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Students who take GCSE or IGCSE English generally take both the Language and the Literature exams. As with all other GCSE and IGCSE subjects, different schools choose to use different exam boards, which all have a slightly different structure and syllabus. The popular exam boards that are sat by students are Cambridge (CIE) and Edexcel. Below outlines the IGCSE Language and Literature papers for these two boards:
Paper 1 is the Reading Comprehension paper. Students are presented with three unseen texts and have to give short and long responses ranging from vocabulary in context to language analysis. The most challenging question is the extended response, where students have to produce a short piece of writing using information that they have retrieved and inferred from one of the texts given. To do well in this paper requires not only reading skills, but writing skills as well. If you find your child struggling with either, it may benefit them to hire an IGCSE English private tutor.
Paper 2 is a Writing paper. The first section is directed writing, where students have to retrieve information from a text and apply that in a piece of transactional writing. The second is creative composition, where the student can choose to do one from a choice of four prompts, two descriptive and two narrative. This paper requires students to be an all-rounded proficient writer who is able to address different writing styles, and our IGCSE English tutors are experienced in helping students to achieve that.
Paper 1 is Poetry and Prose, based on works previously studied during the school year. Students will have to write an essay on each, with a choice of one out of two questions respectively.
Paper 2 and 3 are Drama papers, and students opt to do one. Paper 2 is closed-book, while Paper 3 is open-book, meaning students can bring in a clean copy of the text into the exam. Questions are the same for both papers – for each work, there is one extract-based question and an open essay question. Students who sit Paper 2 will have to answer both, while those who sit Paper 3 will only have to pick one.
Students opting for Paper 3, however, will have to sit a further Paper 4, which is an unseen Prose or Poetry paper. There are guiding questions provided.
It is worth considering getting help from an IGCSE English tutor to support your child for English Literature, as it is challenging to keep up with the bodies of work and to develop the requisite literary analytical skills to do well in the papers.
Paper 1 is about reading non-fiction texts and transactional writing. For reading, there is an unseen comprehension task tied with some questions on an anthology text. The anthology is a set number of works that students will have studied previously at school, and it will always be one that is on a similar topic as the unseen text. The most challenging question of the paper is the comparison question, where students have to draw parallels and distinctions between the unseen text and the anthology text. If you feel your child needs more support and practice, consider hiring an IGCSE English tutor.
Paper 2 is focused on fiction and creative writing. The first part is an anthology question, picked from a selection of prose and poetry. The second part is creative writing, where students have a choice of four – a narrative, a descriptive, and two picture prompts. It is important that students have a firm grasp of the anthology texts for this section; an IGCSE English tutor can help to make sure your child is keeping up with these and have a good set of notes ready for the exams.
Paper 1 is divided into three sections, and is all about Poetry and Modern Prose. First students will have to analyse a piece of unseen poetry. There are guiding questions provided, but there is only one compulsory question. The second is a comparison question on anthology poetry, and lastly modern prose, where students have to answer an essay question on a novel that they have studied.
Paper 2 is Modern Drama and Literary Heritage. Schools usually opt for Shakespeare for the latter, though Jane Austen and Charles Dickens are not uncommon choices as well. For both, students have a choice of two questions, usually one thematic and the other on character.
Again, it is important that students are keeping up at school because in-depth understanding of all texts are required. Students may struggle due to the sheer volume of what they have to study, hence you may consider engaging an IGCSE English tutor to make sure your child is on track to do well in the exams.
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