RACER strategy helps in writing the perfect paragraph for your response. This strategy is used when a text is followed with an open ended question.
This strategy helps you to write your response correctly using 5 steps-
R – Reword the question
A – Answer the question completely
C – Cite evidences
E – Explain the text evidence
R – Rewind, reword your answer and sum it up.
Advantages of using RACER
This strategy gives you a layout to form your answer in a specific order. It gives clarity to your writing and helps people to understand your written answer clearly. In order to have a great response you need to do more than simply answer the question. RACER helps us in doing so.
Lets follow the strategy one by one
R – Restating or rewording the question.
In this step all you need to do is reword the question and turn it into a statement. This will form the introductory part of your answer. You need to paraphrase the question using synonyms or different phrases or clauses
2. A– Answering the question in an appropriate manner.
In order to do so you need to understand the question what is being asked. The answer must deal with the specific question, refraining from digression.
Sometimes a question has two or more parts. You must answer each part separately.
3. C– Citing evidences which strengthen your answer.
The evidences will portray how well you have understood the question and whether you can make inferences. You must use quotes(“ ”) if you are using someone else’s exact words.
Be sure to choose the evidence that best supports your answer.
While citing evidences, it is necessary to cite the source of the example. You may use words like-
The author in … says that…
The text states …
In paragraph 4 we find…
4. E – Explaining the evidence. You need to explain the evidence and elaborate what the answer means. You must provide reasons to emphasize that your answer is correct. In other words you must elaborately explain your answer.
You may use words like
This evidence proves my answer as…
This evidence shows…
This evidence means…
This evidence is important because…
This evidence supports my answer…
5.R– Revise and recap by restating your topic sentence through a summary statement.
That is, you rewrite what you have said in the introductory statement but in a different way to make your point clear.
The Sun Goes Down on Summer
I come to the water one last time as the sun goes down on summer.
It’s going; I can feel it slip away, and it leaves a cold, empty spot.
A hole in my warm memories of endless golden days
and dreams as ripe as watermelons.
I’d give the world to make the summer stay.
The water is calm around me.
It’s a warm, silent sea of thought dyed in the rich blues of night and
Why can’t things just stay the way they are?
Instead, the days rush headlong into change
and I feel like nothing’s ever going to be the same.
Soon school will start again. And all the things I thought I’d left behind
will come back, and it won’t be gentle water I’ll be swimming in—
It’ll be noise and people and schedules and passes and teachers telling
everyone what to do.
One more year of homework, tests and grades. Of daily popularity
contests and pressure-cooker competition and heaps of frustration.
The first day is the worst. Not knowing who your friends are, or
what’s changed since last year. Trying to pick it up where you left off.
I’ll look real hard for a last-year’s friend to get me from one
scrambled class to another, through halls crawling with people.
I wonder if I’ll fit in.
Football practice started last week. It started without me.
I had to make a choice and football lost.
Two years on the team and it struck me—who am I doing this for?
It’s just another thing people expect you to do, so you do it.
School is full of those kinds of things—things that sap your freedom,
and keep you from being yourself.
That’s what I want most, to be myself. But that’s hard.
Here’s what I dread most: when summer goes, I go with it.
I go back to school and I change as soon as I walk through those doors.
I have to be someone everyone will like—that’s a law of survival.
What would happen if I just stayed the real me?
would they turn me off? Label me “weird”?
Would I ever get another date?
It seems like so much to risk.
But growing is a risk. Change is a risk.
And who knows. I might discover something of myself in the coming
I might get closer to the person I am—what a discover that would be!
When the doors open on Monday morning, I’ll have a fresh start,
a fresh opportunity to find myself.
I want to be ready.
What feelings does the narrator express in the first stanza of the poem?
The narrator portrays his dismal feelings regarding the end of summer in the first stanza of the poem ‘The Sun Goes Down on Summer’ . He is conscious of the fact that the happy days of summer are slipping away and feels desolate, melancholic and oppressed at the very thought of it. His feelings come out in the saying, “It’s going; I can feel it slip away, and it leaves a cold, empty spot. A hole in my warm memories of endless golden days” He feels sad that his golden days are about to conclude, leaving a cold empty spot in his life. He is upset that his cherished golden days of summer are about to end and he needs to get back to school. The first stanza brings out Steve Lawhead’s depressed and forlorn feelings as the sweet days of summer are about to end.
Now try it yourself and write a paragraph using the RACER strategy bringing out one of the deeper messages in the poem.
The noble ones suffer, While the devils prosper. The ones who serve… Make others happy, Sacrifice their well-being; For the good of others, Are chosen by God, To give trying tests in life.
