Exam Review – English Paper 2

The English Paper Two exam was a challenging and stimulating paper. The questions were quite complex and multi-faceted, with vocabulary which would challenge any weaker students. There was plenty to stimulate and engage the stronger students. The questions on the Shakespearean play “King Lear” were quite demanding and potentially difficult . Two minor characters (Kent and the Fool) featured in question (ii) so most students answering this section will have chosen question (i) in my opinion: “Chaos and confusion are used to great effect throughout Shakespeare’s play, King Lear.” This is an usual style of exam question, but certainly do-able for any capable student. The Comparative Study featured six questions, from which students answer one. All three comparative modes appeared on the paper, which was a Covid amendment. The questions here were relatively straight-forward and should have posed no major issue for prepared students. One ‘Theme or Issue’ question invited students to discuss how their chosen theme was or was not “emotionally engaging”, which was a lovely question. The Unseen Poem was short but challenging in my opinion. Students were asked to explain whether they found the poem “serious or amusing or both”, making reference to “the poet’s use of language”. The Prescribed Poetry Section could not have been better, in my opinion. Five poets featured on the paper, from which students could choose to answer on one. Students would have been very happy with the choice of poets who appeared: Eavan Boland, Sylvia Plath, Paul Durcan, John Keats and finally, the long awaited and much anticipated Seamus Heaney! The questions allowed for great creative scope in discussing each poet’s work so hopefully students will excel in this section. Overall, a pleasant but challenging Paper Two, which weaker students may have found quite testing but which allowed strong students to shine.