KCSE 2018 English Paper 3 with Marking Scheme

Share via Whatsapp


Answer three questions only.

  1. Imaginative Composition (Compulsory) (20 marks)
    1. Write a composition beginning:
      I wondered why the principal had summoned me.
    2. Describe the estate or village you live in.
  2. Compulsory Set Text (20 marks)
    Bertolt Brecht, The Caucasian Chalk Circle
    With illustrations from Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle, write a composition entitled: Self Centredness Does not Pay.
  3. The Optional Set Texts (20 marks)
    Answer any one of the following three questions.
    1. The Short Story
      Chris Wanjala (Ed.), Memories We Lost
      Drawing examples from Barry McKinley's short story "Almost Home", write a composition on the topic: "Some people keep making one bad decision after another."
    2. Drama
      Francis Imbuga, Betrayal in the City
      There is a direct link between oppression and weaknesses in a leader's character. Drawing examples from Francis Imbuga's Betrayal in the City, write an essay illustrating the truth of this statement
    3. The Novel
      John Steinbeck, The Pearl
      With illustrations from John Steinbeck's The Pearl, write an essay showing the evil nature of greed.


Co-ordination Procedure

  1. The Question Paper will be discussed together with the Points of Interpretation.
  2. After studying the Marking Scheme, the examiners will mark selected photocopied scripts of the Paper with their Team Leaders.
  3. The examiners will mark on their own a set of photocopied scripts and hand over those marked scripts to their TLs.
  4. The photocopied scripts marked by the examiners will be analyzed and points of interpretation and relevance discussed.
  5. More photocopies will then be marked and discussed.

Marking Procedure

  1. As soon as an examiner receives a set of scripts to be marked, he or she) must enter his name, number and the number of his team on the envelope.
    He or she must make sure that the number of scripts in the envelope corresponds to the number of scripts indicated by the supervisor. Any discrepancy must be reported immediately to the team leader.
    Any script sent to the TL or CE must be clearly identified as coming from such an examiner. Each examiner must keep a clear record of any script that passes through their hands.
  2. Team Leaders should keep very clear records of all scripts allocated to the team as a whole and each examiner individually.
  3. The examiners underline each mistake according to the instructions given on page 7 to 8 of this booklet. This must be done carefully as both over underlining or under underlining can give a wrong impression of the value of a script.
  4. Examiners underline in pencil since they may have to rub off faulty underlining. Team Leaders co-ordinate in red and CE in green.
  5. The mark given for the essay must appear at the end of the essay itself and carried over to the special grid on the first page of the booklet.
  6. For problem scripts, deductions should be clearly shown together with a short explanation of the reason for this on top of the Answer booklet.

Coordination by Team Leaders

  1. Team Leaders will co-ordinate approximately 10% of the scripts from each packet. The scripts selected for co-ordination must cover a variety of marks.
  2. If there are several deviations of 2 marks or more, an additional number of scripts is co-ordinated and the packet returned for remarking.
  3. If an examiner or a team leader is uncertain about any script, he/she is invited to consult other examiners, Tis or CEs.
  4. Team Leaders must return for re-marking scripts where the underlining is not satisfactory

Paper 101/3 is intended to test the candidates' ability to communicate in writing, Communication is established at different levels of intelligibility, correctness, accuracy, fluency, pleasantness and originality. Within the constraints set by each question, it is the linguistic competence shown by the candidate that should carry most of the marks.
Examiners should not hesitate to use the full range of marks for each essay.
It is important to determine first how each essay communicates and in which category A, B, C or D it fits.
(The marks indicated below are for question one.)


The candidate either does not communicate at all or his language ability is so minimal that the examiner practically has to guess what the candidate wants to say. The candidate fails to fit the English words he knows into meaningful sentences. The subject is glanced at or distorted. Practically no valid punctuation. All kinds of errors. ("Broken English").
Chaotic, little meaning whatsoever. Question paper or some words from it simply copied.
Flow of thought almost impossible to follow. The errors are continuous.
Although the English is often broken and the essay is full of errors of all types, we can at least guess what the candidate wants to say.


