KCSE 2019 English Paper 1 Questions With Marking Scheme

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  • Answer all questions in this paper
  • Candidates must answer the questions in English
  1. Imagine you have recently transferred to another school. Write a letter to your best friend in your former school persuading him or her to transfer to your new school. In your letter, give at least three reasons why this school is better than your former school. (20 marks)
  2. Read the passage below and fill in each blank space with the most appropriate word. (10 marks)

    Regardless of your intelligence and the way you learn, knowing how to concentrate is critical to a student's success. Concentration is a (a)........................... that is developed through self-discipline and (b) .......................... It is a habit that (c) .......... .... time and effort to develop for consistent success. Athletes have it. Surgeons have it; and successful students (d)............. have it. Concentration can be defined as the process of paying attention or (e)......................... full attention on the task (1).................... hand. The mark of a genius is the (g).. to concentrate on one thing at a time. This is (h)................ if the task is fun and exciting. (i)............. it becomes more difficult when one is required to read (j) ........ that is boring or complicated.
    (Adapted from: Bridging the Gap by Brenda D. Smith, Pearson Education Inc. 2008)
    1. Study the Poem below, and then answer the questions that follow

      A stooped old man and a young man
      Chanced to meet one day.
      The young one said to the elder
      In his usual braggart way,
      “Why don't you walk up straight like me?
      That's no way to grow old;
      It's all a form of habit;
      At least that's what I'm told.”

      The old man gave him a knowing look,
      And said, “My dear young friend,
      Have you ever examined your wheat field,
      And noticed the heads that bend?
      If not, just look them over
      As harvest time draws nigh;
      You'll find that the heads that are empty
      Are standing tall and high,
      But the heads that count in the harvest
      Are filled and bending low,
      Awaiting the reaper's sickle;
      Their time is short, they know.”

      And as the young man passed on by,
      He slowly bowed his head,
      No doubt he pondered many a day
      On the things that the old man said.

      From How to Teach Poetry by Amy Z. Davis and Florence Stratton. Heinemann Edu Books, 1984

      1. Identity two features of oral songs in this poem. (4 marks)
      2. Identify any two words that you would stress in the second line of the last stanza. Explain your answer. (3 marks)
      3. How would you perform the fifth line of the first stanza? (2 marks)
    2. Identify the intonation in the following sentences: (3 marks)
      1. Did you do your homework?
      2. What a beautiful girl!
      3. Get out of sight now.
    3. For each of the following words, provide another that is pronounced in the same way. (6 marks
      1. Whale
      2. Need
      3. Seem
      4. Queue
    4. Assume that you attended a youth conference on drug abuse. Your principal has asked you to give an oral report during the assembly. How would you use your voice effectively? (6 marks)
    5. For each of the situations below, write what you would say.
      1. Would you like to join us for tea? (1 mark)
      2. Thank you for the wonderful gift. (1 mark)
      3. During a group discussion you are not quite sure what someone has just said.
        You want to seek clarification. (2 marks)
      4. You did not complete your homework because you were not feeling well last night, You go to your class teacher to explain (2 marks)


  1. Expect an informal letter

    Format (5 marks)
    Salutation Closing tag

    Content (6 marks)
    Expect at least three good reasons - give two marks each if each reason is conveyed in a convincing manner-( ability to explain and persuade should come through ).

    Paragraphing (1 mark)
    Introductory paragraph

    Language use (8 marks)
    An impression mark should be given based on the candidates overall linguistic ability as follows:

    Group D (01 - 02 marks)
    Candidate does not communicate and their language ability is so minimal that the examiner has to guess what they intended to write.
    - Poor use of expressions
    - Poor use of punctuation marks
    - Hardly any correct sentences
    - Spelling errors (Broken usage must be identified).

    Group C (03-04 marks)
    - Lack of confidence in language use
    - Very simple sentences
    - All manner of grammatical errors - Mother tongue interference . Poor organization of ideas

    Group B (05-06 marks)
    - Communicates fluently, with ease of expression - Well-constructed sentences
    - Good use of vocabulary Some errors

    Group A (07-08 marks)
    - Ease of expression with no errors of punctuation, spelling and grammar
    - Good planning/organization of ideas
    - Clever use of vocabulary and maturity in language use
    - Definite sparks
    1. skill
    2. practice
    3. requires/needs
    4. must
    5. focusing
    6. at
    7. ability
    8. easy
    9. but
    10. something
      1. - rural setting; rural imagery:
        - Direct address
        - Epigrammatic quality/ a moral lesson
        - Memorability
        - Conversational
        - Repetition

        2 marks each for any two illustrated points
      2. 'Slowly', 'bowed' and 'head. (Any two of the three words = 2 marks)
        They are content words and show the shame/embarrassment that the boy felt.
      3. - Put on a facial expression indicating pride,
        - Employ a boastful, contemptuous tone
        - Walk tall and straight/ use wide expansive gestures.
        (Any two points 1 mark each)
      1. Rising
      2. Falling
      3. Falling

        (1 mark each =3 marks)
      1. Wail/wale
      2. Knead
      3. Seam
      4. Cue/ kyu
      5. Reign/rein
      6. Pare/pear
        6x1 marks = 6 marks
    4. - Be audible project voice properly
      - Articulate/pronounce words properly and distinctively
      - Vary tone
      - Proper pacing
      - Not to speak too fast or too slowly
      - Vary pitch/degree of loudness
      - Stress words for emphasis
      (Any three points 2 marks each)
      1. Yes, thank you/Yes I'd love to
        I'm sorry I can't, I am going to see a sick friend.
      2. You are most welcome.
      3. I beg your pardon/Excuse me (1 mark) Could you repeat that please? (1 mark)
      4. I'm sorry I did not complete my homework. (1 mark)
        I was not feeling well last night. (1 mark)

        NB: Consider what would be the most appropriate response in a real life communication situation.
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