DSE English – Paper 2 Exam Analysis


YearTopicGenre & RequirementsPopularity (Mean/42)
Sample paperInter-school debating contestReport for school newsletter
• Describe the topic for debate
• How the team performed
• Which team won the competition
• What the prize was
Data unavailable
Practice paper“Nuclear power is the best source of energy for the future”Debate speechData unavailable
2012Recruiting school debating club membersSpeech in the school assembly
• Explain the activities the debating club organizes
• Benefits of being in the club
• Importance in life of being a good debater
8.5% (24.56)
2013People making unreasonable complaintsLetter to the editor
• Describe the situation which some people complained about
• Outline the point of view of the complainants
• Indicate why they are unreasonable
6.3% (22.66)
2014Limited access to school lockersFormal letter to the school Principal
• Persuade her to change the policy on lockers as the chairperson of the SU
34% (18)
2015Land use of undeveloped harbor front areaLetter to the editor
• State the opinion either for or against leaving the area open for public use
• Give three reasons
7.1% (24.69)
2016Parents installing apps on children’s mobile phones that monitor their activitiesLetter to the editor
• State whether you agree with the parents' actions
• Give three reasons
20.6% (22.6)
2017“Watching TV makes us smarter”Debate speech
• Give three reasons
12.0% (21.46)
2018“The policy of reporting students’ class position should be abolished”Debate speech
• Argue either for or against the motion
9% (26.1)
2019“Do social media platforms encourage or stifle public debate?”Argumentative essay
• Choose one side of the argument and state your position
• Give reasons and evidence
9.4% (23.3)
2020Warning labels on foods that are high in sugar, saturated fat and saltArgumentative essay
• Argue either for or against the effectiveness of food warning labels in changing people’s eating habits
20% (24.9)
2021Social media influencersArgumentative essay
• Discuss whether social media influencers are more trustworthy than traditional media advertisements
12% (23.3)
Four-day school week
Letter to the President of the PTA (Parent-Teacher Association)
• State your opinion either for or against a four-day school week
• Give reasons to support your view 


YearTopicGenre & RequirementsPopularity (Mean/42)
Sample paperDisastrous school play performanceReview
• Describe what the play was about
• Explain what went wrong on the night
Data unavailable
Practice paperDrama rehearsalDiary entry
• Describe what happened at the rehearsal
• Whether it was a success
• What you need to improve before the next rehearsal
Data unavailable
2012Incorporating drama into English lessonsForum post
• Explain the (lack of) educational benefits of the use of drama
• Share experience of learning through drama
7.8% (19.14)
2013Betraying best friendDiary entry
• Describe an instance of betrayal
• Make reference to the plot of Julius Caesar
2.7% (15.31)
2014Poor behaviour during a drama performanceFormal email to Drama Club members
• Describe the complaint received
• Explain what behaviour is prohibited/encouraged and reasons
3.9% (12.92)
2015Elderly realizing their dreamsStory
• Describe the elderly realizing their dreams
6.5% (17.78)
2016Studying at HKAPAPersonal email
• Convince parents to support the decision to study at HKAPA instead of another institution
7.3% (19.5)
2017Romantic love and happy marriageEssay
• Define romantic love and happy marriage
• Explain why romantic love is (not) necessary for a happy marriage
1.6% (19.09)
2018Showing video-recordings of live drama performancesMagazine feature article
• Explain why the video-recordings are (not) a good way to attract more people to watch stage plays
2% (18.4)
2019New CinderellaFilm review
• Brief description of the plot
• How the characters are portrayed
• Why the director wanted to make this film
4.3% (20.5)
2020Chinese OperaBlog post
• Describe your experience watching Chinese Opera in the new Xiqu Centre in West Kowloon Cultural District
• Describe the impact it had on you
6% (17.4)
2021A new TV drama series about three generations of a familyFormal letter to the production manager
• Introduce the characters, plot and setting
• Explain why the idea would be popular with viewers
1.5% (16.9)
The hero and the villain
Journal entry
• Reflect on which role you preferred playing
• Explain the reasons 

