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Here’s an extract paper that I made for AQA GCSE Language Paper 2 (Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives). The texts are both nonfiction — practical, informative writing and they are tied together by the common theme of explorers and daring adventures. I made the questions myself, closely based on the wording of the official AQA exam papers.

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Extracts from Captain Scott’s Diary

Captain Robert Falcon Scott (1868–1912) was a famous Royal Navy officer and explorer. He and his four companions went on Scott’s second expedition to the Antarctic; they reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, just one month after their rival Norwegian party, led by Roald Amundsen. They realised that they had been beaten and tried to make it back to their base camp 700 miles away, but the journey back was full of misfortunes and tragically all of the men died, the last two (Scott and one other) by being caught in a blizzard.

Scott and his companions in the Antarctic

Tuesday, August 29th, 1911 I find that the card of the sunshine recorder showed an hour and a half’s burn yesterday and was very faintly marked on Saturday; already, therefore, the sun has given us warmth, even if it can only be measured instrumentally.

Last night Meares told us of his adventures in and about Lolo land, a wild Central Asian country … He had no pictures and very makeshift maps, yet he held us really entranced for nearly two hours by the sheer interest of his adventures. The spirit of the wanderer is in Meares’ blood: he has no happiness but in the wild places of the earth. I have never met so extreme a type. Even now he is looking forward to getting away by himself to Hut Point, tired already of our scant measure of civilisation.


We are all adventurers here, I suppose, and wild doings in wild countries appeal to us as nothing else could do. It is good to know that there remain wild corners of this dreadfully civilised world.

We have had a bright fine day.

Wednesday, January 17 1912— Camp 69. T. -22 degrees at start. Night -21 degrees. The Pole. Yes, but under very different circumstances from those expected.

We have had a horrible day — add to our disappointment a head wind 4 to 5, with a temperature -22 degrees, and companions labouring on with cold feet and hands.

We started at 7.30, none of us having slept much after the shock of our discovery. We followed the Norwegian sledge tracks for some way; as far as we make out there are only two men. In about three miles we passed two small cairns.

Then the weather overcast, and the tracks being increasingly drifted up and obviously going too far to the West, we decided to make straight for the Pole according to our calculations.

At 12.30 Evans had such cold hands we camped for lunch — an excellent ‘week-end one.’ …To-night little Bowers is laying himself out to get sights in terrible difficult circumstances; the wind is blowing hard, T. — 21 degrees, and there is that curious damp, cold feeling in the air which chills one to the bone in no time. We have been descending again, I think, but there looks to be a rise ahead; otherwise there is very little that is different from the awful monotony of past days. Great God! this is an awful place and terrible enough for us to have laboured to it without the reward of priority. Well, it is something to have got here, and the wind may be our friend to-morrow. …Now for the run home and a desperate struggle. I wonder if we can do it.

Friday, March 16 or Saturday 17 1912— Lost track of dates, but think the last correct. Tragedy all along the line. At lunch, the day before yesterday, poor Titus Oates said he couldn’t go on; he proposed we should leave him in his sleeping-bag. That we could not do, and we induced him t. In spite of its awful nature for him he struggled on and we made a few miles. At night he was worse and we knew the end had come.

Should this be found I want these facts recorded. Oates’ last thoughts were of his Mother, but immediately before he took pride in thinking that his regiment would be pleased with the bold way in which he met his death. We can testify to his bravery.

He has borne intense suffering for weeks without complaint, and to the very last was able and willing to discuss outside subjects. He did not — would not — give up hope till the very end. He was a brave soul. This was the end. He slept through the night before last, hoping not to wake; but he woke in the morning — yesterday. It was blowing a blizzard. He said, ‘I am just going outside and may be some time.’ He went out into the blizzard and we have not seen him since.”


  1. Read again the first part of Source A, up until the line ‘We have had a bright fine day.’

Choose four statements below which are TRUE.

Choose a maximum of four statements.

  • Scott has no way of measuring the sunlight hours.
  • Meares is a boring person.
  • Scott admires Meares’ courage and wild spirit.
  • Meares likes to be alone, away from other people.
  • Scott is in a bad mood at this point in the journey.
  • Scott is happy because the hours of daylight are getting longer.
  • Meares has accurate and detailed maps of Lolo land to show the others.
  • Scott and Meares both feel that the wild parts of the world are more interesting than the civilised parts.

(4 marks)

2. Write a summary of the main emotions that Scott experiences in the extract. Use quotations and analysis to justify your response.

(8 marks)

3. How does Scott use language to try and inform his readers about the Antarctic? Use PEE paragraphs to justify your response.

(12 marks)

Thanks for reading! If you need more help with GCSE English Language, you can take a look at our full courses here.

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