GCSE English Literature

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Exam Board and Specification Code: Edexcel (4ET1)

The Course
The objectives of the course are to introduce students to the pleasure of reading challenging literature from a range of time periods and cultures, as well as appreciating the power of English literary heritage. The course offers students the opportunity to develop culturally and increase their enjoyment in selecting and consuming texts independently.  They will learn to write analytically and accurately, demonstrating sound knowledge of both the writer’s craft and the context in which the work was produced.

Reading: The class will study two plays, a novel and a wide range of poetry, and through shared reading learn to identify key themes and ideas. They will also explore the social, cultural and historical background of the text and understand how the influences of time and place informed both the writer and contemporaneous readers/audiences.  Students will become more adept at observing how writers use language and structure to convey their messages, and for emotional effect, and will be able to employ the correct terminology for the techniques they learn to recognise.

Writing:  Students will produce extended pieces of writing, providing analysis and evaluation of the writer’s skill.  They will learn to be discerning and organised in the way they present insights and the evidence they use to support their ideas.  They will also work on ensuring their use of Standard English, grammar and punctuation are accurate and their prose is coherent and engaging.


What Skills do I need?
The course is aimed at students who enjoy the process of reading, discussing and analysing a range of fiction texts.  It will help students prepare for further study of English Literature at A level and beyond, but it will also help students increase their enjoyment of reading, and learn to be more active and engaged learners across multiple disciplines.


How is this course assessed?
While written work will be assessed throughout the year, including several phases of mock exams, the qualification is awarded based on the student’s performance in two exam papers at the end of the academic year. The first exam, Paper One, is Poetry and Modern Prose and the students need to respond to an unseen poem, worth 20 marks; compare and contrast two poems they know well, worth 30 marks; and write on how either a character or theme is presented in the modern novel, for 40 marks, for a total of 90 marks.  Paper Two asks candidates to respond to character or theme questions on a work by Shakespeare, worth 30 marks, and a modern play, also worth 30 marks, for a total of 60 marks.


Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley

The Poetry Anthology



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