CXC needs to show better examples and stop misguiding candidates.

Submitted by guest (not verified) on 13 May 2011 - 1:22pm

CXC stated that your story must not exceed 400-450 words, but yet, these story does. Was these story given full marks? If they were, then CXC, shame on you, you’re setting a bad example for candidates. These stories are some good stories, no doubt about that. But should this story or any other story which had violated the rules of the exam be awarded best story? I think not. I suggest that you show us one that does or you extend the word limit for short stories.

Out of 10 short stories and CXC cannot show us an example of a good short story that fits their criteria.

Is it that CXC is conceding or stating that an excellent story cannot be accomplished with just 400-450 words? If not, then show us one that does. I suggest, this year perhaps?

Most time when student fail these exams and, I’m sure that persons on this site who had sit the exam already and failed will definitely agree with me, that it’s not because they didn’t practice or study but because their under the pressure of writing a good story that they think you the makers would love, In just 400-450 words.

Remember, students are under great pressure when they are given task such as this to accomplish. They are under the burden of their parents. And most time parents go bizarre when their child fails and in most cases the child is severely punished. I for example, have witness where a girl hand been physically abused by her father because she only pasted four exams out of eight. They are under numerous amount of pressure. It is a known fact and it has been scientifically tested and proven that when the brain goes under a burden of stress it tends to lose consciousness. So how can someone give of his best when he or she is not in total control?

Again I ask, CXC, is it a fact that an excellent story cannot be written with all the elements that are supposed to be in a story and it should be vividly composed and structured, cannot be written in just 400-450 words? We candidates need to know. We are the one spending. It’s our future being targeted not yours.

CXC stop misleading and misguiding the candidates.


admin 13 May 2011 - 5:08pm

Truthfully, I cannot disagree with anything you have said. All your points are valid and you have made a compelling case.

You are right that since 2001 CXC has not given the CXC short story award to any stories that met the 400-450 word criteria that they themselves set for the short story question on the English A exam. Why? I do not know.

You might be right that it is not possible to write a good short story with all the elements in 400-450 words. And, as you say, if that is not possible, then CXC should change their criteria and extend the number of words that you can write for the short story question.

I know it is very confusing. CXC says that if you write beyond the number of words given for the summary question in the English A exam, you will lose marks. So you don't write beyond the number of words given. But if you follow their advice for the short story question you could very well lose marks since they are giving the short story award to people who break the rules and write beyond 400-450 words, yet write very good short stories.

Yeah, "dat kinda rough". Don't know what to tell you. Really don't know.

Businessman (not verified) 13 May 2011 - 6:30pm

Okay, point taken.

What I didn’t know was that this site had boundaries when it comes to CXC. I had no clue that you had no say on how the papers are set neither did I know that this site wasn’t obligated to any explanation from CXC officials which I think is bizarre.

However, I must applaud you guys for your effort and dedication and the work you put in for this site. Honestly, if it wasn’t for this site, I personally wouldn’t get a grade two in math when I sit the exam in grade 10. The advice and the wide variety of things you guys put in place for students so they could practice and get familiar with the exam before actually siting it, is nothing more than marvelous.

I have and will continue to recommend this site to others.

G. Thomas (not verified) 14 May 2011 - 10:53pm

I read Businessman's comments about the length of the sample stories and I sensed a great deal of frustration. I thought I would offer my two cents worth on the issue.

I am hesitant to say that these students violated the rules of the exam by writing long stories. The instructions for Section 3 (story and description) are not as strict as those of Section 1 (summary). Students are asked to stick to a strict word limit for the summary and that makes sense, because this section is testing the students' ability to condense information. However, the instructions for Section 3 are that students are to write approximately 400 to 450 words. This means that students are not expected to count the words as they are asked to do for the summary. The word limit in Section 3, to me, acts as a guide for the average number of words that the average student should be able to write in the suggested forty five minutes. However, there will be exceptional students who can write more and who can handle it well.

We have to remember that it isn't so much the length of these stories that caused them to do well, it is the exceptional use of language, the strong ability to weave interesting plots and create dynamic characters. These elements are what all students must practise, and not the length of the story.

