September 30, 2017 | Author: trofihome | Category: Free Will, Destiny, Essays, Theology, Religion And Belief
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Bac la Engleza...







EDITURA AMETHYST Str. Alexandru Vlahuþã, bloc Lamã B, sc.1, ap 1 Cluj-Napoca, cod 401160. tel: 0744 670 733 e-mail: [email protected]

BAC LA ENGLEZÃ LILIANA HUZDUP prima ediþie 2006 corecturã: prof Cristiana Oºan

ISBN - 10 973-878-95-0-8 ISBN - 13 978-973-878-95-0-0

Copertã, tehnoredactare ºi tipar - PapyrusPrint

FOREWORD This book is meant to help students to prepare for the Baccalaureate exam. I have decided to use my experience as a high school teacher to guide students to prepare a discourse, to tackle a literary text or to write an essay according to the requirements of the NATIONAL CURRICULUM. This book is a precious instrument for students and a useful guide for teachers. Good luck! Liliana Huzdup, teacher.

PREFAÞÃ Aceastã carte este conceputã pentru a veni în ajutorul elevilor care se pregãtesc pentru examenul de Bacalaureat. M-am hotãrît sã-mi folosesc experienþa de profesor la liceu pentru a-i ghida pe elevi sã pregãteascã un discurs, sã abordeze un text literar sau sã scrie un eseu în concordanþã cu cerinþele PROGRAMEI NAÞIONALE. Aceastã carte este un instrument preþios pentru elevi ºi un ghid util pentru profesori. Succes! Profesor, Liliana Huzdup.


FOREWORD ................................................................................ 3 PREFAÞÃ ............................................................................................. 4 I.THE ORAL EXAM A’) Discourses/1-2 classes/week ................................ 7 A’’) Discourses/3-4 classes/week ............................ 20 B) Literary texts: ....................................................................... 30 II.THE WRITTEN EXAM: A. The narrative essay .......................................................... 38 B. The descriptive essay ...................................................... 42 C. The argumentative essay ............................................. 46 D. The reflective essay ........................................................ 50 III. Possible titles of essays: .................................................... 55 Bibliography:



I.THE ORAL EXAM A’) DISCOURSES 1-2 classes/week 1. The last school week  Refer

to the idea that people value most what they are about to lose (the impact of the word “ the last”.)  Why is this week different from the others?  Are you sorry to leave school or are you looking forward to it?  Refer to your feelings towards: your mates (the favourites and the ones you don’t like) and your teachers.  What will you miss most and why?

2. Travelling - a special place to visit  Reasons

for travelling : (relaxing, being away from the city and its busy life, a time to think) .  The location of that special place.  Reasons for choosing it and not another place.  Description of the place: geographical features, special attractions.  Convince the audience to go there.


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3. Practicing sports keeps you active and healthy. What else should we do to keep healthy and fit? 

The importance of practising sports.  What sports do you practice? /How do they help you to keep fit and healthy? Sports should be associated with:  a healthy diet.  a positive approach to life (positive thoughts, optimism, no anger, fear or other negative feelings).  Eight hours of sleep every night.  food supplements and vitamins (prevent diseases).  walking for half an hour daily.

4. Life a century ago  A “picture” of the society a century ago (customs, manners /position

of men and women in society)  Underline the advantages and disadvantages of this life style.  Compare it with life nowadays and express your preference for one of them (Motivate your choice – three reasons)

5. An object (a legend or a recipe) that has been in the family for generations  Name

it and describe it.  Mention its significance for the former generations.  What does it mean to you?  Will you make sure it will continue to be in the family for the future generations?

Liliana Huzdup  What


will you do to make sure it will happen?

6. A humorous/ tragic character in a book / film  The

name, age, nationality (mention the book or film where you encountered him/her.)  Physical portrait.  Moral portrait (examples of situations/ qualities and flaws)  Hobbies/ free time activities.  Something special about this character.  Why have you chosen this character? (Give some reasons).

7. A wonderful trip with your class  Time,

place and characters.  Report a series of events that happened there (happy or sad).  Which were the situations that helped you and your mates to get closer?  Why was it a wonderful trip?

8. The plot of a film that can be considered a work of art  The

title, the cast, the director  The plot (a summary of the main events)  Special prizes or awards.  Why can it be considered a work of art?

9. A speech about your country A

general presentation of the beauties of our country.


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of touristic interest (Maramureº, the monasteries of Moldova, Transylvania, the Danube’s Delta, the seaside resorts)  Romanian “ambassadors” abroad: Nadia Comãneci, Gheorghe Hagi, Sabin Bãlaºa.  Specific items (folklore, traditions, costumes, food, music).  Your arguments to convince the audience to visit Romania.

10. Romania will become a member of the EU. Express your view on the matter  The

importance of this event.  Its impact on our society (good side / weak points) at different levels (economic, political, cultural).  How would it change our lives? (for the better or for the worse)  How will this change affect you?  European citizenship – a dream that will finally become true.

11. Childhood and adolescence About childhood in general (universe of idealism)  the happiest period of life (innocence, sincerity, openness, no worries, creativity)  Your

childhood:  How was your life then? (memories, incidents).  Passage to adolescence. (rites of passage)  What changed into your life? (arguments, examples)  What do you prefer: childhood or adolescence? Why? (at least three reasons)  Can we keep childhood in our hearts forever? How?

