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ENGLISH LITERATURE REVISION NOTES
General Comments this is the exam specification
The majority of candidates were well prepared for the exam and this is testament to the hard work
of candidates and teachers. Examiners noted with pleasure candidates' enthusiastic engagement
with texts, and there were many lively, interesting and original responses. As in previous years,
there were some truly superb essays, in particular on Eliot and Yeats and Arcadia. Most candidates
are aware of the demands of the paper, and this is reflected in the number of confident responses.
The best essays were sharply focused, and it was pleasing to see evidence of planning.
Nevertheless, as highlighted in previous years, examiners were concerned that there was a
significant minority of candidates who found it difficult to produce focused, clearly written, coherent
Although many of these points have been made in previous reports, it is worth emphasising again
that the key features of the strongest responses were where candidates:
· planned their answers fully, using an essay plan
· addressed AOs with confidence
· had clearly practised answering exam questions in timed conditions, leading to relevant, shaped
and focused answers.
In addition, in Section A the strongest responses were those where candidates:
· gave a brief overview of the content of a poem before discussing the techniques used
· focused on two core poems rather than a range of core poems
· introduced the partner text using signpost phrases such as `In contrast', `Similarly' etc.
· returned to the core text after discussing the partner text
· made explicit when they were exploring other readings.
In Section B the strongest responses were those where candidates:
· analysed the extract in detail before moving on to discuss other parts of the play
· showed a clear understanding of the text as drama
· integrated references to context throughout the essay.
Section A: Poetry post-1900
There were responses to all of the questions. With the exception of Boland and Pollard, which is still
a minority choice, all pairings have proved popular.
AO1: there were a number of clearly written and sharply focused essays; however, as noted in past
reports, there were still some unnecessarily long and unfocused responses. A number of candidates
took a chronological, line-by-line approach to poems; this often led to repetition, loose organisation
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The best answers were those where candidates selected relevant lines and
words. Some candidates discussed a range of core poems, which often meant they were unable to
fulfil the requirement for `detailed critical discussion' of two core poems. There was also a significant
minority of candidates who launched straight into discussion of a poem without giving an overview of
the content; as a consequence, comments on techniques were divorced from meaning.…read more
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Hughes' poetry also reveals uncertainty. The weakest responses
struggled to address either doubt or uncertainty.
Re-read Act 1 Scene 2. Discuss the presentation of the legal establishment in this extract and
elsewhere in the play.
There was a range of interesting answers. Candidates interpreted the legal establishment in
different ways: some ranged across different aspects including the police and the prison system,
while others focused more closely on the presentation of the court. Either approach was valid.…read more