Welcome to English Language and Literature; a blog dealing with ‘all things’ related to IGCSE, in particular the CIE syllabus. It is hoped that it will prove useful to students currently engaged in the study of English First Language and English Literature as well as other teachers who are expected to deliver the course.

It is hoped that this blog will:

  • assist students understanding of the literary texts selected for examination
  • provide notes for revision
  • show samples of analytical writing to assist in the development of writing extended responses
  • show how to consider language and literary devices in a range of texts.
  • show how to compose ’empathetic’ tasks in Prose texts.
  • provide students with a comprehensive resource to aid their personal understanding of the texts studied.

Happy reading,

Julia Mayer


36 thoughts on “About

    1. Great to hear, Ilsa! Always nice to hear how helpful the site is. Do let me know if there is stuff you want to read or know about. My class is taking the exam next year, so we have only just covered the poetry section (next following year is a different selection of poems) which I probably wont teach until next Jan. Thanks again, Julia.

  1. I just discovered this blog by chance and found your links very, very helpful. It saves me so much time especially now that it is down to revision crunch time. My students are writing the IGCSEs in May and the fabulous resources here will definitely help them. My thanks to your wonderful students too for their perceptive comments and engaging responses; I only hope that my students will find their ideas helpful in formulating their own perceptions of the poems studied.

    1. Thank you So Nee for your motivational comments! All the best for the crunch time. Doesn’t matter how long you have been teaching the course-I still find myself getting rather nervous for my students, but am amazed how much they have grown up in the two years, and the personal growth they have achieved. All the very best for your students.

      1. Hi is it possible if you could check this essay i wrote on looking for alaska:
        ‘Looking for Alaska’, John Green’s Debut novel was published in 2005.The novel is about a group of lost, but additionally very intelligent teenagers, who attend Culver Creek Boarding School for their first junior year. They are on the contrary to shallow, more or less precise opposite; Alaska Young, Miles Halter and Chip Martin’s thought are as deep as the Mariana trench. Their complicated way of looking at life, thirst for an adventure, seeking simplicity and comprehension in an intricate world will eventually end up hurting them. “If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane” was Miles imagery of Alaska after her tragic death.
        Even though the novel is written via Miles perspective the entire structure of the story revolves around Alaska’s death. This is from one hundred and thirty six days before, where we see Miles as a dull, anti-social geek; to one hundred and thirty six days after where we see Miles as ‘Pudge’, a well developed man with friends, who smoked cigarettes and drank wine. Even before the actual death occurs, death is a recurring theme, from Alaska’s mother’s death to Miles trying to find out what happens to oneself upon dying. Miles is obsessed with peoples last words; dying words. The very actual thought of last words completely fascinates him. Alaska is a character in this book who is completely associated with death. It has played an important role in her life and will play an important role in the lives of the characters lives after her life is brought to an abrupt end. It makes the characters rediscover so much more about about themselves. We become acquainted with the characters through their actions and conversations. Alaska Young behaves in a most reckless manner.is such an interesting, beautiful, enigmatic individual, nevertheless so self-destructive. Just two days before she is gone forever, the boys learn that they hardly knew the girl they love so fervently (during ‘Barn Night’).
        January 9th, 1997 was the turning point in Alaska’s life. She was barley eight years old but witnessed her mother’s death, sitting by her side and watching the life draining out of her. Alaska never called the ambulance or made an attempt to save her mother. This had ruined her. Eight year old Alaska drowned herself in guilt. Her extreme unpredictalbililty and spontaneity was most likely an effect of ‘ failing her mother’. She had her moment and didn’t take it. This effected the way she handled spontaneous situations in the future. Alaska would never think twice about her actions or reflect the possible consequences. This eventually gets her killed.
        In the final religion exam, the students have to pick what they think is the most important question human beings must answer, and examine how Buddhism, Islam and Christianity (three world religions) attempt to answer it. Miles chooses to examine the question ‘What will happen to us when we die?’. Miles will never find the answer until he experiences it, but chooses to settle with a fact from science class; energy is never created and never destroyed. In religion the soul flies to heaven and peoples beliefs give them answers to everything. Alaska on the other hand isn’t a believer; the question related to her mother’s death drives her crazy.
        Among a variety of metaphors, the imagery of the labyrinth is a main throughout the novel. “How will I ever get out of the labyrinth of suffering?”. Alaska dwindles into the boundless depths of this question. Is the labyrinth living or dying-the world on the end of it? The labyrinth answers the endless anwerless questions life brings. In this novel, Alaska is the labyrinth; she traps herself in an evil circle of answerless questions that force her deeper into the depths of sufferings. She cannot free herself from herself. The novel’s message is philosophical. it is about looking past a list of answerless questions in life, and not fold yourself into self-destruct. If Alaska killed herself, it was out of hopelessness. People kill themselves because it seems the only way out of the labyrinth of suffering; the flame of hope they carry is extinguished. But it never is as Green concludes. Alaska Young was to deep in the enigma of frustration over her answerless questions and guilt.
        There are many instances where Miles tries to figure out how Alaska’s death occurred, why it happened, what really are about, and Alaska Young’s last words. Death plays an important part in life, although many people fail to see it. It is a subject most people avoid talking about, as the thought itself scares them, but it is important to face death and be aware that it can touch anyone in anyway close to you. The book uses death as an aspect to show the readers that death is something inevitable, but we can never become ready for it.

  2. Yes Indeed,
    Its wonderful to have encountered such a wonderful blog, as this. As, I wrote before, whats so wonderful about Literature is that one can derive so many meanings out of it – There does not always have to be one set pattern, Its the way you perceive it. – Thats what so great and wonderful about Literature, Its so Diverse and Unique! and one can relate it with himself on so many levels!