Liliana Huzdup


12. The most representative personality of the 20th century  Name

/ nationality / field of activity.  Reasons for choosing him / her.  His / her contribution (Prizes / awards).  What made him / her famous?  His / her influence on your life.

13. Free time (importance, ways of spending it)  Free

time and its importance in our lives  Americans speak of “ quality time “ – It’s not quantity (how much you have) but quality (how you spend it) that really matters .  Ways of spending it: - with family, travelling, going out, doing housework; - with friends, having fun - by yourself, resting, reading, watching TV  Which way is the most pleasant? Why?  Would life be possible without free time?  What would it be like?


14. Famous actor / actress 

Name / age / nationality.  Phsysical / moral portrait.  Films in which he / she played.  Prizes / awards.  The moment when he / she became famous.  Reasons for being famous.

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Is he / she a model for you? Justify your answer.

15. Television  Television

is a very popular source of entertainment among the young and the old.)  The importance of television (it provides information) and its huge responsibility (it educates, it improves people’s lives)  Television: - good side (news, films, entertainment) - bad side (violence, negative news, pornography)  Its impact on people’s lives (especially on children and teenagers): They take for granted what they see and they try to imitate it.  The role of television in your life. Are you influenced by it? In what way? (negative or positive ?)  A conclusion: TV or not TV?

16. A friend in need is a friend indeed (refer to a literary text or to your own experience) 

Friends are very important in our lives.  Reasons : they offer support, affection, trust.  Friends are for good and for bad times .  In difficult times we come to appreciate the value of a friendship (reasons, examples).  When we feel lonely, we need affection, support, we need somebody to talk to, we need to trust the person.(example: a literary text, a film or your own experience).

Liliana Huzdup


17. Christmas & Easter 

The significance of Christmas: the birth of the Holy Child. Symbols: fir tree, Santa, presents, carols  Preparations for Christmas.  Christmas Eve: carols, Santa  Christmas Days: - going to church - a meal with the family Traditional food: pork, sponge cake


Easter – its significance – Christ’s Resurrection Symbols: red eggs (which became red because drops of Christ’s blood fell on them, the Easter Bunny)  Preparations.  Easter Eve: - going to church. - the Resurrection Light into your house.  Easter Day: - going to church - a meal with the family (the tradition of breaking eggs) - the tradition of wearing new clothes (purification of the soul) Traditional food: lamb steak, sponge cake, red eggs.



18. Your best friend 

Name / age / grade.  Physical and moral portrait.  Hobbies.  How long have you known him / her? Reasons for admiring him / her.


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19. If you won the national lottery, what would you do with the money? 

Are you usually lucky with the lottery?  Do you play often?  If you won, would it be a surprise for you?  What would you do with the money? a) Spend it: buy a house, a car, clothes? b) Save it in the bank? c) Invest it: start a business or invest in stock – shares?

20. Junk food 

Fast food restaurants are crowded! Why?  An old saying: You are what you eat.  Junk food:  Advantages: it is tasty, it contains many calories; it is easy to find; it is easy to eat. (even walking or at work)  Disadvantages: it is not healthy; you can get fat and ill (it contains many chemical additives).  Fast food restaurants are crowded. Reasons:  They are cheap (compared to a restaurant that offers healthy food)  You don’t wait a lot for the food to be prepared.  The food is tasty and attractively presented (a lot of publicity is made for these places)

Liliana Huzdup


21. Top models and football players make money easily. Advantages


Their careers are glamorous and well paid (much money)

- They have no personal life - No freedom (imposed diet, almost no free time) - Every step they take is decided by somebody else.

Can we say the money is made easily ? Reasons : (Try comparing them with other categories of jobs: teachers, doctors)

Advantages  Eight hours of work.  Partial power of decision.  A personal life after work.

Disadvantages Less money.

22. The role of the press  

Which form of media has the greatest impact? Why? Press:  advantages: - it keeps you informed - it is relatively cheap - it is accessible to everyone  disadvantages: subjectivity / manipulation


The role:  to inform, to help people have their own opinion.  to mirror reality The importance of the press in our society.

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23. Advertisements (Do they lie to us? Are they stupid?) 

Advertisements: - an industry that has conquered the world  They are found everywhere: on TV, in newspapers, on the Internet, in the street,  Aim: to convince people to consume.  Advantages: they inform you about new products  Disadvantages: they could become annoying.  Too much publicity induces the feeling of annoyance, boredom, refusal.) 

A selection should be made there are many categories of advertisements: sometimes they may be stupid, they don’t advertise a product, they sell an image)  They could also exaggerate the qualities of a product, they could go as far as masking the truth which is the equivalent of a lie.

24. The 20th century (3 major things which are crucial for mankind). th

 The 20

century – a crucial point in the development of mankind:  discoveries in medicine (cures for many diseases, examples)  the advanced technique : computers, Internet (details)  the advanced military equipment (USA, Russia)

The idea: To use this discoveries for good purposes not to destroy the world (examples)

25. Fewer people go to the cinema 

Nowadays we have less free time (working late hours)

Liliana Huzdup 


Modern devices: computers, home cinemas (advantage: people stay at home and watch films ; disadvantage : no socializing)

Cinemas  places to meet friends  opportunity to discuss a film. In our century there is a tendency to search entertainment in solitude – that leads to alienation .

