What is the point of gcse english literature?

GCSE specifications in English literature should develop knowledge and skills in reading, writing and critical thinking. The GCSE in English focuses more on developing students' reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. In comparison, GCSE English literature focuses more on developing knowledge and understanding of texts in prose, poetry and theater. In short, there are many different aspects to consider when deciding which topic is most important.

In terms of the skills you'll learn, both the English language and literature are equally valuable. However, from an academic point of view, it is important to know that it is mandatory to pass GCSE English Language with a grade 4 or higher. This does not apply to GCSE English literature. Again, I would like to turn your attention to this useful article, which explains the evaluation criteria of the English language and explains exactly what each question expects of you.

Throughout the country, teachers spend an inordinate amount of time teaching students how to decipher the nonsense that is English documents. Ultimately, English helps with many subjects, either because you can show your creative talent or practice your analysis, so it should definitely be seen as an important topic. This means that if you fail GCSE English Literature, but manage to pass GCSE English Language, you won't have to take any courses in English again. As a fairly competent student of English at GCSE, I find it outrageous to see the Chief Regulator blindly trying to justify problems with the exam.

Although you must aspire to pass grades (grades 4 and above) in all of your GCSEs, you will not be required to retake any tests other than GCSE English Language and GCSE Maths. This could be one of the reasons why the English language of gcse is often considered more difficult than literature, even though it is “more important”. A core subject leading to a mandatory GCSE, English will generally be taught in skill sets that are different from most other KS3 subjects. However, we already have a much higher evaluation for this in the form of the English GCSE literature, which is rich in knowledge and uses some of the best texts in the canon.

With this in mind, it could be argued that English literature is more important, since a more traditional review is necessary to obtain the best marks on the exam. Schools are placing emphasis on the language document over literature as a hangover from the five old A*-C measures (which include English and mathematics). Studying English literature can also lead to varied careers such as teaching, law and business, as well as professional writing roles such as digital copywriter, editorial assistant, or journalist. Unfortunately, even if you pass the GCSE English Literature, if you haven't earned a grade 4 or higher in GCSE English Language, you'll need to retake your language tests.

The three exam boards have two English-language documents for the GCSE, and they also have a spoken language endorsement.

Dermot White
Dermot White

Dermot White is a professional GCSE English tutor with a passion for literature and language. He is committed to helping students excel in their English studies. Dermot holds a Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Sheffield.