English First Language

your ultimate resource for first language English mastery.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to conquering the 0500 First Language English exam!

Whether you’re a student or a teacher, we are confident that you’ll find some value here. The materials on this site will break down the IGCSE First Language English curriculum for you, offer you some helpful tips, and provide you both with a rough outline as well as in-depth guides to success, even and especially if you’ve never done well on this subject in the past.

Some of the materials are free, and others are premium materials accessible if you choose to purchase membership access.

Here is the site directory!

Site Directory:

  1. Syllabus-related
  2. Paper 1
  3. Paper 2
  4. Coursework
    • To be updated
  5. Text types
    • To be updated
  6. Tips for optimizing your time for exam practice
  7. Resources and publications
    • More to come!

Also, it IS a blog, so you’ll get some of my thoughts here, there, and everywhere.

First Language English isn’t easy, but I hope this helps you out!

If you find this work valuable, do consider sharing it over social media, sharing it with your students, feel free to integrate it into your lesson plans as well, and make sure to learn as much as you can during this epic time ahead 🙂

…What are you waiting for?

Go forth and succeed! Happy reading!

You wake up in the morning and you realize that it’s a new day. Oh my god, do I really have to do this again? That’s probably the first thought that comes to your mind. You already did this yesterday. But now everything’s starting again. That whole cycle of going out, going downstairs, and trying your very best to make that transformation happen, whatever it is that it’s supposed to be.

Learning isn’t easy. I get it.

If everyone could do it, then maybe every single person out there would have A-stars. But they don’t. Only 10% of the population gets them. If learning were so easy, maybe everyone would be Yoyoma, Serena Williams, and Ronaldo all rolled into one. But no. Not everyone is a superstar, cellist, tennis player, or football (whoa, almost said soccer there!) aficionado, shattering records, and taking the world home on the spin of a dime and a wink of an eye. 

What? Were we supposed to study for 10 hours, 20 hours? Why is it so difficult? We need to watch TV. Do X, do Y, Z. Any number of things but this suffering that you would inflict upon me.

Look, I get it. You want to do other things. You want to tell yourself that this is a truly important part of enjoying your youth. I get it. 

The reality, though, is that sometimes you have to make a choice. And sometimes that choice is not as hard as you think. Because you do want to consider things a little more widely if you think that the most important thing that you could ever do is watch How I Met Your Mother on repeat for the 35th time and say that that was the best way that you could have spent your youth. 

Well, if that’s what you think, then I have to say this. I respect that, but I think you’re an idiot.

Because here’s the reality, friends. Once the IGCSE comes and once it goes, if you don’t get the grade that you want, then you take it again. 

There’ll be more time lost, more energy lost, and at least one scholarship opportunity missed.

Since you’re here reading this and wasting your time anyway, you may as well make it into something a little more productive than it otherwise would’ve been. If you are planning to use TikTok and scroll for 2 hours after reading this, avert that plan. 

If you wanted to spend an hour and 50 minutes looking at Instagram instead, move away from that.

I don’t want you to feel attacked by the way, because browsing social media repeatedly is something that many of us do, often without thinking, so I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re being attacked here, because this is a very, very normal behavior.

But yeah, my point remains.

Learning isn’t easy.

You may have to overcome your natural instincts. You may have to fight against your nature. Every single cell in your body might be opposing this project that you have set out for yourself and have you questioning whether the universe wants you to do this or not. Well, as the famous words of Coldplay’s The Scientist declare, nobody ever said it was easy. They’re song lyrics, but they ring as true as the first day that Chris Martin sang them. To quote a slightly different person, I’ll say this. Ask not for an easy life, but rather ask for the strength to overcome a difficult one. These were the words of Bruce Lee, and they are the words that I share to you today.

Be strong, my friends. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, and when it comes to IGCSE success, there’s no question that what you need to do is sit down, push, and do your best work. Good luck to all of you.

Good luck to all of you out there who are taking your 0500 paper 1 tomorrow!

I trust it’s going to be an interesting experience, and as you go into the exam, go in the knowledge that you have already prepared your very best, but do remember some of the following small things.

Remember to read your questions.