26. Supermarkets / markets / shops Where would you go shopping? Why?  What would you choose ? Reasons Advantages


Supermarkets - all the products in the - canned or packed same place products - certificate of quality Market

- fresh products - small prices


- close to the house - more intimate

- no quality guarantee - sometimes no health guarantee - few products - more expensive

Weekdays : shops – for everyday needs  In the weekend (once a week) : the supermarkets : to buy everything you need for the following week.


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27. A personality you admire 

Name / age / nationality  Physical and moral portrait  Behaviour (examples of situations)  Profession / job.  Achievements (prizes, awards)  Hobbies, interests.  The reason why you admire him / her.

28. Characterize the beginning of this century  Predictions said this century would bring a break from last century. 

The beginning seems to be the prolongation of some tendencies from the 20th century: materialism, sexual decadence, violence.

But in the same time there is a desire for changing, an awareness that evil has to come to an end, that purity, love, sincerity, have to come out  The fight between the two tendencies: Light &Dark Good & Evil  The dawn of a New Era: of peace, understanding and spiritual love.

29. Pop singers, sportsmen and film stars must be inspiring for the young 

Young people have always looked for models (in their parents, teachers and later in pop singers, sportsman, film stars)  It is not good to imitate but to adapt.

Liliana Huzdup


Pop singers, sportsmen and film stars can offer the image of

successful, famous, rich people.  Young

people can be inspired by their determination to succeed, strong will to continue even if sometimes they face difficulties.  Would you be inspired by any some of these people? By whom? In what way?

30. You are a mayor: three things you are going to do as soon as possible. 

The function honors you and proves you that citizens trust you ; that means you have a huge responsibility: to try to make them content.  A mayor should ask the citizens for suggestions and take into account the citizens’ wishes. Measures: 

to create new parking places renovate old buildings (with historical and cultural importance)  to rent buildings and grounds that belong to the Town Hall and use the money to improve the public transport, build shelters for vagrant dogs.  to build shelter for homeless people.  to raise funds with the help of sponsorship and to support the education system, the health system in your city. 


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A’’) DISCOURSES 3-4 classes/week 1. Modern means of communication versus traditional way of life 

Modern means of communication: telephone, mobile phone, Internet, fax

Advantages:  a lot of time is saved  the information travels quickly Disadvantages:  encourage alienation (people don’t meat, they don’t talk, they just phone or send an email.)  People don’t have personal contact (eye/body contact) In modern times: There is no real communication, people are in a hurry, they don’t pay attention to relationships anymore. Time in a stress factor. The traditional way of life: They paid attention to real communication, the aim and the time didn’t matter so much.

2. Generation gap Causes:  different levels of understanding the issues.  lack of tolerance  desire to impose one’s point of view (no real communication which has the aim of detecting everybody’s needs and possibilities.)

Liliana Huzdup


Solutions:  more openness  real communication : more time spent together  desire to know the opposite side and to respect a different view, to accept it  wish to share each other’s experience  children can learn from parents, but parents can also learn from children

3. The country’s national character (influenced by climate, geographical position)  The

country’s national character is influenced by: - climate (temperate continental - four seasons which means balance: everything that happens follows a cyclical order)  Any change creates a lack of poise  Now we have two seasons: winter and summer (spring almost doesn’t exist) Our national character suffers a transformation)  The geographical position: our borders and our neighbors influence us.  There is a fight to change Romania’s borders (with Hungary, with Ukraine and Moldova)  Any change generates a modification in the national character.

4. The role of family and home environment in the formation of the character 

Family and home environment: the first stage of the school called “ life “  The beginning is always very important.  Family gives you security, unconditional love, support.

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They also help you to correct your mistakes in a mild way. The home environment is warm. Home is where you come to heal your heart wounds. Without them(family and home) man finds it difficult to keep balance.

5. The great potential of tourism 

Tourism: a source of income. Some countries have tourism as a major / main source of income (Spain, Greece) The tourism in Romania is not exploited but has a great potential. Touristic sights: Monasteries in Moldova Maramureº The Danube’s Delta The mountain resorts The seaside resorts Solution: Modernization of roads, means of transport, hotels, restaurants Publicity


6. One of your dreams and what you do to make it come true Dreams : 1. to have a brilliant career 2. to travel all over the world 3. to meet your soul mate What you do : 1. Study, hard work, dedication, sacrifices 2. Save money, get informed, establish a strategy. 3. Open your heart, try to know as many people as you can.

Liliana Huzdup


7. Scientists, artists and Olympic medallists have been Romania’s ambassadors abroad During the communist regime


- our connections with the rest of the world were broken - Romania was isolated - The only “ ambassadors “ scientists, artists, sportsmen as science, art and sport have no borders. Since Romania isolated itself from the world, other countries ignored it so people knew nothing about us (about our history, geography ......) The only “image” they had about Romania was Nadia Comãneci, or Hagi or Ana Aslan, Victor Babeº.

8. My town - a better place to live in 

A cleaner place.  Safer (no burglars, thieves).  Less crowded.  No vagrant dogs.  Less polluted.  With renovated buildings and historical monuments.  Peace and harmony between all the ethnic groups.

9. A century ago: walking on the Moon – unthinkable. Now people buy lots on the Moon


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A century ago – science and knowledge were limited.  People were afraid of exploring,  There were afraid of the unknown.  Now, mankind has surpassed its limits and its fears.  The journey towards other planets coincides with an expansion of conscience, an openness towards other civilizations and their lifestyle.  Earth has become a stage where Good and Evil fight.  People are in a desperate search of balance, of peace with the Universe.  They hope to find an answer on the Moon.

