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Information for Parents: GCSE English Literature 2020

When Wed, Jan 08, 2020 @ 9:00 AM

English Literature Unit 1 exam (Of Mice and Men & Unseen poetry)

Information for Parents: GCSE English Literature 2020

The is an external exam on Wednesday 8th January 2020. This exam is 2 hours and comprises Section A: Of Mice and Men and Section B: Poetry.

Candidates are advised to spend one hour on Of Mice and Men and one hour on poetry – they must be mindful of the timings throughout the exam so they do not run out of time.

Section A: Of Mice and Men

Passage analysis for 10 marks – spend 20 minutes on this question.

Essay (choice of two, but only pick one) for 20 marks – spend 40 minutes on this question.

Section B: Unseen Poetry

The exam paper will have two poems which have not been seen by the candidates in advance. Candidates are required to write an essay about the poems and discuss similarities and differences.

There is a sentence in bold at the top of the poetry section which tells candidates the topic of the poems - this will help them when trying to work out meaning.

To revise for this exam it would be beneficial to reread the text or listen to the audio book on YouTube. BBC Bitesize has lots of information on characters, themes, plot and context.

  • Students must remember to include relevant context (1930s America) in the 20 mark essay section (not the 10 mark passage analysis).
  • They must also remember that the passage analysis question is only on the section of text printed in the exam paper.
  • The 20 mark essay is on the whole book and usually focuses on themes and characters – they need to choose just one of the two essay options.

BBC Bitesize also has a poetry revision section.

In addition to this website, WJEC OER is useful for both sections of the exam, providing marked examples of candidates' work:


Students are reminded that they must only answer questions on Of Mice and Men and poetry. There are other questions in the exam booklet on other texts, however they must not answer on these.