When you are navigating, you need an address. If you don’t have the address, it doesn’t matter where you go, what you do, at the end of the day, you still won’t get to where it is that you want to go.

So, learn what you’re supposed to do, read the questions carefully, and then go in that direction.

Don’t just throw yourself along a path while hoping that you’ll get somewhere, because you definitely won’t.

Next tip, make sure to plan out your answers.

I know it’s very easy to just think that you should go in guns blazing, writing as fast as you possibly can, but really, planning out something can be helpful in a whole bunch of different ways.

I can’t remember who it was, but someone, perhaps it was Lincoln, said that if you were given 6 hours to chop down a tree, he would spend the first 4 sharpening the axe.

Obviously, you don’t have 4 hours during the course of your IGCSE exam, and if you try that, then you’ll be off and with no grade. So please don’t follow that advice literally; on the metaphorical front, do take some time to think about what you’re going to say, because that is going to pay dividends down the line when you structure, have a clear idea, and then finish in time.

Next tip, make sure to think about time.

Generally, each of the sections that you complete can be thought of as a 40-minute section, a 40-minute section, and a 40-minute section, respectively for your reading comprehension and then summary, then your reading comprehension, and then explanation and writer’s effect, and then finally, the extended response to reading.

Budget your time well, and make sure that you are going ahead and just ensuring that you have ample time to respond.

Next tip, when you are reading, make sure not to deceive yourself.

Remember that you are reading a text. This is not a time for you to impose your own opinions.

It is a time for you to understand, to retrieve, and from there to synthesize. It’s not time to start campaigning.

None of you are going to become Greta Thunbergs and simultaneously obtain an A-star if the cause that you are going for is environmental science when in fact the paper was actually about running a marathon. It doesn’t work that way.

My last tip, just go in with a sense that you are going to learn something along the way and that you’ve already done your best.

So treat it as a good time to go in, enjoy some interesting text, write a response, and know that you’ve already done your best by that point because it is going to be the best that you’ve done by that point.

You can’t really change anything.

I have no idea if any of you are going to retake things but that’s a separate question. Go in with a feeling that this exam will not determine your life because certainly it won’t. It may decide the kind of grade that you eventually get but that at the end of the day isn’t really going to be consequential relative to the other things that could ostensibly affect your life.

So just go in with the knowledge that it’s going to be an interesting time and that there is going to be something cool to gain right here and enjoy yourself.

That’s all there is.

Alright, good luck everyone, have a great time and I look forward to seeing you on the other side!

Dear all,

The Descriptive essay compilation has been updated!

Want to gain the exact examples you need for that A*? Sign up for a Premium membership so that you don’t miss out, today!

V.

We hope you enjoyed these essays! If you want to join our IGCSE First Language English class or just want to know how we can help you, please feel free to fill in this form, or drop us a WhatsApp here.

Alternately, you may scan the QR code below:

Dear all,

Wow! The IGCSE is coming up quick!

With that in mind… The Descriptive essay compilation has been updated!

Want to gain the exact examples you need for that A*? Sign up for a Premium membership so that you don’t miss out, today!

V.

You’ll find the new essays below:

We hope you enjoyed these essays! If you want to join our IGCSE First Language English class or just want to know how we can help you, please feel free to fill in this form, or drop us a WhatsApp here.

Alternately, you may scan the QR code below:

Victor Tan

Your ultimate resource for First Language English mastery!

Welcome to FirstLanguageEnglish.net! You've found the best IGCSE 0500 First Language English resource on the internet.

The site updates a minimum of once a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays by 5pm MYT.

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This is a passion project that I created because I realized that there is huge variability in the quality of instruction across different schools for IGCSE 0500 First Language English, and I thought to do something about it.

It incorporates insights from teachers, examiners, and actual documentation from Cambridge International Examinations to create a resource that I've tried to make fun, simple, and enjoyable for all of you from beginners to language lovers alike 🙂

Thank you for stopping by, and we're honored to have you here! Hope that the site is helpful to you in many different ways - do share it with your friends, children, and teachers as well!

If you'd like to learn more about me, feel free to head on to www.victor-tan.com, or to contact me at victortanws@gmail.com.

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Cheers and here is to your smashing successes ahead!