They burn, they suffer, And fail to see… The cause for suffering, And think, Why Me? While the wicked enjoy, A life of gluttony and bliss; What did I do… To deserve such pain? Is it the result of past sins? Bewildered they wonder.
Why is God so unjust? To fill life’s path with thorns; When evil ones have beds of roses? God gently wipes a tear, And says, ‘You are my soldier, My warrior, my hope. You shall be endowed with power, To restore the order of things.
These incidents are nothing But attention seeking devices To channelise you towards action, Needed to restore faith. You are my arms hand and feet; Through you I work; So that the world becomes, A heavenly place to live… For generations to come.
Do not give up… Feel dejected, or hopeless. Remember it is because, Of noble ones like you, That the world is worth living. Wake up! And work for me! When you come back; It is you that I shall embrace, With flowing tears and love.’
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With every rising sun, humans are accelerating towards a civilization that is more advanced with greater comforts than ever before. The efforts to make life easier, has gained immense momentum in the new era. Each day, a new device or gadget finds its way into the shelves or sites of modern online and offline stores. The surprisingly our lives, as well as our children’s, keep getting more and more complicated and difficult each day.
The students of this age are at strange cross-roads. On one hand they are showered with unnecessary luxuries from the day they are born, and on the other they are gagged with undue expectations which make their lives virtual a hell. At the early stages,they are pampered by their over-indulgent parents, who find it easier to give in to demands rather than confront and counsel children for their unacceptable demands. These very parents at a later stage, put a huge burden of invisible expectations on the children.
The primary cause of stress among the young generation is the cut throat competition in every sphere. Right from their childhood they are exposed to a highly competitive environment in schools. The rat race for getting admission to prime institutions starts early. The overwhelming population which goes on rising every year makes the struggle for existence more challenging each year.
The outcomes of constant stress are proving to be extremely harmful for the mental as well as physical health of students. Episodic stress during exams, have become a common phenomenon. The constant evaluation of students for improving their performance results in endless stress for students; leading to depression, exhaustion, type two diabetes, increased blood pressure and a host of other illnesses.
Sometimes the stress becomes so severe that some students even contemplate suicide as they are unable to see the brighter world of opportunities awaiting those who dare to come out of their dungeons of dark expectations.
The world needs to address the issue of student stress and find a way out to help students escape the whirlpool of expectations that lead to stressful lives. The pandemic has shown us that it is possible to live a life without excessive travelling and unnecessary buying. The less one spends, the less is the stress of earning more; which is the underlying factor behind the break neck competition among the youth.
‘The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.’
-(John Milton, Paradise Lost)
It is our mind that is responsible for our happiness or misery. Qualified counselors and mentors can help students to deal with their stress. Carving out a hobby time, practicing meditation, doing exercise, having sufficient sleep and connecting with supportive people can help students live a stress free life. However, it is important to look into the matter with utmost seriousness and root out the causes responsible for dragging young minds into the vortex of stress right from their childhood- a time meant for play and mirth.
Childhood should be carefree playing in the sun. Not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.
O Goddess of strength! Fill the Earth with hope, Happiness and health. Let evil be deafeated, And goodness prevail. Let the world be a place; Secure for all living beings. Let faith be restored, And lives flow with ease. With this prayer, I offer you my love; Obeisance and worship. Take my offers O’Mother, And shower us with blessings. Filling our lives with joy, Contentment, peace and bliss.
Lying on his berth in the Delhi bound train Umesh felt relaxed and happy to be on his way home for the Diwali vacations. He was in the second year of college at one of the most prestigious engineering institutes in Pilani. With his average height, good looks, wavy hair and petite goatee, he was sure that he was nothing less than a style statement in his college.
It was beginning of the festive season and he had been eagerly waiting for celebrating the much awaited Diwali holidays with his family in Ranchi. The mere thought of the exotic delicacies prepared by his mother made his mouth water. He was in the midst of reading his favourite food blog when he became aware, that the train was about to approach Delhi, where he would have to get down for a train change to Ranchi.
When people started taking out their things Umesh realized that he was already too late to do so, considering the bulk of his luggage.
An old lady and his son were in the process dragging out their belongings from under the berth where Umesh had kept his suitcases. The family had piled up their things in such a haphazard manner that it was impossible for anyone to have the slightest movement without toppling over their luggage.
‘What a bother!’ he thought. ‘Will you please hurry up? I too need to take out my things.’ Umesh pleaded.
‘We….are…try….ing,’ the son drawled. He was fat and slow, unable to bend low because of his pot belly. He was trying to pull out a similar pot-bellied red suitcase from underneath the berth. But the bulged pot-belly of the suitcase refused to budge. The man huffed and puffed with effort.
