essay for publication in your school magazine. The picture below is to be the basis for your creative writing. You may provide your own title. (Source)
Get 1:1 support and personalized feedback on your GCSE creative writing practice
For 1–2-1 writing support for your pre-GCSE child, join the Griffin Teaching Higher Writing Club—online weekly writing classes specifically tailored to English GCSE creative writing preparation.
In just 20 minutes per week and their writing will be transformed.
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Spatial Variations of the Activity of 137 Cs and the Contents of Heavy Metals and Petroleum Products in the Polluted Soils of the City of Elektrostal
- DEGRADATION, REHABILITATION, AND CONSERVATION OF SOILS
- Open access
- Published: 15 June 2022
- volume 55 , pages 840–848 ( 2022 )
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- D. N. Lipatov 1 ,
- V. A. Varachenkov 1 ,
- D. V. Manakhov 1 ,
- M. M. Karpukhin 1 &
- S. V. Mamikhin 1
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The levels of specific activity of 137 Cs and the contents of mobile forms (1 M ammonium acetate extraction) of heavy metals (Zn, Cu, Ni, Co, Cr, Pb) and petroleum products were studied in the upper soil horizon of urban landscapes of the city of Elektrostal under conditions of local radioactive and chemical contamination were studied. In the soils within a short radius (0–100 m) around the heavy engineering plant, the specific activity of 137 Cs and the contents of mobile forms of Pb, Cu, and Zn were increased. The lognormal distribution law of 137 Cs was found in the upper (0–10 cm) soil layer; five years after the radiation accident, the specific activity of 137 Cs varied from 6 to 4238 Bq/kg. The coefficients of variation increased with an increase in the degree of soil contamination in the following sequence: Co < Ni < petroleum products < Cr < 137 Cs < Zn < Pb < Cu ranging from 50 to 435%. Statistically significant direct correlation was found between the specific activity of 137 Cs and the contents of mobile forms of Pb, Cu, and Zn in the upper horizon of urban soils, and this fact indicated the spatial conjugacy of local spots of radioactive and polymetallic contamination in the studied area. It was shown that the specific activity of 137 Cs, as well as the content of heavy metals and petroleum products in the upper layer (0–10 cm) of the soils disturbed in the course of decontamination, earthwork and reclamation is reduced.
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Contaminants migrate and accumulate in urban ecosystems under the impact of both natural and technogenic factors. The processes of technogenic migration of 137 Cs are most pronounced in radioactively contaminated territories. It was found in urboecological studies that the intensity of sedimentation of aerosol particles containing radionuclides and heavy metals is determined by the types of the surfaces of roofs, walls, roads, lawns, and parks and by their position within the urban wind field [ 12 , 26 ]. Traffic in the cities results in significant transport of dust and associated contaminants and radionuclides [ 15 , 24 ]. During decontamination measures in the areas of Chernobyl radioactive trace, not only the decrease in the level of contamination but also the possibility of secondary radioactive contamination because of the transportation of contaminated soil particles by wind or water, or anthropogenic transfer of transferring of ground were observed [ 5 , 6 ]. Rainstorm runoff and hydrological transport of dissolved and colloidal forms of 137 Cs can result in the accumulation of this radionuclide in meso- and microdepressions, where sedimentation takes place [ 10 , 16 ]. Different spatial distribution patterns of 137 Cs in soils of particular urban landscapes were found in the city of Ozersk near the nuclear fuel cycle works [ 17 ]. Natural character of 137 Cs migration in soils of Moscow forest-parks and a decrease in its specific activity in industrial areas have been revealed [ 10 ]. Determination of the mean level and parameters of spatial variations of 137 Cs in soils is one of primary tasks of radioecological monitoring of cities, including both unpolluted (background) and contaminated territories.
Emissions and discharges from numerous sources of contamination can cause the accumulation of a wide range of toxicants in urban soils: heavy metals (HMs), oil products (OPs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and other chemical substances. Soil contamination by several groups of toxicants is often observed in urban landscapes [ 20 , 23 ] because of the common contamination source or close pathways of the migration of different contaminants. A comprehensive analysis of contamination of urban soils by radionuclides and heavy metals has been performed in some studies [ 21 , 25 ]. The determination of possible spatial interrelationships between radioactive and chemical contaminations in urban soils is an important problem in urban ecology.
A radiation accident took place in the Elektrostal heavy engineering works (EHEW) in April 2013: a capacious source of 137 Cs entered the smelt furnace, and emission of radioactive aerosols from the aerating duct into the urban environment took place. The activity of molten source was estimated at about 1000–7000 Ci [ 14 ]. The area of contamination in the territory of the plant reached 7500 m 2 . However, radioactive aerosols affected a much larger area around the EHEW, including Krasnaya and Pervomaiskaya streets, and reached Lenin Prospect.
Geochemical evaluation of contamination of the upper soil horizon in the city of Elektrostal was carried out in 1989–1991. This survey indicated the anomalies of concentrations of wolfram, nickel, molybdenum, chromium, and other heavy metals related to accumulation of alloying constituent and impurities of non-ferrous metals in the emissions of steelmaking works [ 19 ].
The aim of our work was to determine the levels of specific activity of 137 Cs, concentrations of mobile forms of heavy metals (Zn, Cu, Ni, Co, Cr, and Pb) and oil products in the upper soil horizons in different urban landscapes of the city of Elektrostal under the conditions of local radioactive and chemical contamination.
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Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991, Moscow, Russia
D. N. Lipatov, V. A. Varachenkov, D. V. Manakhov, M. M. Karpukhin & S. V. Mamikhin
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Correspondence to D. N. Lipatov .
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Translated by T. Chicheva
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Lipatov, D.N., Varachenkov, V.A., Manakhov, D.V. et al. Spatial Variations of the Activity of 137 Cs and the Contents of Heavy Metals and Petroleum Products in the Polluted Soils of the City of Elektrostal. Eurasian Soil Sc. 55 , 840–848 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1134/S1064229322060072
Received : 21 October 2021
Revised : 22 December 2021
Accepted : 30 December 2021
Published : 15 June 2022
Issue Date : June 2022
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1134/S1064229322060072
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