Section B Task – New Exam Paper [AQA]

As preparation for the new exam coming in June, one of my students and I took a look at the new sample materials on the AQA website and there, in all its glory, was the new style of Section B task, an either/or task rather than the usual two tasks as before. In the past, the first task has been worth 16 marks and the final one worth 24 [total of 40 marks] but now, there is just a single task worth 40 marks [24 for the piece and 16 for SPAG – spelling, punctuation and grammar].

The task on the exam paper read as: Write about a place that is severely affected by bad weather [or something like that]. This is his response, done in two one hour sessions. See how many things you can spot in this…


Castleton was always such a bright, beautiful and picturesque place. It was located in the heart of the North Yorkshire Dales, south east of Whitby. It had a population of 525, before the decision was made to build a residential care home.

It was a lovely, scorching, summer’s day, a typically normal day, until the colossal, grey clouds came rumbling and rolling in over the hills. Then the rain started bouncing down heavily, which was fairly unfamiliar for this small village but nobody thought anything of it and carried on with their day. But, as it gradually started getting worse, farmers were forced to pack up and go home and the small village turned into a ghost town; not a soul in sight.

The torrential rain was getting worse by the minute, floods were starting to form in the valley which was beginning to flood. People started to panic as it worsened, when all of a sudden, disaster struck; the power in the small village became faulty, causing power cuts to begin in every home, one after another. As the floods developed into torrents of water being spread everywhere, people started fearing for the people in the new care home that had just been built. As there was no power at that time, the elderly people were worrying, not being able to see much or see a way to get out of their problem.

The care home, which was located just at the bottom of two hills, was now in danger as the rain came running down the valleys, directly into it. The home, as well as the village, had never seen weather like this before. But there was nothing anyone could do with the power loss. The rain had deteriorated that much that it had started to wear away at the hillsides; mud was starting to fall down towards the little village. In this day and age, another Aberfan was unthinkable, surely, but the brute power and force of the water as it gathered with the silt and the soil, transformed it into a mire of dirt and decay.

The villagers all knew that a landslide begins to fall downwards and if it did here, then the new care home would soon become buried. The locals sat there in their homes, looking out at the sheer ferocity of the rain water in total fear as they realised just how helpless and hopeless a situation it had become. In just over an hour, the peace and beauty of their village had been turned into a catastrophe of clay and mud; they all knew that they could not do anything.

Then, all of a sudden, a gigantic piece of granite stone began rolling down the hill, sliding its fearful, frightening way from the top of the brow, directly towards the care home. Stunned villagers who were still out in the rain watched in amazement, some videoing the event as it happened, not thinking of their own safety. And when the final thing happened, they all saw and marvelled at the power and intensity of nature as the care home vanished under an avalanche of mud.

Would there be any survivors of this tragedy? Only time would tell.


Well done EH.