‘Push down the suitcase from the top and flatten it a bit… then pull with all your might,’ yelled his mother. ‘Have I fed you ghee and milk for nothing? Pull Golu, pull.’ encouraged the frail and cranky mother, standing amidst the pile of luggage, adding to the confusion.
Umesh, realised that the train had lost its speed and was about to arrive at the next station. It was the junction where he needed to change his train for Ranchi. Getting down from the upper berth; he quickly pushed down the top of the man’s suitcase and pulled with all his might. All of a sudden, the suitcase came out and he crashed on the grumpy, melancholy looking man behind him.
‘Ouch! A bunch of lunatics seem to have boarded this train.’ He exclaimed in anguish rubbing his chin, where Umesh’s head had banged.
‘I’m… I’m sorry, Sir,’ Umesh apologised, panicking that he would not be able to get down at the next station.
‘Ah! Sorry is an easy word for you lot,’ the stranger fumed. “Do whatever you like and apologize, huh! That’s the usual trick. The enn…tire generation is going to the dogs, right?” he addressed the people in the compartment in general. The entire compartment seemed to agree. Or so it seemed to Umesh at that moment.
“Tha…nt eez soomething I cannnot deny.” agreed an old man in a nasal tone from the next berth.
Umesh gave an uncertain apologetic smile to the man who had got hurt, hoping he would not aggravate the scene further and allow him to take out his belongings.
‘I really didn’t mean to hurt you,” He added in a squeamish voice. The man looked around as if to assert his superiority over the fact that he had won an apology from an upstart generation. Then, in a grave voice he gave the permission to take out the belongings.
“OK.Ok. take out your things carefully and see that you don’t hurt anyone else.” The manner of his permission asserted his position of being in charge, of the welfare of the compartment.
Umesh tensed up as he sensed the train slowing. He was now almost sure, that wouldn’t be able to get his things down on the platform on time.
“Eeek, a rat!” He shouted. Everyone put up their feet instantly, looking bewildered.
The old lady who was giving instructions, had pulled up her feet on the seat behind her making the original occupant, a hefty young man, squash in the corner. The man looked furiously at her, but kept mum for the sake of peace.
As everybody searched for the rat, Umesh pulled out two of his big suitcases and dragged them towards the exit. Two more handbags needed to be taken out before the train stopped. The commotion had distracted most of the travelers who now rushed for the exit.
Umesh kept the suitcases near the exit and made a dash for his other belongings; he went to his berth and grabbed the other two handbags and hanging his laptop bag on his shoulder pushed his way towards the exit. People cursed him as he squeezed by them, stepping on their toes.
Umesh smiled apologetically but stuck on his mission towards his goal…his suitcases near the exit. Two berths from his goal, he encountered an unsurpassable mountain in the form of a big, fat woman with a scowl and a faint moustache.
As Umesh reached behind her she cast a steely look which made him freeze on his feet. There was no way that he could ever get past her with his two handbags and his laptop bag.
The train screeched to a halt and the line in front of him moved. When he reached his suitcases, he found them conveniently pushed to the other side of the exit door with two more enormous ones just before them. There was no way that he could get them if the ones in front were not removed. Some other person must have gone to fetch more luggage, just like he had.
The train had halted at the platform. In a trice Umesh decided to get down and keep his handbags on the platform and come back for the suitcases. He hardly had an option as people were howling and pushing him from behind.
Getting down he kept the handbags and the laptop bag on top of them before rushing to get the suitcases from the train. He waited restlessly as the rest of the passengers jostled down.
As soon as he boarded the train, it started moving. Perplexed, he dragged his suitcases near the door, but by then the train had caught up speed. If he threw the suitcases they would certainly break and moreover; he won’t be able to get down either.
He looked out of the train and saw his handbags and the laptop bag lying on the station like poor orphans. As they faded from his view, Umesh slumped down on one of his suitcases as hopelessness engulfed him.
His only option was to get down at the next station and board another train back to get his belongings…..if they were still there.
The grumpy man on whom he had fallen down – cast him a suspicious glance on his way to the washroom. On his way back he commented, “Well, young fellow. Did you decide to stay back on the train to cause a few more casualties? Or is it that our mundane presence does not suit your highness, therefore you decided to sit on your personal throne?”
“Do not embarrass me with such attention your majesty,’ Umesh retorted, now he too was in an extremely foul mood.
‘Aaactually, I decided to guard the occupants of this prestigious compartment, and therefore I posted my humble self near the door along with my suitcases, which also seem to agree with me on this matter.’ He said patting his suitcase. The man looked a bit startled and proceeded on his way after giving Umesh the sternest look possible.
