GCSE English Literature Tutors

Considering GCSE English Literature? The Profs look briefly at the syllabus and options for further study.

What is GCSE English Literature?

English Literature is the study of a range of literary texts in different forms such as poetry, prose and plays. Texts may come from different eras ranging from Shakespeare to the modern world. You will not just read these texts, but develop a technical understanding as to how they are constructed, an appreciation of their historical context (how they fit into their time period and how they relate to other works), and the ability to express your understanding and critical analysis in essay form.

The course is distinct from GCSE English Language in that English language focuses exclusively upon the technical side of linguistics. You will analyse texts for the way in which they use language, such as grammar and syntax. English Literature, in contrast, will look at some linguistics features, but as part of a wider analysis of a text’s literary features, such as character, theme and historical context.

Assessment of GCSE English Literature

GCSE English Literature tends to be based upon closed book exams held at the end of your two year GCSE course. This means that you cannot take the texts you have studied into the exam hall with you and you may need to memorise key quotes. You may be provided with specific extracts from the text on which to focus an essay question, but you will need to be able to refer directly to all the texts you have studied.

English Literature is assessed over multiple exam papers covering both modern literature and literary heritage (classic) texts. There is likely to be a question specifically on Shakespeare, with the focus on one particular play. Another literary heritage text may be a novel from the 19th century. Modern literature may include plays, poems or prose. Poetry assessments will include questions on one or more poems from your anthology and a previously unseen poem. You will need to be able to compare these poems to show both their similarities and the ways they are contrasted.

In answering questions on literary texts, you should be able to show that you understand the work, that you can place it in its historical context and that you can critically compare it to other texts. Your critical analysis should be clearly expressed and include technical terminology to describe literary and linguistic features (such as the structure, form and language used by the author).

Future progression

Together with maths, English is one of the qualifications that are looked for by most employers, regardless as to the nature of the work. In addition to broadening your understanding of a range of literary texts, studying literature allows you to develop critical thinking skills that can then be applied in a variety of situations. You will be able to express yourself in prose clearly, precisely and with accurate spelling and grammar, and you will improve your understanding of the historical periods in which your set texts were written.

With a GCSE in English Literature, you can continue to study literature at A Level, then university. It is also useful when studying other subjects that require analytical skills and essay writing, such as History. In addition to working in journalism, publishing or another industry that relies heavily upon the written word, the skills gained when studying English Literature are transferrable to a wide range of careers.

How The Profs can help

If you need extra help studying for your GCSEs, whether in trying to learn facts, improve your revision technique, or practising your exam skills, The Profs can offer you specialist private tuition from our highly qualified and experienced tutors. Relieve some of the stress of the exam season by ensuring that you are fully prepared and ready to achieve the best grades possible. With good grades in GCSE English Literature, your future education and career prospects will be improved.