GCSE English is divided into two separate courses for assessment, English Language and English Literature.


Students will sit four English exams all together, two for each course. This is probably the  most 'content heavy' course at GCSE. They will need to know and understand 16 poems, a 19th Century text, a modern prose piece and a Shakespeare play.

GCSE English Language | what you will study


  • Analysing fiction and non-fiction text

  • Understanding and commenting on language and structure

  • Identifying and commenting on purpose and audience


  • Descriptive and narrative writing

  • Organising information and ideas

  • Planning

  • Vocabulary

English Literature | what you will study

  • Plot

  • Themes

  • Characters

  • Form, Structure, Language

  • Social and historical context

For the Shakespeare component, students will study one of the following plays

  • Macbeth

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream

  • Much Ado About Nothing

  • Othello

  • Romeo and Juliet

  • The Taming of the Shrew

  • Twelfth Night

For the Modern Prose and Drama components, students will study one of the following

  • About a Boy

  • Animal Farm

  • Blood Brothers

  • The Crucible

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

  • Heroes

  • An Inspector Calls

  • To Kill a Mockingbird

  • Lord of the Flies

  • Of Mice and Men

  • Never Let Me Go

  • A Taste of Honey

  • A View from the Bridge

  • The Woman in Black

For the 19th Century Prose component, students will study one of the following

  • A Christmas Carol

  • Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

  • Frankenstein

  • Great Expectations

  • Jane Eyre

  • The Sign of the Four​

In theory, one text isn’t more difficult than another; the key is for students to have an in-depth understanding of whatever they will be assessed on.

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