IGCSE descriptive essay | 2009 Oct-Nov | Describe the minutes before and after a person receives some


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

Describe the minutes before and after a person receives some very important news. In your description, you should pay particular attention to the emotions involved and how they are conveyed to you.

Model Essay

The room was heavy with silence, punctuated only by the rhythmic ticking of the wall clock. Sarah sat at the edge of her chair, her fingers intertwined so tightly her knuckles were white. The faint hum of the air conditioner barely registered in her consciousness as she stared at the phone on the table in front of her. It was the longest wait of her life, those final minutes before the call that would bring her the news she had been anxiously anticipating for weeks.

Her mind raced with a whirlwind of thoughts and what-ifs. She tried to steady her breathing, but each inhale felt shallow, each exhale too rapid. She could feel the thud of her heart in her chest, a relentless drumbeat that mirrored the ticking clock. Sarah’s eyes darted to the window, where the world outside continued as usual, oblivious to the tempest of emotions within her. She envied the calm of the passersby, the routine movements of the cars, the unaffected sway of the trees in the gentle breeze.

As the appointed time approached, Sarah’s anxiety heightened. She clenched and unclenched her fists, attempting to dispel the tension that had settled in her shoulders. The phone rang, and for a split second, her heart seemed to stop. The shrill sound sliced through the silence, and she jumped, her hand hovering above the device before finally picking it up.

“Hello?” Her voice was a whisper, barely audible.

“Hello, is this Sarah Adams?” The voice on the other end was calm and professional.

“Yes, this is she.” Her throat felt dry, and she swallowed hard, bracing herself for what was to come.

“Ms. Adams, I have the results of your application. I’m pleased to inform you that you’ve been accepted into the program.”

For a moment, there was nothing but stunned silence. Sarah’s brain struggled to process the words she had just heard. Accepted. The tension that had been coiled so tightly within her began to unravel. Her mouth fell open slightly, and her eyes welled with tears. She managed to stammer out a thank you, her voice cracking with emotion, before the call ended.


The seconds after the call felt like an eternity of relief and disbelief. She sat there, motionless, as the news began to sink in. She had done it. All the hard work, the late nights, the sacrifices—it had all paid off. A smile began to spread across her face, slow at first, then widening until it lit up her entire countenance. The tears that had threatened to spill over finally did, cascading down her cheeks in a torrent of unrestrained joy.

She leaped from her chair, unable to contain the energy surging through her. Her heart, which had been a drumbeat of anxiety, now pounded with exhilaration. She paced the room, then stopped abruptly and laughed, a sound of pure, unfiltered happiness. She grabbed her phone and called her family, her voice barely able to keep up with the excitement and relief she felt.

“Mom, Dad, I got in! I got in!” The words tumbled out, each one a release of the pent-up stress and fear she had carried.

On the other end, her parents’ joy was palpable, their pride evident in every word they spoke. Sarah could hear her mother crying, her father shouting his congratulations. It was a moment of collective triumph, a shared celebration that bridged the miles between them.

In those minutes before and after receiving the news, Sarah experienced a lifetime of emotions. The fear and anticipation gave way to an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and relief. It was a transformation, a journey from the shadows of doubt to the light of success, all captured in a few pivotal moments that would forever be etched in her memory.

Word Count: 630