10. Superstitions. Do we still believe in them? Why ? 

Superstitions - how did they appear? From people’s need to explain some things that couldn’t be explained scientifically.  Men were afraid of Nature.  Fear that’s what made them believe in superstitions.  Superstitions are a kind of manipulation.  Today, we still believe in them.  Causes: lack of information, refusal to explain things logically.  Ignorant people indulge in this situation.  Solution: We should seek the real cause of things (There is always one) in our behaviour. Changing it and our thought could make the whole situation change.

11. The moving picture: the most popular art Reasons - people are very busy They don’t spend “ quality time “(no reading, no art

Liliana Huzdup


exhibitions, no concerts, theatre plays) They choose cinemas or even more comfortable, home cinemas or TV. This leads to alienation; no socializing, no real communication, just you and the screen. Advantages - You save some time - No difficulty of choice

Disadvantages - A limited perspective - No socializing

12. Can money buy anything?  Money can buy objects: houses, cars, luxury objects.

holidays, clothes It can’t buy : peace of heart, feelings, tranquility, love  What is most valuable in your life? Why?  Can it be bought with money? 

13. Your portrait 

Name / age  Physical and moral portrait (qualities and flaws.)  Behaviour (examples of situations either negative or positive)  Your evolution in time.  Hobbies, activities.  Self appreciation (boast and critics).

14. Characterize your generation  

(Clothes, behaviour, interest, beliefs, ideals) Point the differences from the previous generation


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Generation of rebels - inclined to search for the extremes.  Clothes mirror this attitude: either short or long, too tight or too large.  Behaviour : not obeying any rules.  They find their interests in material life (clothes, luxury, cars, money)  Estrangement from spirituality.  Ideal: material (not spiritual).  The previous generation: more submissive, sensitive to influences, a balanced attitude.  Material ideals (spiritual support).

15. Three dangers mankind faces (solutions) 

Alienation (cause; no real communication)  It can lead to violence, drugs.  Lack of religion (cause: interest in material things)  It can lead to depression, madness  

Solution: church, religious books, spiritual life.

Breaking up of families (cause : seeking pleasure, not real love, selfishness) Solution : a turn to a traditional way of life.  Diseases (causes: stress, bad habits of nutrition) Solution : a return to the traditional way of life, healthy life, healthy food

Liliana Huzdup


16. Uses and abuses of advertising 

Advertisement - “ the soul of commerce “

Our society: - materialistic. - based on consume and consumers.

Good side: - it makes the products known to the consumers. - if used correctly it’s the art of presenting a new product. - it contributes to the producers’ profit.

B a d s i d e : - it doesn’t promote the quality of the product, it sells an image. - there’s too much use of sexuality and sexual messages. - sometimes it is annoying because it almost obliges the client to buy something




17. The plot of a love story. Reasons for choosing it.  Name, author  Characters/main events.  Reasons for choosing it. Example: Romeo and Juliet / by W. Shakespeare They come from two enemy families/ They marry secretly / Romeo is banned from the city. Juliet takes a sleeping potion / Romeo thinks her dead / He commits suicide. She understands his gesture / She commits suicide too. Reason : the power of love triumphant over mundane things. Love is even stronger than death.


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18. Romania’s system of education A. Good side  Our pupils are very well prepared./They get international prizes and awards./ Modern methods of teaching are used. B. Bad side  It is centralized and rigid  There’s too much information  There are too many classes a week for each pupil.  The stress is on general knowledge with little or no specialization  The staff is badly paid.  Little money for auxiliary materials and teaching aids is given. 

Comparison with Western Europe

There is much freedom of expression, personalized work; There are less details (only main facts)  There are modern teaching aids.  There is not such a busy schedule.

19. Real life is more astonishing than movies / books. 

Movies / books contain extraordinary facts, stories of adventures, but they lack the sense of reality.  You can’t really “taste” them, they are offered to you by someone else who did.  Trying to get into the atmosphere is like living someone else’s life, imitating.  Your own life is original, you enjoy every moment of it with joys and sorrows.

Liliana Huzdup

It’s spicy, astonishing unique. You can’t compare it with movies and books. Real life has nothing to do with fictional life life.

20. Volunteering 

It’s an interesting activity  You get to know people / make friends / gain experience  You have the opportunity to get involved in projects  Romanian young people are eager to volunteer (reasons)  Have you ever volunteered?  How was your experience?  If not, would you volunteer?


B) LITERARY TEXTS: How to tackle a text: 1. Read the text for a general idea. (Reading for gist) 2. Underline the key words. 3. Read the text more attentively. (Reading for details) 4. Summarize the text(50-75 words) 5. Comment upon the text (Express your opinions about the text Give examples / quotations from the text and sustainable arguments. 6. Make a comparison between this text and another text / a film / a book or your life experience. Text 1 “Elaine. Oh, I won’t think of Elaine ! Indeed I can’t, because when I try to, a terrible weight settles on my chest, as if I’d swallowed something impossible to digest, a lump of undercooked potato or a half-boiled egg. Actually, Elaine is rather like both those things. Her skin is white and floury and sort of pulpy, like a fruit that’s been sitting in the bowl too long and ought to be thrown away. I’m sure that inside she must be going soft and nasty.... But on the surface there’s lots of red lipstick and nail polish and blue eye shadow. She thinks these things make her look young I’ve heard her say so - “Of course always having looked young for my age...” I don’t know why she thinks she needs to look young. She isn’t, and she’s probably going to marry Daddy (yes, yes, I do know that, though I’m not supposed to) and he’s not young either. So why should she need to pretend?