Umesh felt too miserable to be influenced by Mr. Gloom’s dark glance. That is what he called the man with a bucket of cold water in the form of words.
Umesh had to sit for an entire hour before the train reached the next station. There, he lugged down his suitcase and was about to enquire about the next train when he saw a New Delhi bound train on the opposite platform. In a trice he boarded the train and sat down in an empty seat near the exit.
As he looked out of the window he recalled the things that he had stuffed in the two handbags which were as good as lost. His eyes almost swelled up with tears.
It took another anxious hour to reach the previous station. The thought of his laptop almost moved him to tears. Why the hell did he take it out from his back while getting the suitcases? Everything that was of value to him was in that laptop. Or so it seemed, at that moment. It was a great loss for him. He had worked day and night to write the documents and make presentations. Now everything was gone. Scanned copies of all his important documents were also in his laptop. ‘If it gets in wrong hands, I’m done for.’ He thought, worry creasing his forehead.
The journey seemed never ending, Umesh remembered about the brand new camera and gifts that he had bought for his sister and parents. They cost a lot. Now he would go home empty handed with a virtual bagful of troubles.
As the train approached Delhi, Umesh found himself at the peak of restlessness. Somehow, the world had turned grey and bleak. The bright joy with which he had started the journey had transformed into dark misery.
Umesh readied himself for disembarking from the coach. As he looked out of the door of the train towards the approaching platform, he was surprised to see the station teeming with policemen.
‘It must be another VIP drama,’ said the gentleman behind him.
‘Delhi and its ministers! These corrupt politicians and their self proclaimed importance is a headache for us,’ replied Umesh.
The train was approaching platform number 2 and he had left his belongings in platform number 4, so he would have to go to platform number 4 to search for his handbags. ‘Lady Luck is frowning at you today, Umesh,’ he said to himself as he got down.
A huge crowd had gathered on the over-bridge. People were enthusiastically waiting for the VIP’s arrival. Pushing through the crowd, Umesh made his way towards platform 4. As he jostled down the stairs with his suitcases people swore at him as they got hurt by the suitcases.
Anyhow, he reached the bottom of the stairs, only to be stopped by a policeman cordoning off the platform for commoners.
‘Back off!’ he barked. The bomb squad has arrived. Umesh backed off two steps in terror. Terroristic activities had risen in the capital of late. ‘Now there was no way that he would be able to search for his things.’ Umesh thought. It was better to go to the lost and found and register a report.
All of a sudden, his eyes fell on his handbags and laptop bag kept on the platform. His heart flooded with untold joy as he saw his precious possessions on the platform.
Suddenly a voice from the platform cried out, ‘Sir, he is the man who planted the bombs!’ A porter in a red uniform was pointing behind Umesh. Umesh turned around to see a huge bodybuilder with the most menacing look staring at him.
‘He will take me as a hostage, if I don’t run.’ Thought Umesh as the man put up his hand to catch him. He dogged and escaped into the platform as the crowd rushed up the stairs in terror, to escape through the over bridge.
In a flash, Umesh found himself surrounded by police pointing their revolvers at him. Umesh stood open-mouthed as his legs wobbled. He pointed towards the rough who was about to take him as a hostage.
‘These policemen are dumb heads, who would shoot me while the real terrorist escaped,’ thought Umesh; but, neither his mouth nor his trembling legs responded to his commands.
The stupid policemen kept on pointing their arms towards him while the real terrorist went up the stairs along with the crowd, who wanted to keep a safe distance in case the bombs exploded.
‘Hands up! One false move and we shoot,’ yelled a police officer at him. Everyone was tensed and observing him with suspicious eyes.
Umesh knew better than to protest under the terse circumstances.
He took a deep breath and as he gained control of himself ; he felt a lot calmer.
‘Don’t try any tricks or you’ll repent,’ an officer with a large moustache threatened. Umesh stood as still as possible. If he tried to point towards the actual culprit, who was escaping at that very moment; he might lose his own life.
Without warning, four policemen pounced on him and tied him up tightly. Then one of them started giving him a rapid body massages on the pretext of searching him. Or, so it appeared to Umesh who suddenly started to giggle as the men searched him for dangerous weapons.
‘Stop laughing!’ the officer with the big curled moustache ordered.
They took out his leather wallet, his mobile, handkerchief, a packet of chewing gums and a small pocket knife from his pockets. All these suspicious objects were handed over to the officer wrapped in the handkerchief, after due listing.
‘How dare you laugh? Which terrorist group do you belong to? What is your name? Who else is with you?’ the officer enquired at one go.