The candidate communicates understandably but only more or less clearly, He is not confident with his language. The subject is often undeveloped. There may be some digressions. Unnecessary repetitions are frequent. The arrangement is weak and the flow jerky. There is no economy of language; mother tongue influence is felt.
The candidate obviously finds it difficult to communicate his/her ideas. He/she is seriously hampered by his/her very limited knowledge of structure and vocabulary. This results in many gross errors of agreement, spelling, misuse of prepositions, tenses, verb agreement and sentence construction.
The candidate communicates but not with consistent clarity. His/her linguistic abilities being very limited, he/she cannot avoid frequent errors in sentence structure. There is little variety or originality. Very bookish English, links are weak, incorrect, repeated at times.
The candidate communicates clearly but in a flat and uncertain manner. Simple concepts sentence forms are often strained. There may be an overuse of clichés, unsuitable idioms. Proverbs are misquoted or misinterpreted. The flow is still jerky. There are some errors of agreement, tenses and spelling.

This class is characterized by greater fluency and ease of expression. The candidate demonstrates that he/she can use English as a normal way of expressing himself/herself. Sentences are varied and usually well-constructed. Some candidates become ambitious and even over ambitious. There may be items of merit of the one word or one expression type. Many essays in this category may be just clean and unassuming but they still show that the candidate is at ease with the language. There may be a tendency to under mark such essays. Give credit for tone.
The candidate communicates fairly and with some fluency. There may be little variety in sentence structure. Gross errors are still found occasionally, but this must not be over punished by the examiner.
B 13
The sentences are varied but rather simple and straight forward. The candidate does not strain himself in an effort to impress. There is a fair range of vocabulary and idiom. Natural and effortless. Some items of merit, economy of language.
B+ 14-15
The candidate communicates his ideas pleasantly and without strain. There are errors and slips. Tenses, spelling and punctuation are quite good. A number of items of merit of the whole sentence" or the "whole expression" type.

The candidate communicates not only fluently but attractively, with originality and efficiency. He/she has the ability to make us share his deep feelings, emotions and enthusiasms. He/she expresses himself freely and without any visible constraint. The script gives evidence of maturity, good planning and often humour. Many items of merit which indicate that the candidate has complete command of the language. There is no strain, just pleasantness, clever arrangement, felicity of expression.
The candidate shows competence and fluency in using the language. He/she may lack imagination or originality which usually provide the "spark" in such essays. Vocabulary, idiom, sentence structure, links, variety are impressive. Gross errors are very rare.
A 18
Positive ability. A few errors that are felt to be slips. The story or argument has a definite impact. No grammar problem. Variety of structures. A definite spark. Many margin ticks.
A+ 19-20
The candidate communicates not only information and meaning, but also and especially the candidate's whole self: his/her feelings, tastes, points of view, youth, culture. This ability to communicate deeply may express itself in a wide range of effective vocabulary, original approach, vivid and sustained account in the case of a narrative, well developed and ordered argument in the case of a debate or discussion. Errors and slips should not deprive the candidate of the full marks he/she deserves. A very definite spark.

CLASS                                  MARK CATEGORY
                                             EACH ESSAY

A                                          A+         19-20
                                            A           18
                                            A-          16-17
B                                          B+         14-15
                                            B           13
                                            B-          11-12
C                                          C+         09-10
                                            C           08
                                            C-          06-07
D                                          D+        04-05
                                            D          03
                                            D-         00-02

  1. The main signs indicate three degrees of seriousness of error.
      b jagytdga
      c javgytda
      This sign in the margin is used only when a construction error affects more than one line.


