All students sit the English Literature examinations. Cambridge IGCSE Literature in English offers candidates the opportunity to show detailed knowledge of the content of literary texts in the three main forms (drama, poetry and prose) supported by references to the text.

Students will also develop an understanding of the meanings of literary texts and their contexts, and explore texts beyond surface meanings to show deeper awareness of ideas and attitudes. Candidates will recognise and appreciate ways in which writers use language, structure and form to create and shape meanings and effects. Students are encouraged to communicate a sensitive and informed personal response to literary texts.


The aims are to enable learners to:

  • Enjoy the experience of reading literature.
  • Understand and respond to literary texts in different forms and from different periods and cultures.
  • Communicate an informed personal response appropriately and effectively.
  • Appreciate different ways in which writers achieve their effects.
  • Experience literature’s contribution to aesthetic, imaginative and intellectual growth.
  • Explore the contribution of literature to an understanding of areas of human concern.

Syllabus content

This syllabus enables learners to read, interpret and evaluate texts through the study of literature in English. Learners develop an understanding of literal meaning, relevant contexts and of the deeper themes and attitudes that may be expressed. Through their studies, they learn to recognise and appreciate the ways in which writers use English to achieve a range of effects, and will be able to present an informed, personal response to the material they have studied. The syllabus also encourages the exploration of wider and universal issues, promoting learners’ better understanding of themselves and of the world around them.


Students will sit Paper 1 and either Paper 2, or Papers 3 and 4 at the end of their IGCSE course.

Paper title Duration and marks What’s in the paper? Percentage of final grade
Paper 1:
Poetry and prose
1 hour 30 minutes
(50 Marks)
Two questions on two texts:
one poetry and one prose.
Paper 2:
1 hour 30 minutes
(50 Marks)
Two questions on two texts. 50%
Paper 3:
(Open text)
45 minutes
(25 Marks)
One questions on one text. 25%
Paper 4:
1 hour 15 minutes
(25 Marks)
One question requiring critical commentary. 25%

Find out more

You can find out more by visiting the qualification page on the Cambridge Assessment website.