Umesh took a deep breath and answered. ‘Sir, the person you were looking for has left through the over bridge. My name is Umesh, I am an engineering student. There is no one with me, and I am travelling alone. I really don’t belong to any terrorist group.’
‘We were looking for you for over two hours.’ ‘Your acts have been captured in CCTV cameras, and we have a witness too. There is no escape for you. So, it is better that you own up and STOP wasting our time,’ threatened the officer almost dragging him towards the stairs.
Umesh cursed his luck. It was surely the unluckiest day in his life. He spotted his suitcases lying near the stairs. ‘Please let me take my suitcases,’ he said pointing towards them.
The police were rooted to the spot. They went back a few steps cautiously keeping an eye on the suitcases. ‘You mean to say that you went back to bring more bombs to blow up the station?’ The entire lot went back a few steps dragging Umesh along with them.
On reaching a safe distance, far away from the suitcases, the officer in command gave orders for the bomb disposal squad to get into action. Soon, two men in spacesuit like garbs rushed towards the suitcases and carried them with utmost care towards the centre of the platform. There Umesh observed his two handbags along with his laptop bag just as he had kept them.
Unfound joy surged through Umesh even as the policemen’s grasp tightened on his arms. ‘What a relief!’ he thought as he watched in amusement the cautious working of the bomb disposal squad.
The first bag was opened and the contents searched, then one by one each bag and suitcase was searched only to find a student’s belongings. Towels, shirts, trousers, jeans, the new camera, some new dresses bought as gifts for his sister and parents; some handy electronic gadgets and accessories, all peeping out of the suitcases and bags. The wrappers of gifts brought for his family were sadly torn open.
‘Nothing here, Sir!’ yelled the duo.
‘What do you mean?’ the officer yelled back looking surprised. ‘You there!’ he addressed the porter who had pointed towards Umesh or somebody behind him. ‘You said that a suspicious looking man kept the things and went away on the train he got down from. You said that he was a terrorist.’
‘I… I… had simply informed you about the bags sir, I never mentioned the word terrorist,’ the porter mumbled; the feeling of heroism had turned into that of extreme doubt within minutes.
The officer made a gesture, and Umesh’s handcuffs were taken off.
‘We’re sorry sir there had been some misunderstanding. Would you please elaborate the reason for keeping your things and going away?’
Umesh told them about his predicament. How he went to get his things and was unable to get down from the train. As the men listened to him, Umesh felt that time stood for an eternity.
“Hmmm,” said the officer with the curled moustache. ‘Fine, fine. A remarkable incident indeed.”
The officer heaved a sigh of relief. “Much ado about nothing, Sir. These days the slightest negligence can cause havoc, so we cannot afford to take things easy,” he said.
‘I do understand your compulsion, Sir,’ agreed Umesh understandingly. As Umesh gathered his things, he heard the announcement for his train arriving in platform number 11.
The officers had checked his student ID card as well as his UID and had them verified over the net.
“Sir, my connecting train is about to arrive, if you give me the permission I will proceed with my journey.” Umesh requested the officials.
The officer in charge looked at him gravely and then broke out in laughter. “Ha-ha! It must have been a terrible journey for you today. What a fright you gave us! Albeit unintentionally. Well you may go and catch your train. Next time make sure you carry as much luggage as it is possible for you to carry at one go,” he bade goodbye to Umesh with a pat on his shoulder and dismissed the crowd with his hands.
Umesh hurried towards platform number 11 as fast as he could, tugging his suitcases with the two handbags loaded atop them. The crowd made way for him as if a VIP was approaching. A perplexed Umesh managed a smile as he trudged along with his load.
Boarding his train, Umesh heaved a sigh of relief. The compartment was almost empty. After keeping his luggage under the bunk. He sat down and closed his eyes. He chose a cubicle which was empty; he needed some privacy and quiet. As he pushed his suitcases and bags underneath the berths, he found that someone else had already put his suitcase under his berth. He wondered how many of them co-travelers would board his berth, would they be bothersome? He really was not in the mood to take anymore nonsense. ‘I wish could travel all alone.’ He thought wistfully. Soon enough the train started moving.
Umesh waited for the owner or owners of the suitcase to emerge. Ten minutes went by, then twenty. ‘Did he miss the train?’ he wondered. The train stopped at the next station. ‘Maybe he’ll arrive now.’ The train started moving, still no one arrived. Strange thoughts crowded his mind as he eyed the abandoned suitcase underneath. ‘Was that a ticking sound? Should I inform the police?’ Umesh dragged his suitcases once more. His heart thumped hard and beads of sweat formed in his forehead. He was sure the ticking sound was coming from the bag underneath, or was it his imagination?