  1. The following symbols may also be used.
    REPETITION - (of words) a circle around the word
    ILLEGIBILITY - (of ideas) usually in the margin
    VAGUENESS - obscure/vague (in margin)
    V                         Obsc.
    WRONG WORD ORDER - Underline once and write W.O. in margin
    BROKEN ENGLISH when the candidate fails to communicate BR in margin.
    COW to indicate that a candidate has used a pencil to make a correction
    BRACKETS [ ] indicate a part of a D script that communicates.
    * Use an asterisk to indicate an item or a sentence that the rubrics indicate should be used.
  2. TO INDICATE AN ITEM OF MERIT use a tick (√) either above a word or in the margin for the whole sentence.


  1. Almost any error of agreement
  2. Serious tense error 
  3. Errors of elementary vocabulary: spelling and misuse 
  4. Punctuation errors or missing punctuation which causes serious lack of communication
  5. Elementary errors of sentence construction.
  6. Ridiculous use of idiom that affects communication.
  7. Misuse of common prepositions 
  8. Contracted forms 
  9. Misuse of capital letters - Use CAPS. Underline the first page and use CAPS on subsequent pages where the mistake persists.


  1. Decide on the degree of communication achieved, A-D 
  2. After underlining decide on the mark category 
  3. Allocate a numerical mark to the essay.

All problem scripts must be marked by the examiner and then sent to the Team Leader with comments.

    1. Consistent distortion of question, evasion of question, writing on a totally different subject with a clumsy attempt at connecting the essay to the subject given, inclusion of memorized passages, etc.
    2. The question is given an unacceptable or questionable interpretation.
    3. Essays contain long, semi-irrelevant digressions or lack coherence.
      The examiner marks the essay, gives a linguistic mark and comments on the nature of the irrelevancy. The essay is then passed over to the team leader who judges whether the irrelevancy should be judged as a deliberate attempt to deceive or should be attributed to the candidate's poor understanding of the subject. Deduct up to 4 marks for irrelevancy in the essay. If dishonesty is suspected, the Chief Examiner should be informed. Any deduction of 3 marks or more should be referred to the Chief Examiner.
    Since the rubrics may change from year to year, the POINTS OF INTEPRETATION that are part of this MARKING SCHEME must be consulted and adhered to faithfully. Here are some general rules that usually apply.
    1. Decide on the category D+, D or D
    2. Mark the errors on all the pages of the essay.
    3. Team leaders should look at a good number of those scripts and ensure that the mark given is fair.
    It should be remembered that the main quality of an essay is how effectively it communicates.
    The essay should not exceed 450 words, if not AD 2 marks (max. 3 pages)

A good number of words and expressions are understood and currently used by all Kenyans. They can be used in essays without any need for quotation marks or explanations. We can include among those:

panga, rungu, shamba, murram, matatu wananchi, ugali, madarasa, harambee, matoke maendeleoyawanawake, salaam, ayah, askari debe, duka, Nyayo, boma, sukumawiki, goat party, manyatta, magendo

Although "English" spelling is more common than "American" spelling in Kenya, examiners should accept both spellings and no penalty should be given for such variations. Penalize for lack of consistency in usage of either.

    Points of Interpretation
    Question 1 (a)
    • Must be a story if not AD 4 marks 
    • Should capture the narrator initial apprehension which later yields pleasant or unpleasant outcomes
      Question 1 (b) 
    • Should be a description through a story or a discussion
    Bertolt Brecht, The Caucasian Chalk Circle With illustrations from Bertolt Brecht's, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, write a composition entitled: Self Centeredness Does Not Pay.

