Do you feel Extended Response to Reading Essays for IGCSE is tricky? From our decade-long experience of marking papers, we have observed that most IGCSE students fail to follow the proper format of the given text type. Also, most students pay more attention to their writing. They tend to write beautifully, but the main focus that the question asks for, which is the reading, is missing. Students fail to add relevant points from the text to support their opinions, and that is when they lose their marks. With these insights we’ve gained, we’re sharing some concrete pointers that can help you understand the basics of the ERR and score higher.

What is the Extended Response to Reading Essays for IGCSE?

This question involves 15 marks for reading and 10 marks for writing. Predominantly it is a reading question, it has three bullet points that need to be covered equally. The student is expected to write 250-300 words, responding to one of the different types of texts that include-

  • Letter
  • Report
  • Journal
  • Speech
  • Interview
  • Article. 
Image shows the question paper for 0500 IGCSE English reading section

Firstly, you need to clearly state the things that are happening. This shows that you understand the appropriate events in the text. Next, you should understand the implicit meaning and attitude, something that is not probably mentioned in the text, and you need to figure out, like the tone or emotions and what might happen next or predict the next move. Finally, you need to analyze, evaluate, and develop. This is the important part, you are expected to understand the text you read, its implicit and explicit meaning and to add your ideas which are sensible with appropriate support from the text.

Image shows writing section of IGCSE english language extended response to reading

The above objectives expect you to think about what are the character’s thoughts in the text. For instance, imagine how the character might be feeling at that time. Second, organizing and paraphrasing in a way that brings out the emotional response from your reader. Third, adding interesting vocabulary that the character might use, using different types of sentences, and not repeating the same sentence type again and again. Fourth, adjust the tone of your writing according to the context. And last, having accuracy in spelling punctuation, and grammar.

No matter what the text type is, here is a general structure that can be used. Five simple paragraphs, a short introduction, and conclusion, and equally sized body paragraphs (3 bullet points).

Text type

1. Letter (Informal)

It is important to know that while writing an informal letter you need to keep it catchy by style and not forget that it is an English paper, which means avoiding slang languages and short abbreviations. You can use features such as:

  • Rhetorical question
  • Emotive Language
  • Idioms
  • Colloquial Language
  • Humor

2. Letter (Formal)

A formal letter will have a completely different register, tone, and vocabulary will be formal. Here you will need to use more complex sentence structure. Some more features that you can include are:

  • Formal Language
  • Connectives
  • Facts & Statistics
  • Opinions.

3. Report

A newspaper report always has a catchy title, it’s a part of the presentational feature. It can be a shocking sentence or a rhetorical question for the title. The word report itself shows that it needs to be written in a formal language. But some of the other features can be:

  • 5 Ws (Who, What, Where, When and Why)
  • 3rd Person / Past Tense
  • Embedded Clauses
  • Direct Speech/Indirect Speech.

4. Journal

Journals should be interesting as they express your thoughts and feelings. The best part of a Journal is that you are the reader/audience, this allows you to be creative in your language. Some of the language features that you can use here are:

  • Rhetorical questions
  • Emotive Language
  • Anecdotes
  • Humor
  • Idioms
  • Colloquial Language.

5. Speech

While writing speeches you need to think about the audience and purpose, your tone/ voice and style will be reflected through your language. Some of the Language features that you could use are:

  • Rhetorical questions
  • Hypophora
  • Anecdotes
  • Direct Address
  • Repetition
  • Emotive Language
  • Imperatives

6. Interview

Writing an interview might seem easy, however, creating engaging and (for the most part) convincing dialogue can be challenging. Again, creating a proper tone/voice for the character from the text is the key. It is important to understand the character and create a convincing tone, apart from that some of the other features that you can use are:

  • Rhetorical questions
  • Emotive Language
  • Anecdotes
  • Humor
  • Idioms
  • Colloquial Language.

7. Article

While writing an article, it is important to get the audience and the article correct. This part is mostly quite informal, some features that you can use include:

  • Chatty language
  • Rhetorical questions
  • Facts Statistics
  • Opinions
  • Repetition


The points discussed above should give the reader a fair understanding of what Extended Response to Reading is. While doing the question, you need to remember that it is important to focus on reading and the delivery of your answer depends on your understanding of the text. If you are someone struggling to write the IGCSE 0500 Q3, we are here to help you. At Young Scholarz, we help students, such as yourself, master the exam techniques for the ERR essay.