Liliana Huzdup


I don’t wear lipstick or nail polish - I mean, who does these days? – and Elaine seems to resent that. She’s always going on about my clothes and my hair and what a sight I look, as if I were about ten, as if she had the right to. I wish someone would tell her that it’s rude to go on like that, with anybody. I wish I could...... I can’t .......” (“Different” written by Gillian Tindall)

The analysis of the text: It’s a fragment from the novel “Different” written by Gillian Tindall. It’s a first person narrative (The narrator is a character “ Ok, I won’t think of Elaine ....” which implies subjectivity. I. Key words Impossible to digest soft, nasty, red lipstick, eye shadow, to look young II. The idea of the text: The author describes her step mother to be, Elaine. III. Summary: Gillian dislikes Elaine completely. She hates her look, the fact the she wears make-up, her attempts to look younger than she is and her “rude” way of intruding in the girl’s life But Elaine is going to marry her father and Gillian is aware of the fact that they should have a good relationship. In Gillian’s opinion this means” no intrusion” in her life.


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IV. Comments : Gillian can’t stand Elaine: “ a terrible weight on my chest as if I’d swallowed something impossible to digest, a lump of undercooked potato or a half-boiled egg.” She begins with a physical description criticizing her skin: “ her skin is white and floury and sort of pulpy, like a fruit that’s being sitting in the bowl too long “Naturally the girl doesn’t approve Elaine. She thinks she is trying to be false by hiding her real age under the mask of make-up. “Why does she need to look young? She isn’t ”Gillian hates Elaine because she is too intruding. Gillian doesn’t like wearing make-up and her style of dressing seems too different from Elaine’s and she doesn’t like to be bothered about it. She considers this “rude”. Maybe she is too tough and judges Elaine because she believes this woman wants to take her mother’s place. Elaine doesn’t seem to be the kind of woman Gillian would like for a step-mother or maybe she is not prepared to accept any woman beside her father. Elaine’s attempts to advise Gillian might prove her real wish to get closer and to get on well with her step daughter but she hasn’t found the proper means to do that. V. Comparison In real life this situation is often met : teenage girl/boy doesn’t like step mother/step father to be . Luca’s mother was divorced and she was dating another man. She introduced John, her fiancé to her teenage boy, Luca. From the first moment Luca saw John, he couldn’t stand him, He didn’t like his polite way of speaking, his ellegance, his fake smile. John

Liliana Huzdup


was not al all like his father but obviously he was trying to get close to Luca. The boy was annoyed and everything he wished was to be left alone, not to be forced to accept another man taking his father’s place. Wh - questions: Build the questions to which the underlined words are the answers: “Elaine Oh, I won’t think of Elaine! Indeed I can’t, because when I try to, a terrible weight settles on my chest, as if I’d swallowed something impossible to digest, a lump of undercooked potato or a half-boiled egg Actually, Elaine is rather like both those things. Her skin is white and floury and sort of pulpy, like a fruit that’s been sitting in the bowl too long and ought to be thrown away. I’m sure that inside she must be going soft and nasty...But on the surface there’s lots of red lipstick and nail polish and blue eye shadow. She thinks these things make her look young: I’ve heard her say so - “Of course always having looked young for my age...” I don’t know why she thinks she needs to look young. She isn’t, and she’s probably going to marry Daddy (yes, yes, I do know that, though I’m not supposed to) and he’s not young either. So why should she need to pretend? I don’t wear lipstick or nail polish - I mean, who does these days? -and Elaine seems to resent that. She’s always going on about my clothes and my hair and what a sight I look, as if I were about ten, as if she had the right to. I wish someone would tell her that it’s rude to go on like that, with anybody. I wish I could ..... I can’t .......”


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Solution : Where has the fruit been sitting too long? In the bowl. What does she need? To look young. Whom is she going to marry? Daddy. Who seems to resent that? Elaine. Text 2 “ June and Malcolm Harding spent their life savings on their first home and thought they were set for life. But just over a year later, June handed the keys back to the estate agent. Since then they’ve also sold most of their furniture. All to give their daughter Kelly the chance to become a world champion ice-skater. What started as a way to stop Kelly being bored in the summer holiday has become the focus of all their lives. She won her first competition after 10 weeks of skating lessons. Soon after, Kelly’s coach left Britain for Canada and her parting words changed the Hardings’ lives forever. “Find the money to keep Kelly on ice”, she urged. “She’ll go all the way to the top”. From then on, there was no question - whatever it cost to make Kelly a winner, they’d find a way. June has her own reasons for wanting Kelly, her daughter, to become a skating star. “I started skating when I was ten “, June said. “I saved all the money I could for lessons by doing errands for neighbours. But Mum and Dad were poor and when Mum saved to buy me boots, Dad said that was it. I never skated again. I wasn’t going to let that happen to Kelly. “ Kelly, now seventeen, was placed first in the last year’s junior championship and has won nearly thirty competitions so far. “ I know I’m very lucky”, she admits. “ Mum and Dad have given up their own lives just for me and I’m determined not to let them down”.