Poems & Songs

YearTopicGenre & RequirementsPopularity (Mean/42)
Sample paperA poem advertising a restaurantPersonal letter
• Comment on the things you like best about his poem
• What could be improved to make the advertisement more effective
Data unavailable
Practice paperFoul language in songs and freedom of speechLetter to the editor
• Explain why songs which contain foul language do not have a negative influence on society
• Explain how songs are just a means of expressions under freedom of speech
Data unavailable
2012First performance at a music festivalBlog post
• Describe the performance
• How you felt
• The atmosphere
• The things you could have done better
8.8% (16.3)
• Explain how time can slip away if you don’t make good use of it
• Explain how to make good use of time
• Need to refer to the song
4.7% (20.76)
2014Hong Kong Schools Poetry FestivalSchool magazine feature article
• How you prepared for the competition
• What you learned from this experience
3.3% (16.04)
2015Language arts festivalFormal letter to the Central Library
• Suggest two interesting activities
• Explain how these activities would increase students’ interest in learning English
2.5% (15.68)
• Explain how importance it is for us to acknowledge the challenges we face and find ways to cope with them
• Need to use relevant personal examples
• Need to refer to the quote
2.4% (21.7)
2017OpportunitiesBlog post
• Write about one opportunity that you missed
• One opportunity that you took
• Need to refer to the song
3.1% (21.23)
2018Summer poetry workshopLetter of application
• Explain why you are interested in participating in the workshop
• Why you should be selected to take part in this workshop
1% (10.7)
• Discuss what a critic does
• How to give criticism
• Ways to respond to criticism
• Need to refer to the quote
3.7% (23.6)
2020Best New ArtistFeature article in a magazine
• Report on Zoe’s sudden rise to fame
• Report on where the ideas behind her songs came from
5% (24.1)
2021New friends and old friendsEssay
• What is the difference between old and new friendships?
• Are older friendships better than new ones?
4.5% (17.3)
Bio for a musical group
Artist biography
•Background information about the group
•Style of music
•Plans for the future

Popular Culture

YearTopicGenre & RequirementsPopularity (Mean/42)
Sample paperPlanning a special birthday event for one of your parents on a reality showPersonal letter
• Describe the event was organized
• How your parent felt about it being shown on TV
Data unavailable
Practice paperProposing a reality TV show for school TV networkProposal
• Theme and content of the show
• Why this would be popular with students
• How to make it appealing to viewers
Data unavailable
2012Cosmetic surgery and obsession with physical beautyLetter to the editor7.3% (26.28)
2013Popularity of Asian stars in Western countriesArticle for school newspaper
• Reasons for the rise
16.0% (20.78)
2014Stand-up comedy showArticle for school magazine
• Describe the show
• Discuss the challenges performers might face
• How students can benefit from watching it
4.4% (18.92)
2015Fewer people going to cinemas than beforeReport
• Reasons
• Suggestions
5.9% (22.46)
2016Proposing a Youth Festival to showcase youth trends in Hong KongProposal
• Suggest 1 or 2 trends
• Ways to present
3.1% (13.2)
2017Protecting intangible cultural heritage (traditional egg tarts or mahjong)Letter to the editor
• Reasons why we should protect
• Ways to protect
20.1% (19.42)
2018Trend of athleisureArticle for local newspaper
• Reasons for the rise
9% (23.6)
2019Getting information about the latest trends in pop cultureArticle for Young Post
• Sources of information about the latest trends
27.5% (21.1)
2020Hong Kong’s housing estates becoming Instagram spotsEssay
• What attracts Instagrammers to Hong Kong’s housing estates
• How residents feel about this
22% (22.3)
2021The 21-day Gratitude ChallengeBlog post
• Why you accepted this challenge
• What you hoped to achieve
• Reflect on the 21 days and whether taking on this challenge has changed you
11% (24.6)
YouTube channel from a teenage perspective
Article for Teen Magazine
•Why you started this channel
•What you have learned in the process

Short Stories

YearTopicGenre & RequirementsPopularity (Mean/42)
Sample paperChanges in Hong KongPersonal letter
• Describe the changes in Hong Kong
• How you feel about them
Data unavailable
Practice paperWhat makes a good short storySchool magazine article
• Explain why you found the talk interesting
• What you learnt
Data unavailable
2012Poor brother driving an expensive sports carShort story
• Explain how you found out the truth
10.9% (17.9)
2013Vandals hit museumShort story
• Explain why the masterpieces were damaged
3.2% (19.62)
2014Roommate’s sudden departureShort story
• Describe the events that led to your roommate’s sudden departure
• Explain why your roommate suddenly left the hall
6.8% (17.01)
2015Meet the authorFormal email to a teacher
• Explain why you have selected the author
• Suggest activities the author can either lead or help with
2.8% (15.01)
2016Revenge is sweetShort story
• Explain why the protagonist took revenge
4.0% (17.1)
2017WildlifeShort story
• Describe the events leading to a lion climbing up a kitchen stove
5.3% (18.34)
2018Open bird cageShort story
• Describe the events leading to the open bird cage
• Describe the events that take place afterwards
11% (18.7)
2019The New Tortoise and the HareShort story
• Describe the race
• Include the ending that the two characters team up to race against other contestants and win
• Include a message for the story
11.6% (16.7)
2020Disappearing staff in a research stationShort story
• Write the first chapter only of a story based on the scenario
4% (23.6)
2021Scary story about a security guard on duty at nightShort story
• Write a scary story based on four pictures provided: two people in the security room, a security guard falling asleep, alarm ringing, security guard patrolling (in any order)
9% (19)
Story about survival in nature
Short story
•Write a story about a hiker who got caught in a storm while hiking in the mountains

