The paper used can be found here: Mock IGCSE English Literature
The papers marked showed some generic issues, outlined below:
Question 1: The unseen poem (20 Marks)
Generally the paper was completed in reverse order.I find this sensible since any lack of time will impact this question and not the longer, better rewarded question on Of mice and Men.
Note: the question is marked solely for AO2, discussion of language, structure and form. Thus any response which is narrative driven and lacks any real attempt to engage with writer’s craft will score a maximum of 8/20.
1: Many students are trying to use structure unsuccessfully. The form of the quatrains cannot really symbolise solitude. Better to work with the deceptively simple form and childish tone, concealing something darker.
2: Many notice the ‘lovely, deep and dark’ triplet but do not allow a discussion of the intention of the writer/persona. Credit them with their skill -just because you think this is odd, the fact it is written must mean that the persona enjoys the idea of the deep darkness. Thus it is not an oxymoron.
3: The question is centred on solitude. Your response should show this same focus.
4: Do not simply respond to the story-line. You can use SCASI to give you some sense of organisation if required.
5: PLAN. However short, a planned response is always better than one unplanned.
6: If you have an idea – go with it. Many recognised the threat/further connotation of ‘he’ his woods’ ‘darkness’ ‘before I sleep’… very few developed these linked ideas into any coherent form.
This post might help: unseen
Question 2: the comparison of 2 prepared poems. The key here is comparison and prepared. If you do not actively show some comparison, you will lose marks.
7: AO3 (comparison) demands more than 2 separate essays. This need not be particularly complex at first. Paragraph openers of the JANUS type are useful here: ‘Whereas Rossetti presents love as…., Keats takes a different position’ are elegant and clear signposts of intention.
8: You must know all 16 poems and make sensible choices. The student who chose If as the comparison with Hide and Seek was really struggling. The focus was ‘childhood’. Half past 2 or Poem at 39 would have been so much more sensible. If no clear links can be drawn, then you have chosen the wrong poem.
9: It may be better to use the pair given. Responses to Remember and LBD were much more convincing.
10: AO2 is the second, equal, marking area. Again, you must be analysing word choice and structure/form. Since these are set texts, the examiner is in their rights to expect a high quality of written observation.
11: Stop guessing and PLAN. This will help your structure and thought process. It is vital.
Question 3 is on Of Mice and Men ( one of the texts available; be sure to choose the right one!)
12: AO4 is now examined: contexts. NOTE this does not mean simply acknowledging the Depression or writing at length about Steinbeck without making your points relate to the question. Some good context from this series: Steinbeck himself traveled as a ‘bindle stiff’, the local community resented the itinerant workers so even the bus driver has power over G&L, Talkies were coming into Hollywood at this time so CW with her ‘mosquito whine’ will never be a filmstar, Slim has power now but will soon be replaced by mechanisation and may need George as much as George needs his friendship now.
13: The other marking strand is AO1_ coherent knowledge, rather than analysis. Show this by quoting and be being precise when referencing the text. ‘Later in the novel’ is simply not good enough. Know it better and show this by reflecting setting and structure in your writing.
14: READ THE NOVEL and stop making mistakes with the actual plot. It is vital that you are working with a strong knowledge of the text rather than with a vague idea of the outline of the plot. To answer the CW question without reference to the scene in the barn with Lennie and her whole narrative is simply not going to convince an examiner that you have done any work at all.
AND, no writer ever did anything ‘to make the reader read on’. Stop looking for short cuts -there are none! You must try to justify any comments you make. Fully and with good reference to the text.