    Introduction (2 marks)
    Many people in society are motivated by self-interest. They think that in pursuing their interests they will achieve their goals and become happy. Such people think what they are doing is for the best, but eventually they become ultimate losers. This is the case in Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle. (Accept any other relevant introduction)

    • In the play, George Abashwili is preoccupied with his own concerns and cares little about the wishes of his subject. For instance, he does not pay any attention to the petitioners who come to him on that fateful Easter Sunday. He is so preoccupied with trifles that he dismisses the messenger who would probably have communicated the threat to his position and life. Instead of sparing a moment to speak to him he indulges in selfish concerns.
      • "Not before service, Shalva, but did you hear Brother Kazbek wish me a happy Easter? P. 16. By the end of the day George Abashwili loses not only his position but also his life. (pp. 3-16, 18-21, 26-28, 63)
    • NatellaAbashwili does not consider the feelings of other people. She roughly orders her servants about and even abuses and beats one of them for no misdeed. When her husband is executed and they have to escape, she is so obsessed with which clothes to wear or take with her that she leaves her own baby behind! We only hear of her again after the war when she comes looking for the child because she now needs him in order to have access to her husband's estate. Unfortunately for her, in the famous court case the baby is given to Grusha, the motherly woman who had risked her life and made sacrifices in order to protect and take care of the abandoned child. Natella ends up losing everything including her son and her late husband's immense wealth. (pp. 18-19, 21-24, 27-28, 38, 69, 70-74, 82-83)
    • The Fat prince executes his brother in order to gain power when civil war breaks out he too is beheaded. He ends up in the same way as his brother.
    • Grusha's mother-in-law and the Monk conspire to marry Grusha to the 'dying 'peasant for selfish gain. In the end, when the truth comes out, they lose their dignity.
    • The princes mismanage the war in order to overthrow the Grand Duke's government and take over the leadership. They succeeded in this but eventually they lose out when the Grand Duke comes back to power. (19, 70, 73-74, 82, 84, 89)
    • People who act out of selfishness assume that they stand to gain from their actions. However, whatever they think they have gained is soon lost because their evil actions eventually catch up with them. (Accept any other valid conclusion) Mark any 4 well developed points 3:3:3:3=12 marks; Grammar and presentation: 4 marks.
    1. The Short Story
      Chris Wanjala (Ed.), Memories We Lost and Other Stories Drawing examples from Barry McKinley's short story "Almost Home", write a composition on the topic: "Some people keep making one bad decision after another."

      As they say, choices have consequences. When we make one bad decision, it is likely to be followed by a series of other bad if not worse decisions. We see this happen in "Almost Home by Barry McKinley." (Accept any other relevant introduction)
      • In the story, the first bad decision that Ali made was to go along with his family's decision to send him to Ireland as an illegal immigrant. Once there, he leads a fake life by pretending to be a medical student. He lowers his dignity by living off handouts and sleeping on his benefactors' sofas. (pp. 74, 75, 76)
      • To try and save him from that parasitic and miserable kind of life, a professor at Trinity College offers him 200 Euros to return home to Tangiers. Unfortunately, and ridiculously, he decides to buy an iPod which he never learnt to use. (p. 74)
      • Yet another bad decision that Ali makes is to squander his money while in Ireland. Although he gets several jobs, he doesn't send any money back. He forgets the sacrifice his family had made to send him to Ireland. As a result, he feels he cannot face them when he is deported. (pp. 74, 76)
      • He endangers his life needlessly when there is an attempt to deport him. He shouts that he is a terrorist and that he has a bomb with which he will blow up the plane. This was a great risk for he could easily have been eliminated by security officers. We also see him risk his life when he makes a dash among moving vehicles, barely escaping being crushed by a trailer.
      • Ali to a nearby table to a woman picking at her food and lies that he has been abducted and needs help. (p.75)
      • The final and the worst decision that he makes is to commit suicide. He cannot contemplate how he will face his mother and sisters whom he has badly let down. He did not make anything of himself in Ireland and therefore did not improve the life of his family. He also dreads being locked up and the trouble his family would take to bail him out. Consequently, he decides to plunge into the sea. (pp. 76, 78)
      • Barry McKinley demonstrates that sometimes we fail to remedy an initial bad decision. Instead, we worsen the situation by making other related bad choices. This is what Ali does and he ends up dead. (Accept any other valid conclusion)
        Mark any 4 well developed points 3:3:3:3=12 marks; Grammar and presentation: 4 marks
    2. Drama
      Francis Imbuga, Betrayal in the City
      There is a direct link between oppression and weaknesses in a leader's character. Drawing examples form Francis Imbuga's Betrayal in the City, write an essay illustrating the truth of this statement.

