IGCSE English Literature 

The course

Literature at GCSE is a tremendously exciting experience leading students to a greater and more informed enjoyment of literature and ultimately to a greater understanding of themselves, of others and of the world around them. The primary aim of the course is to encourage the candidate’s own response to literary texts, that enjoyment taking a variety of forms, both critical and imaginative. The English Literature IGCSE course at MPW takes full account of the requirements of the National Curriculum at key stage 4. 

The teaching aims to encourage candidates to develop:  (i) the ability to read, understand and respond to a wide range of literary texts and to appreciate the ways in which authors achieve their effects; (ii) awareness of social, historical and cultural contexts and influences in the study of literature; and (iii) the ability to construct and convey meaning in speech and writing, matching style to audience and purpose.

What skills do I need?

You need to take delight in the close reading and analysis of texts.

How is the course assessed?

There are three exams. The Component 1 exam (Poetry and Prose – Closed Text) tests you on two texts: (i) Songs of Ourselves; and (ii) I’m The King of the Castle by Susan Hill. There is a choice of two questions (one passage-based and one essay) on each text. The exam lasts 90 minutes and is worth 50% of the total marks. 

The Component 3 exam (Drama (Open Text)) will involve the study of two texts: (i) The Tempest by William Shakespeare; and (ii) The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. There is a choice of two questions (one passage-based and one essay) on each text. The exam lasts 45 minutes and is worth 25% of the total marks. 

The Component 4 comprises 'unseen' passages which will test candidates' skills in literary appreciation. It is worth 25% of the total marks.

This specification is examined in May/June and October/November examination sessions and can be taken twice.


Macbeth (New Cambridge Shakespeare)
By W. Shakespeare
Published by CUP, ISBN 978-1107619579 

Songs of Ourselves: The University of Cambridge International Examinations Anthology of Poetry in English
By J. Hawkes

Exam Board and Specification Code

Cambridge 0486

Richard Martin
Head of Department