Social Issues

YearTopicGenre & RequirementsPopularity (Mean/42)
Sample paperAbusing petsFormal letter to SPCA
• Show concern
• Give details of any incidents of abuse
• Suggest some measure to ensure the welfare of the pets and say why they are urgent
Data unavailable
Practice paperThe joys of being a teenager in Hong KongSpeech for a conferenceData unavailable
2012Mental healthMagazine feature article
• Describe the friend’s depression
• How he/she overcame it
• Give advice on how to help fight depression
31.4% (24.84)
2013Private school bus service operators not following proper safety proceduresFormal letter to the Bus Operators Association
• Express concerns
• Give three recommendations for how private school bus services can be improved
17.7% (20.92)
2014Filming movies in the city centreLetter to the editor
• Give opinion
• Give three reasons
19.8% (20.74)
2015Sending children to other countries to complete schoolingSchool magazine article
• Examine two reasons for the phenomenon
• Discuss the impact of this on local schools and on children who leave to study overseas
42.9% (22.05)
2016“Hong Kong’s Disappearing Street Life”Essay
• Focus on one aspect of local street life or culture that is fast disappearing
• Suggest why it is worth preserving
5.2% (18.7)
2017Hong Kong NEETsReport
• Explain why the number of NEETs in HK is rising
• Suggest what can be done to help these youths
• Give reasons to support suggestions
39.9% (22.2)
2018Parental intervention in choosing careerLetter of advice for a teen magazine52.3% (22)
2019Hiring international talentsEssay
• Explain some benefits and challenges international talent brings to HK
• Ways to ensure that people from local community are not neglected
28% (24.2)
2020Small independent stationery shops in Hong Kong closingNews report
• Explain the trend
• Discuss whether independent stationery shops can survive
22% (23.4)
2021Low sales of electric darsLetter to the editor
• Discuss why sales of electric vehicles are so low
• Suggest what can be done to attract more people to drive these vehicles
44% (24.0)
Young people's lack of interest in traditional art forms
Letter to the editor

Sports Communication

YearTopicGenre & RequirementsPopularity (Mean/42)
Sample paperTaking up motorbike racing as a hobbyInformal letter
• Explain why you are worried about the hobby
• Persuade him to take up a different sport
• Give reasons for the recommendation
Data unavailable
Practice paperremoving PE lessons from the curriculumFormal letter to the Secretary of Education
• Express your views
Data unavailable
2012Doing virtual sports versus real sportsOnline post in a health e-magazine
• Write your views
14.1% (19.3)
2013Producing a program about a local HK sporting eventFormal email to a teacher
• Suggest a sporting event
• Explain what would be included in the program
• Outline how to make the program interesting to schoolmates
17.4% (12.23)
2014Requesting donation of old equipment from a fitness centreFormal letter to a fitness centre
• Describe how the donation could benefit the school and the fitness centre
14% (17.33)
2015Disappointing PE lessonsFormal letter to the Principal
• Explain why the classmates are unhappy about existing PE lessons
• Suggest some activities that could be introduced in the future PE lessons
• Explain why students would prefer them
26.8% (17.36)
2016Using sports facilities after school hoursLetter to the editor
• State the opinion
• Give three reasons
34.1% (19.5)
2017Dancers are athletesSchool magazine article
• as a member of the dancing team
• Write about physical strength and skills
• Self-discipline and training
7.4% (16.9)
2018Hong Kong MarathonBlog entry (on HK Marathon website)
• Encourage other young people to take part in the next marathon
23% (20.8)
2019Unexpected incidence during the final game of the seasonNews report
• Describe the incident and what happened afterwards
• Include thoughts and opinions from different people involved
9.5% (18.4)
2020Proposing Dragon Boat Racing in future OlympicsFormal letter to the International Olympic Committee
• Explain how it appeals to young people
• Explain how it promotes gender equality
• Explain how it attracts media coverage
8% (20.7)
2021Professional athlete looking for a career changeJob application letter
• Introduce yourself and your athletic history
• Explain your interest and suitability for the job
8% (19.4)
Being second in the inter-school championship