      In oppressive regimes there is often a direct link between oppression and the weaknesses in the leader's character. For instance, an insecure leader tends to be oppressive because he or she doesn't want to be challenged. In the play, Betrayal in the City, we see that Boss's bad actions are consistent with his personality. The people of Kafira live in a state of fear and uncertainty because Boss wants to hold on power at whatever cost. (Accept any other relevant introduction)

      -Many of the injustices in Kafira are attributable to Boss's corrupt nature. Mulili, his cousin, has little education yet he has been appointed a senior government official. In the play, Mulili is Boss's chief agent of oppression. Nina and Doga are denied the right to carry out final rites for their dead son. When Jere requests Mulili to allow them to carry on with the ceremony, he says he cannot allow it because his future depends on it. It happens that Boss has promised to give him a large farm and grade cattle (P13). By lavishing Mulili with gifts Boss spurs Mulili on towards more oppression of the people. (pp. 8-15, 59-60, 68)
      -Tumbo tells Regina that Boss's main fault lies in making hasty decisions and then standing by them. One instance when we see this is when Boss orders the execution of Kabito through an organised accident instigated by Mulili. Boss says that Kabito is one of his most loyal subjects yet he does not take time to investigate the wild allegations made by Mulili against Kabito. This is because of his rash nature. It is also rash to order for three hundred expatriates just to put students in their place. This is particularly so because such an action has serious repercussions on Kafira's sovereignty and economy. (pp. 45, 58-60, 64, 65, 68)
      -Boss is cruel. He presides over executions of anybody who dares to challenge his rule. The murder of Adika is planned. During the students' demonstrations only four bullets were fired and Adika had four bullet wounds. Instead of addressing the issues raised by the striking students, Boss prefers to silence their student leader. When Boss decides to get rid of Kabito, he tells Mulili that he (Mulili) knows what must be done. Mulili quickly replies that he (Mulili)is an old hand at everything and reminds him about the old couple. It becomes apparent that it was Mulili who organized for Jasper's parents to be murdered in cold blood so that Jasper would have no one to return to after being released from jail (P 20). Mulili is just doing these dirty jobs for Boss. (pp. 1-4, 20, 24, 33-35, 58-60, 62-63, 67)
      -Boss is gullible. We find that he is easily influenced by his advisers, the chief one being Mulili. For some reasons not clear to us, Boss trusts Mulili completely. We would expect Mulili to be faithful after all the favours Boss has showed on him. However, Mulili takes advantage of this trust to misadvise Boss and to settle scores with those who differ with him. For instance, because he knows the boss well, he is able to fabricate a story to warrant Kabitos execution. Jere is also another victim of his vindictiveness. He is imprisoned unfairly, most likely on framed up charges, for disagreeing with Mulili over the cancellation of Adika's final rites. (pp. 13-15, 22, 58-60, 62-63)
      -Because of his fearful and insecure nature, Boss cannot put up with anyone who challenges or criticizes him. He orders Kabito's execution because he is afraid that Kabito knows too much about him and might oppose him. Like Kabito, people who speak their minds are either arrested, imprisoned or simply executed. Mosese is arrested on fabricated charges for speaking out during Adika's funeral. No one is safe because Boss has spies like Mulili, self seekers, who misreport events to gain political mileage. This results in oppression of those involved. (pp. 18, 19, 24, 25 44, 48, 58-60, 63)
      -Tumbo says Boss has a weakness for women and Regina confirms it. She dreads going to see him over Mosese's release. He locks his wife up (pp. 45, 61)
      As we have seen in Betrayal in the City, this confirms what weak leaders in the world have done. Leaders like Bokassa, Idi Amin, Hitler and many others, illustrate this truth. (Accept any other valid conclusion) Mark any 4 well developed points 3:3:3:3=12 marks; Grammar and presentation: 4 marks
    3. The Novel
      John Steinbeck, The Pearl
      With illustrations from John Steinbeck's The Pearl, write an essay showing the evil nature of greed.