    Best of Luck,
    Maaz H

  3. Hi, I was wondering if you had any tips / notes for the CIE IGCSE English Language paper? Especially for question 1 – creative writing part?


    1. Hi Joan,
      Yes this blog seems to be concentrating only on Literature, and even then, only on poetry. If you are referring to Question 1 of the Passages question, then not all of the questions are ‘creative writing’. Quite often you might have to write a speech, as was the case with the question on Aftershock a few years back, and what the examiner recommended was that three questions were ask, and that the responses were in three big blocks of writing, rather than a realisitc script. Mayor: Hi how are you? Earthquake Victim: Could be better, I suppose – is what they didnt want! If you are referring to the Question one in the Passages paper, the biggest tip is to KEEP CLOSE to the passage. My understanding is that it is NOT about creative writing but more about appropriating a given text into another form. However, if you are referring to the Directed Writing Paper, I havent taught this one before, as I have usually done the Coursework option. All the best.

  4. I am so grateful for your efforts:D
    you defiantely helped us IG students alot
    hope you keep on blogging
    um is it possible for you to write or post a essay on “first love”


  5. This website was SO helpful! Especially in the last days before my English Literature GCE. Got my result yesterday, I got an A* in Literature. So whoever created this website, thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Hi, I was very happy to stumble on this blog site. You are doing a great job and I can’t thank you enough for the resources.


  7. Dear Julia,
    I fully concur with the other comments made about this blog. It is a wonderful revision tool for my students, especially poetry for which other online resources are so hard to find. My students also have a blog: a far more modest and less interactive effort than yours but useful nonetheless. You will notice that it contains myriad links to these pages! Might I ask where you teach and where your students are from? Regards, James Titheridge

    1. Hi James
      Thanks for your comments. My students are from everywhere and my school is Busan International Foreign School in South Korea. For most students, English is an additional language which is why I created this blog, basically to assist them further. Where are you? Have a great weekend!

  8. Hi.
    Thanks for creating this site, it’s really useful!!
    Could you possibly put some analysis on the stories for igcse English with some model essays??

  9. This is an extremely useful website which I have used many times to help my students gain a better understanding of the poems. Many thanks!

  10. This website is great, although some of the poem powerpoints are a bit incomplete. I’ll be writting my exam in two weeks and am freaking out cause i had a reaaally bad teacher last year and my teacher’s been trying to cramp two years’ worth of teaching into 1. its been a mess but i’ve studied hard and i think i’m doing well. however i’m a bit nervous cause i don’t know much about the examinations and what to expect at the actual exam.. In other subject areas i usually do some past papers and later read the mark schemes to understand what is expected of my answers, but the igcse mark schemes don’t tell me much… If you have any good advice at all for what i sould focus on when answering questions, or maybe some other good websites for poems, great gatsby and journey’s end (other that sparknotes and cliffnotes) that will help me especially with the language analysis i’d really apreciate it. I’m a big fan of your analytical esays on the poems, they let me in on stuff about the poem i wouldn’t have figured out on my own. Best regards and keep this up for future generations, i bet you’ve cost cambridge some A*s!

  11. This is such an informative blog! Glad that there are still few generous hearts out there who are willing to help thru the world wide web. You truly make a good teacher and thanks for setting this up, I’m pretty sure that you have guided most of the students visiting this blog to attain an A* grade. I hope you could also help us in answering the compare and contrast question in detail, like what we are required to write and all. In comparing two poems, do we have to compare and contrast the poems altogether? or should we do it in separate paragraphs? What actually is the format in writing the answer? I hope you can help:) and Keep up the good work! God bless you ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Hi There

    I’m an English Teacher in New Zealand. I have a lovely IGCSE class this year and I was wondering if you would be interested in setting up an online discussion thread between my class and yours based on the poetry and prose we’re studying. Let me know if you’re interested.

    1. Hi Samantha,
      I would love to do an online discussion thread-unfortunately I will be going to another school at the end of June, and they are a full MYP school and don’t do CIE IGCSE. I hope to continue with this blog if I have time! All the best with your class, Samantha, it’s great to have a lovely class!

  13. Hey thanks for the great site! It’s so good! I was wondering if you have anything about When rain clouds gather by Bessie Head?

  14. Thank you for setting up this blog. I am teaching IGCSEs and A Levels to my own children and to children that I tutor. As I have been doing this on my own in the USA for a while (no schools were doing IGCSEs or A Levels until last year in my state), I search for ‘teacher help’ on the Internet.

    As a pay-it-forward gesture, I created my own website this year, at http://www.eddistutorial.com , and I have put lots of resources up there. I am also working behind the scenes on other materials to upload when I have a spare moment (har har). Maybe some of the resource would be useful for your students – most of the Internet links offer free stuff and I have used all the resources that I have put up.

    Once again, thank you for making the effort to help others.

    Happy teaching!


  15. Teaching IGCSE for the first time. I look at your site and think – I wish I’d thought of that idea when I first taught x. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    1. Thanks Phil for your feedback. Your comment has made me want to get back in posting but I have been so busy teaching another curriculum to post! I am pleased you have found it useful!

      1. Julia, love your postings – Do you have more on mice and men.. loved reading it…

  16. Hi Ms Mayer!
    I’m Cerc, a teen blogger – creator of Cercalicious. I will occasionally write a literary analysis, and would love for you to check them out. Please check out my blog to see more! I’ve done the Cockroach, Sonnet Composed on Westminster Bridge, The Hawthorn Hedge and others!

  17. I just discovered this blog and am amazed at the standard of work on it.
    I am a concerned parent of an IGCSE English student and was wondering if it would be possible to speak in a more private forum?
    Many thanks

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