in CIE, English Language, Essay Technique, Writing Skills

For students taking IGCSE in Literature, the absolute best way to ensure a high grade is to understand how the mark scheme works. This page will give you a breakdown of everything you need to know so that you can what examiners are looking for in plain language. You then need to make sure each essay you write contains all this stuff!

Before understanding the mark scheme, make sure you’ve looked at the Assessment Objectives and you know how those work.

There are two IGCSE syllabuses for Cambridge: 0475 and 0992. Although they’re almost exactly the same in marking, I’ve given both versions below for you so that you can see your own exams clearly.


Thanks for reading! If you need further help with Literature or English, see our full list of IGCSE courses here.


MARK SCHEME

0475

TOP BAND (A* GRADE):

• Demonstrates knowledge by incorporating well-selected reference to the text skilfully and with flair (AO1).
• Sustains a critical understanding of the text showing individuality and insight
(AO2).
• Responds sensitively and in considerable detail to the way the writer achieves her/his effects (AO3).
• Sustains personal and evaluative engagement with task and text (AO4).

MID BAND (C/B GRADE)

• Demonstrates knowledge by showing some thoroughness in the use of
supporting evidence from the text (AO1).
• Shows understanding of the text and some of its deeper implications (AO2).
• Makes some response to the way the writer uses language (AO3).
• Makes a reasonably developed relevant personal response (AO4).

0992

TOP BAND (A* GRADE):

• Demonstrates knowledge by incorporating well-selected reference to the text skilfully and with flair (AO1).
• Sustains a critical understanding of the text showing individuality and insight
(AO2).
• Responds sensitively and in considerable detail to the way the writer achieves her/his effects (AO3).
• Sustains personal and evaluative engagement with task and text (AO4).

MID BAND (C/B GRADE)

• Demonstrates knowledge by showing some thoroughness in the use of
supporting evidence from the text (AO1).
• Shows understanding of the text and some of its deeper implications (AO2).
• Makes some response to the way the writer uses language (AO3).
• Makes a reasonably developed relevant personal response (AO4).

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Here is a breakdown of the objectives in plain English:

TOP BAND (A* GRADE):

  • Show an excellent, confident and detailed knowledge of the text by being thorough and precise when you talk about it, as well as using well-chosen and succinct quotations, creating. a confident, fluent and eloquent essay style (AO1)
  • Be aware of the deeper meanings and interpretations of the text to the point where you can be critical about attitudes, themes and opinions – understand different perspectives and angles of interpretation, and confidently integrate your contextual knowledge into your analysis of the question (AO2)
  • Be extremely sensitive and thorough with your analysis of form, structure and language – being confident on all three equally when you analyse them. Use a range of language, form and structure devices and show a confident knowledge of how they are used and why they reflect the writer’s deeper meanings and messages (AO3)
  • Develop a thesis and debate or explore that interpretation of the question as you go through your essay, arriving at a reasoned and thoughtful conclusion. Make sure to explore perspectives other than your own as you go, and be able to weigh up different angles of interpretation before finding your own reasons for why your ideas are the most valid or convincing. Have your own intelligent thoughts on the question and text, demonstrating that you have read a lot around the text including other essays and other people’s ideas before arriving at your own personal opinions (AO4)

MID BAND (C/B GRADE)

  • Show good knowledge of the text by being thorough, detailed and precise with your references (AO1)
  • Show some awareness of the deeper meanings of the text – go beyond surface meaning into the themes, ideas, attitudes and messages (AO2)
  • Show some knowledge of language features – in particular, be accurate with your language features and also describe the exact reasons why the writer used them and the specific effects that are being created by them (AO3)
  • Answer the question specifically and in a developed, rather than just a simple or basic way. Make sure to have your own personal ideas on the story and engage with it using your own thoughts and interpretations (AO4)

Thanks for reading and I hope this has been useful for you! If you need further help with Literature or English, see our full list of IGCSE courses.

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