Workplace Communication

YearTopicGenre & RequirementsPopularity (Mean/42)
Sample paperWork experience programSchool magazine article
• Describe the experience during the “Working Week”
• The feeling about the chosen job
Data unavailable
Practice paperJob interviewPersonal email
• Offer advice on how to prepare for the interview
• What to do during the interview
Data unavailable
2012A campaign about recruiting criminals or drug addictsFormal letter
• Outline the new project
• Explain the benefits
• Persuade the businesses to join the scheme
11.1% (20.5)
2013Many people leaving the office lateCompany newsletter article
• Describe the situation
• Discuss the negative effects
• Give two suggestions to improve the situation
31.0% (22.10)
2014Summer job experiences as a costumed character performerNewspaper article
• Describe the typical working day
• The good things and bad things about the job
34% (18)
2015Handling complaints about the companyEmail to the manager
• Summarize details of a recent complaint
• Suggest three possible actions
5.0% (17.96)
2016Graduates finding a job in other cities in AsiaEssay
• Discuss your views on this suggestion
• Give three reasons
22.6% (21.7)
2017Graduates being less hard-working and less willing to face challengesLetter to the editor
• Disagree with the issue
• Give three reasons and / or examples
10.0% (20.18)
2018Complaints about work-related emails and text messages received out of officeLetter to staff
• Address the complaints
2% (20.1)
2019Designing campaign poster for a candidate running in the district council electionEmail to the council election committee
• Explain the ideas behind the designs and how they would make a good campaign theme
• Share the idea for a new design
5.3% (21.97)
2020Applying for a work transferEmail to manager
• Highlight your work experience
• Highlight why you would like to transfer
• Highlight how your transfer will benefit the organisation
13% (19.6)
2021Advocating for the cancellation of the no-exchange/no-refund policyEmail to sales manager
• Explain why the policy should be changed
• Suggest what changes could be made
• Discuss ways to prevent customers from taking advantage of the new policy
10% (21.7)
Opening a café vs. accepting a promotion at current company
Letter of advice for a job magazine

Trends in text types

GenreSpecific text typeFrequencyYear & Question number
Expositionfeature article18SPQ8, PPQ3, 12Q1, 12Q9, 13Q6, 13Q7, 14Q1, 14Q6, 14Q7, 14Q8, 15Q4, 16Q3, 17Q8, 18Q6, 18Q7, 19Q5, 20Q7, 22Q2
Expositionformal letter14SPQ9, PPQ6, 12Q8, 13Q4, 14Q2, 14Q5, 15Q2, 15Q8, 17Q1, 18Q3, 20Q4, 20Q5, 21Q9, 22Q9
Expositionletter to the editor12PPQ4, 12Q6, 13Q5, 14Q4, 15Q1, 15Q5, 16Q2, 16Q4, 17Q5, 17Q9, 21Q2, 22Q5
Expositionspeech7PPQ9, 12Q5, 13Q8, 16Q1, 19Q7, 21Q1, 22Q4
Expositionformal email613Q2, 14Q3, 15Q6, 15Q9, 19Q8, 21Q3
16Q5, 16Q8, 17Q4, 19Q2, 20Q2, 21Q8
Expositionletter of advice4SPQ2, PPQ8, 18Q4, 22Q3
Expositiondebate speech3PPQ7, 17Q6, 18Q5
Expositionpersonal letter3SPQ4, SPQ6, SPQ7
Expositionreview3SPQ3, 19Q6, 20Q1
Expositionargumentative essay319Q3, 20Q6, 21Q5
Expositionproposal2PPQ5, 16Q7
Expositionreport215Q7, 17Q7
Expositionforum post212Q2, 12Q3
Expositionletter of application218Q8, 21Q4
Expositioninformation poster1PPQ1
Expositionpersonal email116Q9
Expositionparents’ letter118Q1
Expositionnews report120Q3
Artist biography
Narrativeshort story1112Q7, 13Q9, 14Q9, 15Q3, 16Q6, 17Q3, 18Q9, 19Q9, 20Q8, 21Q7, 22Q8
travel guide
Recountblog post512Q4, 17Q2, 18Q2, 20Q9, 21Q6
Recountnews report3SPQ1, SPQ5, 19Q4
Recountdiary/journal entry3
PPQ2, 13Q3, 22Q7
Recountphoto descriptions113Q1
Recountyearbook entry119Q1

Average Score of Different Electives

Social Issues24.8420.9220.7422.0518.722.22224.223.42422.3
Popular Culture26.2820.7818.9222.4613.219.4223.621.122.324.621.3
Workplace Communication20.522.11817.9621.720.1820.121.9719.621.720.4
Poems & Songs16.320.7616.0415.6821.721.2310.723.624.117.318.7
Short Stories17.919.6217.0115.0117.118.3418.716.723.61918.3
Sports Communication19.312.2317.3317.3619.516.920.818.420.719.418.2