Hope this helps.

Love this website by the way! Congrats on a great job!

Thanks! I am glad you like the website and what we are trying to do.

This is a great discussion too! The issue of the number of words for the CXC CSEC English A short story question has come up several times around here. This discussion is so good in fact, it made me wonder: is it possible to write an excellent short story in 400-450 words using CXC essay prompts? (inquiring minds want to know and all that)

So I am thinking, we should have a short story competition here, just for members of the community. Our competition would be to see who could write an excellent short story in only 400-450 words using CXC essay prompts.

How does that sound?

Sounds like a great idea to me. Obviously we can't do that right now, since the CXC English A exam is one day away on Tuesday coming. However, after the CXC exams are complete for this May/June cycle we could work on setting that up. I think that is such a great idea. We would have to see if we can get prizes and such but it would be worth it.

It would be worth it to me to find out if it is possible to write an excellent short story in 400-450 words. Of course, we would have to work out how to mix in the time limit and all that but... anyway, give me some time and I will see what I can come up with.

Kathy-ann Daniel 15 May 2011 - 1:59pm

In reply to by Businessman (not verified)

Hey Businessman,

Thanks for the frank discussion your brought up on the issue of the number of words in the CXC short story question! I enjoyed reading all the responses. And, you gave me a great idea for a project for the community.. thanks again!

I hope that you do well in your CXC exams and that you continue to post in the community.

Finally, thanks for and recommending us to your friends, we appreciate it.

heidi (not verified) 15 May 2011 - 6:34pm
It has from the basics in mathematics to advanced.
Also other subjects

guest (not verified) 16 May 2011 - 12:07am

Why am I unable to access the sample essays? Is it because I'm not a registered user? I also tried becoming a member but this site is not currently open for new users! I really need to access those essays before the English exam (preferably tonight)! Any suggestions???? :'(

Hey Kathy

I think your idea is fantastic :). Yes i'd love if you guys made it possible for us community members to have a short story competition on here ASAP. I'm eager to see if this 400-450 word criteria is really possible.

Anyone planning on taking up the challenge too, remember, the story should not be SLOPPY where looking for excellent short stories.

Hey Kathy

Happy that i could help.This site is interesting and educative. I think students should use it to their advantage-I don't think they would regret it.

What i would like you guys to do also,is to create a medium rather than our blogs, so we community members can post stories that we ourselves have wrote, and make it able for other community members and guest be able to rate your story and can comment on them also, and it doesn't have to be 400-450 words in length but it does have to have a limit;700 would be good.

What you the officials think?

bottle's friend (not verified) 16 May 2011 - 3:11pm

um, i dont get it, i have tried everything i could, if i fail, i will sue yall so plz choops... listen to me it makes no sense to make a useless exam, i mean really, u you work hard for so long, stay up after 3am, and still i have to sit and write this totally stupid, useless,, dumb exam. dont u think that u should just find the total of the marks we have been getting for the past 7 years?... write me back in less than a day, kk...

Kathy-ann Daniel 17 May 2011 - 3:04am

In reply to by Businessman (not verified)

Hi Businessman,

Your ideas are excellent and we will be using them as we develop this new project.
With regard to the number of words, I think we will stick with the numbers that CXC uses so that it will give members the opportunity to practice for CXC requirements, since they are preparing for the CXC exams.

Thanks for the suggestions and I hope that you find the time to participate when it is set up.

Hope your English A exam went well.

Hi Kathy

Sure, i will definitely participate no doubt about it.

As for my English exam i definitely KILL the story. Luckily, the story that i wrote in the exam was one of my many stories that i had already wrote when i was practicing and i had just written it over in the exam, as matter of fact i'm going to post the story in my blog So person's can comment. As for my summary, i think i did fairly well but as for my augmentative essay, the expectation i wanted to meet wasn't fully accomplished. I finished it, but was in a hurry. The invigilator kept saying "15 minutes is left," then in less than a minute she said "5mins is left" It was so irritating and distracting i got so nervous and lost my cool.

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Enter the characters shown in the image.