Liliana Huzdup

Key words

Main idea





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Wh - questions Build questions to which the underlined words are the answers: “ June and Malcolm Harding spent their life savings on their first home and thought they were set for life. But just over a year later, June handed the keys back to the estate agent. Since then they’ve also sold most of their furniture. All to give their daughter Kelly the chance to become a world champion ice-skater. What started as a way to stop Kelly being bored in the summer holiday has become the focus of all their lives. She won her first competition after 10 weeks of skating lessons. Soon after, Kelly’s coach left Britain for Canada and her parting words changed the Hardings’ lives forever. “Find the money to keep Kelly on ice”, she urged. “She’ll go all that way to the top”. From then on, there was

Liliana Huzdup


no question - whatever it cost to make Kelly a winner, they’d find a way. June has her own reasons for wanting Kelly, her daughter, to become a skating star. “I started skating when I was ten “, June said. “I saved all the money I could for lessons by doing errands for neighbours But Mum and Dad were poor and when Mum saved to buy me boots, Dad said that was it. I never skated again. I wasn’t going to let that happen to Kelly. “ Kelly, now seventeen, was placed first in the last year’s junior championship and has won nearly thirty competitions so far. “ I know I’m very lucky”, she admits. “ Mum and Dad have given up their own lives just for me and I’m determined not to let them down”.

II.THE WRITTEN EXAM: A. THE NARRATIVE ESSAY It presents a series of events in a chronological order, connected between them and based on the writer’s experience or imagination. Plan Introduction Main body Conclusion

(place, time, characters, atmosphere) - the events narrated in a clear and logical way - the end of the story - references to people’s reactions, feelings

Devices  Vivid

descriptions of the scenes, “spicy” incidents are needed to keep the reader’s interest to make the story “catchy”  The “flashback” method. The story must begin with an awkward situation, then we must “sprinkle” it with “flashbacks” which help us understand how we get into it and finally a return to present where we should draw a conclusion (P.S Morell) Tips  The

most interesting part of the story should come at the end! In this way the reader will feel “ the suspense”.

Liliana Huzdup  Make


out a plan (or a draft) . While writing, you could alter it or even cut some parts of it.  Try to have a logical link between paragraphs.  Avoid the unimportant details and keep a balance between the length of the paragraph and its content.  Avoid personal statements such as: ”I don’t like this subject ...” or “ In my opinion this is a stupid thing ...”  Use Past Continuous, Past Simple and Past Perfect to narrate the events.  Use linking words such as before, after, then, later, until, finally.  You could write the essay using either the first person singular (I) or the third person singular (he / she)  Try to read your essay again to correct the grammar or word order mistakes or to avoid repetitions. Title: The woman on the rail Main event: At midday a deaf woman picks flowers near some rails in a desert place The woman on the rail

Plan Before the event 1. Midday: rails hot - silence - nobody around 2. Woman on the rails. The train approaching from behind. She is not disturbed.


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3. Someone far away sees her. He shouts - No answer. 4. Woman seems to stop. Man running towards her. The event 1. The train is close to the woman. The mechanic slows down but he can’t stop. He sounds the horn .The man waves. He throws a ball. The woman goes to catch it. She walks away from the rails. She is saved. The train passes. After the event The man tries to speak to the woman. She is deaf. They communicate through signs. The woman thanks him.

It was a hot summer day. The place seemed to be deserted: no houses, no people around just a field with colored flowers and rails. A young woman was walking around picking flowers. She was caught by her activity so deeply that she didn’t notice she had approached the rails. She found her favourite flowers, poppies, there. She sat down and picked them up gathering them in a huge bunch. At a certain moment a whistling was heard, sign that a train was coming but the woman didn’t move. Far away you could see the silhouette of a man approaching. The woman went on picking flowers without suspecting that the train was coming from the opposite direction and that she was in danger. The man noticed it and started running towards her. He tried to draw her attention shouting. But she could not see him as he was approaching from behind. He was desperate. The train was

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almost near her, the mechanic sounded the horn, he slowed down but he couldn’t stop the engine, it was a question of a few moments....and suddenly the man had an idea! He threw he ball he had in his hands as far as he could. The woman saw the ball and crawled to catch it and ... at that very moment the train’s wheels touched the rails where the woman had sat. She was saved! She turned round, holding the ball. She saw a man behind her, and the train going slowly away and her flowers smashed on the rail and at that moment she understood everything. She looked up with her eyes full of tears and gratitude. She bowed her head and joined her hand just like in a prayer. It was her way of thanking the man for having saved her life as she could not speak or hear. The man was astonished. He hugged her. Now he understood why she couldn’t hear either the whistling, the sound of the horn or his shouts. Blessed be the moment when he thought of throwing the ball! Finally he took the woman’s hand and they walked to the nearest village together.

B. THE DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY Structure Introduction

place, time, main characters

Main body

description of main elements


the writer’s opinions / feelings

Plan Describing persons

Describing places

Describing events

Introduction - who the person is - where and when you met her / him -the reason for choosing her / him

-the name and location of the place. - the reasons for choosing it.

-the name and the type of the event -time and place -the reasons for choosing it

Main body

-general impression of the place. -particular views.

