GCSE English Literature Exam Structure

GCSE English is Easy Literature Book

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE EXAM STRUCTURE

Your GCSE Literature examination comprises of two sections:

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th Century novel
1 hour and 45 minutes
40% of GCSE

Paper 2: Modern texts and Poetry
2 hours and 15 minutes
60% of GCSE

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE EXAM ASSESSMENT OBJECTIVES

AO1 = To read, understand, and respond to literary texts. Students should be able to demonstrate a critical style in their writing, and develop an informed personal response. Students are also required to use contextual references, including quotations in order to support their interpretation.

AO2 = To analyse the language, form, and structure used by an author and analyse the meaning and context. To ensure relevant terminology is used throughout their assessment.

AO3 = To show an understanding of the relationships between texts and the contexts in which a piece of text is written.

AO4 = To use an array of vocabulary and sentence structures in order to provide clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation.

Weighting of Assessment Objectives

Below we have outlined the weighting of assessment objectives for your GCSE English Literature exam.

BREAKDOWN OF ASSESSMENTS

Shakespeare

During the Shakespeare section of your English Literature exam, you will be required to answer one question. Students will study one play within the classroom, and therefore, the choice of question you should answer should be the one you have been focusing on during your English lessons. In the exam, there will be a choice of six possible Shakespeare plays. The following texts are examples taken from the 2017 examination:

  • Macbeth;
  • Romeo and Juliet;
  • The Tempest;
  • The Merchant of Venice;
  • Much Ado About Nothing;
  • Julius Caesar.

Please note: The choice of Shakespearean texts is subject to change annually. Be sure to check with your teacher with regards to the Shakespeare text that you will be studying!

The 19th Century Novel

During the 19th Century novel section of your English Literature exam, you will be required to answer one question.
Students will study one novel within the classroom, so the choice of question you should answer should be the one you have been focusing on during your English lessons.
In the exam, there will be a choice of seven novels. The following texts are examples taken from the 2017 examination:

  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde;
  • A Christmas Carol;
  • Great Expectations;
  • Jane Eyre;
  • Frankenstein;
  • Pride and Prejudice;
  • The Sign of Four.
Modern Texts

During the modern text section of your English Literature exam, you will be required to answer one question.
Students will study one text within the classroom, so the choice of question you should answer should be the one you have been focusing on during your English lessons.
In the exam, there will be a choice of twelve texts, including post-1914 prose and drama. The following texts are examples taken from the 2017 examination:
PROSE

Author Title
William Golding Lord of the Flies
AQA Anthology Telling Tales
George Orwell Animal Farm
Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Go
Meera Syal Anita and Me
Stephen Kelman Pigeon English

DRAMA

Author Title
JB Priestley An Inspector Calls
Willy Russell Blood Brothers
Alan Bennett The History Boys
Dennis Kelly DNA
Simon Stephens The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Shelagh Delaney A Taste of Honey

Poetry

During the poetry section of your English Literature exam, you will be required to answer one cluster of poems in the exam.
The poems assessed in the exam will be taken from the AQA poetry anthology, Poems Past and Present.
In the exam, there will be a choice of two clusers, each containing 15 poems. The poems in each cluster are thematically linked.
The themes provided for the 2017 examinations were the following:

  • Love and Relationships;
  • Power and Conflict.

For this section of the exam, students need to study all 15 poems in their chosen cluster and be prepared to write about any of them in the exam.

Unseen Poetry

The unseen poetry section of your English Literature exam is self-explanatory. This section will provide poems of which you will not have studied during your English lessons.
The best way to revise for the unseen poetry section is to experience a wide range of poetry and develop the following analytical skills:

  • Content
  • Themes
  • Language
  • Structure

Check out my blog “GCSE English Language Exam Structure” by clicking here.

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