IGCSE narrative essay | 2009 Oct-Nov |  Write part of a story in which a character


You are advised to write between 350 and 500 words on the following topic:

Write part of a story in which a character has to overcome an obstacle.

Model Essay

Emma stood at the base of the towering rock face, her heart pounding in her chest. The cliff loomed above her, jagged and intimidating, its peak lost in the early morning mist. She took a deep breath, trying to steady her nerves. Today was the day she would conquer her fear of heights, an obstacle that had haunted her since childhood.

She glanced back at the small group of friends who had come to support her. Among them was Jake, her best friend and an experienced climber. His encouraging smile gave her a boost of confidence. “You’ve got this, Emma,” he said, handing her a helmet and securing the harness around her waist. “Just take it one step at a time.”

Emma nodded, swallowing hard. She had trained for this moment for months, gradually building her strength and honing her climbing skills. But now, faced with the sheer magnitude of the task ahead, doubt crept in. She shook her head, banishing the negative thoughts. She could do this. She had to.

With Jake’s guidance, Emma began her ascent. The first few meters were relatively easy, the handholds and footholds abundant and secure. She moved slowly but steadily, her muscles tensing and relaxing in a rhythmic pattern. The cool breeze brushed against her face, a gentle reminder of the vast expanse below.

As she climbed higher, the handholds grew scarcer and more challenging to reach. Her breathing became shallow, and sweat trickled down her brow. She glanced down—a mistake. The ground seemed impossibly far away, and a wave of vertigo washed over her. Panic threatened to take hold, but she closed her eyes and focused on Jake’s voice, steady and reassuring from below.

“Don’t look down, Emma. Focus on the next hold. You’re doing great.”

Emma forced herself to breathe deeply and open her eyes. She scanned the rock face for her next move, finding a narrow ledge just above her head. Summoning her strength, she stretched out her arm, fingers brushing the rough surface. Her grip was tenuous, but she managed to secure it, pulling herself up with a grunt of effort.


The climb grew more arduous with each passing minute. Her arms and legs burned with exertion, and her progress slowed to a crawl. Yet, she persisted, driven by a determination she hadn’t known she possessed. She thought of all the times her fear had held her back, the opportunities she had missed because she was too scared to take a leap of faith. This was her chance to prove to herself that she was stronger than her fear.

After what felt like an eternity, Emma reached a small plateau halfway up the cliff. She collapsed onto the flat surface, panting and trembling with exhaustion. Jake climbed up beside her, a broad grin on his face. “You’re halfway there, Emma. Just a little more to go.”

Emma looked up at the remaining expanse of rock. It still seemed daunting, but something had changed. She no longer saw an insurmountable obstacle; she saw a challenge she was ready to face. She stood up, shaking out her limbs and adjusting her gear.

“I can do this,” she whispered to herself, feeling a newfound confidence.

With renewed determination, Emma continued her ascent. Each step was a victory, each handhold a testament to her resilience. The climb was still grueling, but she embraced the challenge, pushing through the pain and fatigue. Her fear receded with every meter she gained, replaced by a growing sense of accomplishment.

Finally, after what felt like a lifetime, Emma’s hand reached over the edge of the cliff. She hauled herself up, collapsing onto the solid ground at the summit. Tears of relief and joy streamed down her face as she looked out at the breathtaking view. The world stretched out below her, vast and beautiful.

Jake reached the summit shortly after, pulling her into a tight hug. “You did it, Emma. I knew you could.”

Emma smiled through her tears, the weight of her fear lifting from her shoulders. She had faced her greatest obstacle and emerged victorious. In that moment, she knew that she could conquer anything life threw her way.

Word Count: 694