-the preparations for the event.(before) - the event itself (during)

-physical and moral portrait -behaviour (examples of situations) -hobbies, -personal achievements

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-your opinions/ -your opinions/ Peoples’ feelings feelings opinions (after)

Devices  The

roving report: It consists of a constant shift of interest from general to particular from the whole scene to details . You should use sounds, views, colors, smells, movements to achieve this effect.  The contrast: You should use as many contrasting words as possible: new / old, night / day, actual / ideal, to create variation.  The unusual or fantastic: You should seek beauty in common places or things, you should notice strange persons or objects, a weird atmosphere. All these create mystery, surprise. Tips 

It is necessary to make out a plan, writing down a few ideas under each heading.  When planning the essay, you should think of a central idea and everything you describe will be related to it.  Each aspect of the description should be presented in a separate paragraph.  In the first paragraph you should deal with the subject in general and in the rest of the paragraphs you will bring details. Title: A night out in a foreign city Central idea: A night out in an unknown city can become a pleasant adventure.


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A night out in a foreign city

Plan Introduction An autumn day in S.., Decision to spend the evening out. Main body

Arrival at the Square: people / stage / singers / actors / artists / craftsmen Incident : the potter wrote Angela’s name on the mug. Leave square - Different atmosphere, park, silence, roman The return:


After midnight: Arrival at the hotel. Surprise that getting lost in a foreign city can be a pleasant adventure.

It was a beautiful autumn day. Richard and Angela were visiting S.., a town in Transylvania. They decided to have a walk in the town to admire the beauties and to take part in The September Fest. They arrived at the Central Square and they stopped in the middle of the crowd, gathered around the stage. There were young people, teenagers and children, clapping their hands holding lights and balloons and waiting for their favourite pop band to perform. There was even a boy disguised in one of the pop stars, wearing identical clothes and shouting his name. Backstage there was a dumb show performed by some art students. They were also warmly applauded by the audience. Richard and Angela found all this fascinating. A little further from the stage they could see “ a flames show “ : some amateur artists created special effects which looked like real flames ; if you were brave you could take part in

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the show. Richard volunteered. He had the sensation of being surrounded by fire from all sides, first by calm, friendly flames then little by little they turned into strong violent, consuming flames. In the end he saw some romantic flames in a fireplace. It was a unique experience. Later they went to visit the ”Craftsmen exhibition”. There they could admire hand made pottery, clay statues, icons and crystal jewellery. The craftsmen invited them to see how they created these objects. Angela saw a woman sitting down around a potter’s wheel, her hands dipped in clay, shaping a mug .She wrote Angela’s name on it and said :”for you ”Angela was speechless with emotion. She thanked the woman with tears in her eyes. After that, they left the crowded and noisy square for a quiet place : the park. It was a deep silence and they could hear the purling of the water spring. They held each other ‘s hand losing track of time. Later, after midnight, they went back to the hotel In the morning, sitting in their room near a cup of Turkish coffee, Richard and Angela agreed that it was a pleasant adventure to get lost in a Romanian city.

C. THE ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY It is an essay concerned with ideas and the writer is required to deal with a certain topic expressing opposing points of view (in favour / against) Types of argumentative essays 

for and against : both sides are discussed with proper reasons  argumentative opinion : different points of view are expressed, each of them being supported by reasons / examples The opinion essay:

Plan: Introduction The topic is clearly stated, the main sides are introduced. Main body Each side presents its points of view and arguments / examples (no personal commitment of the author) Conclusion A balanced consideration of the writer. (the writer’s opinion may be included here) Devices  Illustration,

examples : They are needed so that the abstract idea could become clear.

Liliana Huzdup  Contrast:


It is necessary to underline the differences between

the sides.  Humour: It is welcome to show the writer’s detachment. Tips  Achieving

the task successfully depends on how well you use your knowledge.  When referring to fact, you need accuracy. Don’t invent facts to prove an idea.  It’s better to begin by considering the opposite side in order to avoid possible objections.  Avoid taking sides. However if you want to make your point of view known you may express it in the conclusion indirectly. Every man is the architect of his own future

Plan Ideas - free will(choice between good and evil) destiny (karma)fatalists: what’s meant to happen will happen - architect: imagination, creativity, freedom of choice / the future can be shaped - without an architect a building can’t be achieved(oneness)

Plan Introduction: Man’s role in building his future is decisive. Main body: Philosophy and free will. Theology has the same view.



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Plan (There is a destiny but every person has a free choice to change it). Fatalists believe that nothing could be changed. Conclusion: Every thought and every action is a “brick” used to build our future.

Man’s role in building his future has been a matter of debate for philosophers and theologians. A multitude of hypothesis have been put forward such as “ the blind fate “ or “ the free will “, but all of them led to the same conclusion: it is man who takes the final decision, otherwise said future lies in his hands. The idea of “free will” is supported by some philosophers. Throughout his life man faces different situations and is offered the possibility to choose. Making his choices conscientiously, he becomes responsible for his deeds. Romeo and Juliet from Shakespeare’s tragedy are the best illustration of “free will”. Theologians have the same view regarding this matter. God created man and gave him the liberty to choose between Good and Evil. There is a destiny for each person, which means that everyone has a special mission here on Earth and we are allowed to choose the way to achieve it. So destiny implies free will and must not be mistaken with fate. In contrast, fatalists believe everything is set up and man has no power to oppose the events. According to this view, Tess of the

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D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy’s character is considered a victim of her fate; she is not responsible for her gesture, she is believed to have followed her instinct. The flaw of this theory consists in the fact that they neglect man’s potential. If man couldn’t influence his future, his abilities to think and feel would be useless. Using his creativity the man-architect builds his future out of thoughts and actions.