      Greed, which springs from selfishness and self-centredness, destroys human relationships and often leads to death. Humans are social animals and were by nature meant to help one another and generally work for the good of society. John Steinbeck's novella The Pearl demonstrates that greed destroys these human bonds. (Accept any other relevant introduction)


      -Kino, the hero in The Pearl, gets what is later called the pearl of the world from the sea. It is not as if he has worked hard to get this object. But in his excitement, he tries to capitalize on this lucky find. This desire costs him a lot of suffering. (pp. 28-29, 37-38, 42-46, 4748, 50-56, 78-79, 83-115)
      -The entire neighbourhood hears of this great find, and they want either to lay their hands on it or somehow benefit from it. In other words, the great pearl unleashes the evil in these neighbours. Kino's properties are destroyed by greedy neighbours - his house is burnt and his canoe is damaged. This is because of the pearl. (pp. 41-43, 45-47, 53, 55-56, 65-67, 69, 71-75, 83-92)
      -The local doctor doesn't want to treat Kino's son who has been stung by a scorpion. But when he hears about the pearl, he comes and engages in medical malpractice in order to partake of the wealth that will accrue from the sale of the pearl. (pp. 27-29, 41-42, 50-53, 55-56)
      -The pearl dealers offer Kino the bare minimum, 1,000 and later 1,500 pesos, pretending the pearl is of no great value. For his part, Kino wants 50,000 pesos, an indication of his greed. This means that the greed on both sides cannot allow them to agree on a price. (pp. 63-64, 69, 70-75)
      -Kino is hurt in a fight with a man who tries to rob him of the pearl, but he eventually kills him. (pp. 17-19, 59-60, 83-85, 90, 92)
      -Kino beats up his wife Juana, who tries to steal the pearl with the aim of throwing it back into the sea. Juana has rightly perceived that this pearl is the source of evil and suffering. (pp. 17-19, 59-60, 83-85)
      -Kino and his family try to flee to the north, but they are pursued by trackers. Kino ambushes them, snatches their rifle and kills them. In the struggle, his son Coyotito is killed. (pp. 92, 100-118)
      -The death of his son is apparently a turning point. Husband and wife return to La Paz, and Kino throws the pearl, the symbol of evil and suffering, back into the sea. Life returns to normal and we are back where we began. (pp. 114-118)
      -Te priest on receiving news about Kino's fortune quickly thinks of the gains he can make out of it. (pp. 41, 47-48)

      John Steinbeck shows definitively that greed brings out the worst in us. We kill each other because of this evil trait. We hurt even those we love because of greed. But the story of The Pearl also proves that we can overcome this dark side of our human nature. (Accept any other valid conclusion) Mark any 4 well developed points 3:3:3:3=12 marks; Grammar and presentation: 4 marks
Join our whatsapp group for latest updates

Download KCSE 2018 English Paper 3 with Marking Scheme.

Tap Here to Download for 50/-

Why download?

  • ✔ To read offline at any time.
  • ✔ To Print at your convenience
  • ✔ Share Easily with Friends / Students

Get on WhatsApp Download as PDF
Subscribe now

access all the content at an affordable rate
Buy any individual paper or notes as a pdf via MPESA
and get it sent to you via WhatsApp


What does our community say about us?

Join our community on:

  • easyelimu app
  • Telegram
  • facebook page
  • twitter page
  • Pinterest