Course Overview


In studying the set texts students should have the opportunity to develop the following skills:

Reading comprehension and reading critically

  • literal and inferential comprehension: understanding a word, phrase or sentence in context; exploring aspects of plot, characterisation, events and settings; distinguishing between what is stated explicitly and what is implied; explaining motivation, sequence of events, and the relationship between actions or events
  • critical reading: identifying the theme and distinguishing between themes; supporting a point of view by referring to evidence in the text; recognising the possibility of and evaluating different responses to a text; using understanding of writers’ social, historical and cultural contexts to inform evaluation; making an informed personal response that derives from analysis and evaluation of the text
  • evaluation of a writer’s choice of vocabulary, grammatical and structural features: analysing and evaluating how language, structure, form and presentation contribute to quality and impact; using linguistic and literary terminology for such evaluation
  • comparing texts: comparing and contrasting texts studied, referring where relevant to theme, characterisation, context (where known), style and literary quality; comparing two texts critically with respect to the above


  • producing clear and coherent text: writing effectively about literature for a range of purposes such as: to describe, explain, summarise, argue, analyse and evaluate; discussing and maintaining a point of view; selecting and emphasising key points; using relevant quotation and using detailed textual references
  • accurate Standard English: accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.


All assessments are closed book (not allowed into the examination): any stimulus materials required will be provided as part of the assessment.

All assessments are compulsory.

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel

What is assessed

  • study of Shakespeare’s Macbeth
  • study of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde

How it is assessed

  • written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 64 marks
  • 40% of GCSE


Section A Shakespeare: students will answer one question on Macbeth. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.

Section B The 19th-century novel: students will answer one question on Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry

What’s assessed

  • Modern drama texts: J B Priestley’s An Inspector Calls
  • The poetry anthology: Students will study one cluster of poems taken from the AQA poetry anthology, Poems Past and Present. The cluster will contain 15 poems. The poems in the cluster are thematically linked and were written between 1789 and the present day.

The titles of the clusters is: Power and conflict.

Students study all 15 poems in their cluster and be prepared to write about any of them in the examination.

  • Unseen poetry: in preparing for the unseen poetry section of the examination students should experience a wide range of poetry in order to develop their ability to closely analyse unseen poems. They should be able to analyse and compare key features such as their content, theme, structure and use of language

How it’s assessed

  • written exam: 2 hour 15 minutes
  • 96 marks
  • 60% of GCSE


Section A Modern texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied drama text.

Section B Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.

Section C Unseen poetry: Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

Example GCSE Literature questions:

Paper 1

Starting with this extract, explore how Shakespeare presents Macbeth’s use of his power.

Write about:
• how Shakespeare presents Macbeth at this moment in the play
• how Shakespeare presents Macbeth’s use of power in the play as a whole.

Paper 2

How does Priestley explore class in An Inspector Calls?

Write about:
• the ideas about class in An Inspector Calls
• how Priestley presents these ideas by the ways he writes.

Compare the ways poets present ideas about power in ‘Poppies’ and in one other poem from ‘Power and conflict’

In ‘Poem A- unseen’, how does the poet present the speaker’s feelings about her age?

Year Plan

GCSE English Literature Assessments 2017-18

Year 10

W/c 4th December – ‘An Inspector Calls’ assessment

W/c 22nd January – Conflict and Power poetry assessment (homework)

W/c 22nd June – End of Year exam- ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’

Year 11

W/c 13th November – ‘An Inspector Calls’ assessment

8-17th January – Year 11 Mock Exams Power and Conflict Poetry question and Unseen Poetry

W/c 19th March –  ‘Macbeth’ assessment