D. THE REFLECTIVE ESSAY “It is an exercise in contemplation on any given subject “ (G. Alexander) The reflexive essays are of two types : 1. Descriptive - reflective - It contains a description and your conclusions, personal views and feelings on the topic ex. Cruelty to animals 2. Abstract - reflective - It contains a metaphorical interpretation of the topic . It is important to reason rather than to describe your feelings. ex. On biting off more than you can chew.

Plan Introduction - All the aspects of the subject in a concentrated form. - A reference to a quotation, saying, rhetorical question Main body - Each idea stated in the introduction should bedevelopped in one paragraph. - A diversity of perspectives should be included (for each argument) - The ideas should evolve from general ones to individual ones.

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- The writer’s opinion and a balanced consideration on the topic. - All the ideas from the introduction


Description (especially in descriptive reflective essays). Your comments should be based on what you describe.  Illustration / examples (especially in abstract reflective essays). Try to prove your ideas by giving examples.  Contrast It gives variety to the essay and it makes it more interesting  Humor Irony, satire and parody should be part of a reflective essay in order to amuse the reader and to offer him a different perspective on things. Suggestions: 

Build a two columns plan : in the left column (Ideas) write down the ideas in the order in which they come to your mind and in the right column write the actual plan : Introduction, Main Body, Conclusion.

Tips : 1. It is absolutely necessary to make up a plan.While writing you can change it. 2. .When you interpret the subject, stick to one approach ; either descriptive or abstract. Don’t mix them. Pay attention to the task! 3. Avoid the so called “pseudo-historical” approach (This means


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writing about the “history” of the subject from the earliest times to the present. 4. Your essay must have unity, so that if you take a part of it, it would spoil the effect on the whole. 5. Each paragraph is a unit of thought and it deals with an aspect of the topic 6. A reflective essay should be written in the third person singular.

The reflexive abstract essay Lost opportunities

Plan Ideas


- Opportunity = chance to do something, situation in which it is easy for you to do something. - Lost / missed opportunity - a chance you didn’t use - Opportunities suppose a risk. - Fear hinders you to take advantage of them. - Regret has no place. (Don’t cry over spilt milk) - Lost opportunities stimulate progress(They can help you to use a better opportunity in the future)

Introduction: Lost opportunities – a phrase we all are familiar with. Main body: Perspectives: - Financial : occasions to make money; they suppose a risk. Lost opportunities mean fear of risk, lack of information. - Emotional: possibilities to build a relationship; they suppose openness, sincerity, unconditional love. Causes of failure: selfishness, fear.

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Plan - Spiritual: opportunities appear when you are ready. - The impact of the lost opportunities on your soul. - Regret has no point. Any failure can be turned into a success. Conclusion: No matter how many opportunities you have missed, what really matters is to be willing to learn and move on, be open in the future.

“Lost opportunities” is a phrase we all are familiar with, may they refer to money, relationships or evolution. As far as financial opportunities are concerned, they come out in everyone’s life. The only thing you should do is to take advantage of the chance to make money. If you are not ready to risk then you miss them. ”The loyal employer”, often met in Dickens’s novels, is the best illustration of the person who missed all financial opportunities and remained poor all his life. But still the emotional opportunities are the most common. They imply the possibility to build a suitable relationship. But if you are not ready to give unconditional love and in the same time open to receive it you can miss the opportunities. Scarlet O’Hara, a well known American fictional character is famous for her lost opportunities regarding Rhett Butler.


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From the psychological point of view, every missed opportunity leaves a trace of regret behind. However people finally understand that regrets are useless and they hinder evolution. The English have a proverb: ” Don’t cry over spilt milk.”. Lost opportunities must not break our wings but on condition that we should assume them and try to learn to be open and take the risk. Therefore lost opportunities should teach us valuable lessons and help us to turn failure into success in the future.

III. POSSIBLE TITLES OF ESSAYS: Narrative Holiday adventure Shipwreck Pages from a diary A story called “ The Terrible Twins” An imaginary journey in a balloon Your most embarrassing experience If I were Prime Minister The time I was ill A trip by boat / ship

Descriptive A snowy landscape My best friend Busy market place The season I like best A day by the sea The house of the future Myself in twenty years’ time An ideal schoolteacher A fashion show A thunderstorm My parents


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Reflective Youth and old age Lost opportunities Television and education Modern art Witches and witchcraft Intuition Deserts New Year’s Eve Materialism Peace of mind On living to be a hundred On being lazy

Argumentative You can never have enough money.(Argue in favour or against) Should we enjoy having more leisure? Every man is the architect of his own future. (Argue in favour of this statement) Good fences make good neighbours (Robert Frost) Prevention is better than cure. Should books, plays, films be subjected to censorship? You cannot bully Nature.( Argue in favour of this statement.) Is it a truly successful marriage an attainable ideal? Do we ever learn from our mistakes?

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Essay and letter writing, Longman 1993.

Morell, P. S.

Secondary Certificate English, Thomas Nelson Ltd, 1983

Bantas, A; Clontea, V

Manual de literature engleza si Americana, Editura Teora, 1996.

Bell, J; Gower, R.

Upper Intermediate Matters, Students’ Book, Longman, 1996.

Parlog, Hortensia

Sinteze ºi exerciþii de limba ºi literatura englezã pentru examenele de bacalaureat ºi admitere, Amarcord,1996.

Maisonnave, J

Préparation au baccalaureat écrit et oral, Hatier, Paris,1991

Swan, Michael

Practical English Usage, International Student’s Edition, Oxford University Press,1996.

Hornby, A S

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, Oxford University Press, 1995.

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