Update: GCSE English Literature changes for 2021 exams

Published: Tuesday 15 Sep 2020

We’re pleased to confirm that Ofqual has approved our revised changes to GCSE English Literature for summer 2021.

Schools will now have a free choice of any two of the following three areas:

  • Anthology of poetry
  • Modern text
  • 19th century novel.

Shakespeare and unseen poetry will still be compulsory.

The two papers will now be structured like this:

Paper 1 - choose any 2

Paper 2 - compulsory

Paper 1A
Anthology of poetry – 1 item
30 marks (AO1, AO2, AO3)

Section A
Shakespeare – 1 item
30 marks (AO1, AO2, AO3)
+ 4 marks (AO4)

Paper 1B
19th century novel – 1 item
30 marks (AO1, AO2, AO3)
Section B
Part 1: unseen poem essay
24 marks (AO1, AO2) + 4 marks (AO4)

Part 2: unseen poetry comparison
8 marks (AO2)
Paper 1C
Modern prose/drama – 1 item
30 marks (AO1, AO2, AO3)

We hope these changes will make it easier for teachers to make the right choices for students.

We’ll be asking schools which options students will be taking when schools make entries (by 21 February). This is so we can make sure we’ve got all the right examiners in place. Teachers will be able to pick different options for different students if they like – there’s no need to choose a single option for everyone unless teachers want to.

We thank everyone who gave us feedback about our original plans. We want our qualifications to be right for teachers and students, so we’re always willing to listen.

We appreciate you might have some questions about the changes and we’ll be publishing further supporting information shortly.

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