Monday, 29 August 2016

CSEC English B 2018-2023 Sample Questions- Section C


A WORLD OF PROSE FOR CSEC —David Williams and Hazel Simmons-McDonald

7. “The stories ‘The Day the World Almost Came to an End’ and ‘Blood Brothers’ are both stories about fear.”

Write an essay in which you describe the situation that gave rise to the fear in EACH story. In
this essay, you must also discuss the impact of the fear experienced, and examine how point of
view is used in EACH story to present the theme of fear.
Total 35 marks


8. Choose TWO stories from the prescribed list that you have studied in which there is a rural

Write an essay in which you describe the setting in EACH story. In this essay, you must also
compare and contrast how the setting for EACH story contributes to mood and characterization.

                                                             Total 35 marks

Thursday, 25 August 2016

CSEC English B 2018-2023 Sample Questions - Section B

Answer ONE question in this section.

A WORLD OF POETRY FOR CSEC —Mark McWatt and Hazel Simmons-McDonald


3. “‘My Parents’ and ‘Little Boy Crying’ explore childhood experiences.”

Write an essay in which you describe the experience of EACH child. In this essay, you must also discuss how the child in EACH poem feels about the other persons involved in the experience, and examine ONE device that is used to present the child’s experience in EACH poem.

Total 35 marks

4. Choose TWO poems that you have studied from the prescribed list which focuses on an individual’s dreams OR desires.

Write an essay in which you outline EACH speaker’s dream OR desire. In this essay, you must discuss the speaker’s attitude to the obstacle that affects the achievement of the dream OR desire in EACH poem, and examine ONE device that is used to explore dreams OR desires in EACH poem.

Total 35 marks

Sunday, 21 August 2016

CSEC English B 2018-2023 Sample Questions- Section A

For each question in Sections A, B, and C, in addition to the 25 marks indicated for content and argument, 10 marks is allocated for language, organization and competence in the mechanics of writing.


Answer ONE question in this section.

                                                   THE TEMPEST — William Shakespeare


1. “The Tempest is an exploration of different types of relationships.”

Write an essay in which you describe TWO different types of relationships in the play. In this essay, you must also discuss ONE theme that is portrayed in any ONE of the relationships described, and examine ONE dramatic technique Shakespeare uses to present relationships in the play as a whole.
                                                                  Total 35 marks



2. “A dominant theme in Ti Jean and His Brothers is good versus evil.”

Write an essay in which you describe TWO incidents in which the conflict between good and evil is presented. In this essay, you must also discuss how the MAIN characters are affected in ONE of the incidents, and examine ONE technique that Walcott uses to present the theme of good versus evil in the play.
                                                                 Total 35 marks

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Analysis of God's Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins

God’s Grandeur- Gerard Manley Hopkins

The first four lines of the octave (the first eight-line stanza of an Italian sonnet) describe a natural world through which God’s presence runs like an electrical current, becoming momentarily visible in flashes like the refracted glinting of light produced by metal foil when rumpled or quickly moved.
Alternatively, God’s presence is a rich oil, a kind of sap that wells up “to a greatness” when tapped with a certain kind of patient pressure. Given these clear, strong proofs of God’s presence in the world, the poet asks how it is that humans fail to heed (“reck”) His divine authority (“his rod”).

The second quatrain within the octave describes the state of contemporary human life—the blind repetitiveness of human labor, and the sordidness and stain of “toil” and “trade.” The landscape in its natural state reflects God as its creator; but industry and the prioritization of the economic over the spiritual have transformed the landscape, and robbed humans of their sensitivity to the those few beauties of nature still left. The shoes people wear sever the physical connection between our feet and the earth they walk on, symbolizing an ever-increasing spiritual alienation from nature.

The sestet (the final six lines of the sonnet, enacting a turn or shift in argument) asserts that, in spite of the falleness of Hopkins’s contemporary Victorian world, nature does not cease offering up its spiritual indices. Permeating the world is a deep “freshness” that testifies to the continual renewing power of God’s creation. This power of renewal is seen in the way morning always waits on the other side of dark night. The source of this constant regeneration is the grace of a God who “broods” over a seemingly lifeless world with the patient nurture of a mother hen. This final image is one of God guarding the potential of the world and containing within Himself the power and promise of rebirth. With the final exclamation (“ah! bright wings”) Hopkins suggests both an awed intuition of the beauty of God’s grace, and the joyful suddenness of a hatchling bird emerging out of God’s loving incubation.


This poem is an Italian sonnet—it contains fourteen lines divided into an octave and a sestet, which are separated by a shift in the argumentative direction of the poem. The meter here is not the “sprung rhythm” for which Hopkins is so famous, but it does vary somewhat from the iambic pentameter lines of the conventional sonnet. For example, Hopkins follows stressed syllable with stressed syllable in the fourth line of the poem, bolstering the urgency of his question: “Why do men then now not reck his rod?” Similarly, in the next line, the heavy, falling rhythm of “have trod, have trod, have trod,” coming after the quick lilt of “generations,” recreates the sound of plodding footsteps in striking onomatopoeia.


The poem begins with the surprising metaphor of God’s grandeur as an electric force. The figure suggests an undercurrent that is not always seen, but which builds up a tension or pressure that occasionally flashes out in ways that can be both brilliant and dangerous. The optical effect of “shook foil” is one example of this brilliancy. The image of the oil being pressed out of an olive represents another kind of richness, where saturation and built-up pressure eventually culminate in a salubrious overflow. The image of electricity makes a subtle return in the fourth line, where the “rod” of God’s punishing power calls to mind the lightning rod in which excess electricity in the atmosphere will occasionally “flame out.” Hopkins carefully chooses this complex of images to link the secular and scientific to mystery, divinity, and religious tradition. Electricity was an area of much scientific interest during Hopkins’s day, and is an example of a phenomenon that had long been taken as an indication of divine power but which was now explained in naturalistic, rational terms. Hopkins is defiantly affirmative in his assertion that God’s work is still to be seen in nature, if men will only concern themselves to look. Refusing to ignore the discoveries of modern science, he takes them as further evidence of God’s grandeur rather than a challenge to it.

Hopkins’s awe at the optical effects of a piece of foil attributes regulatory power to a man-made object; gold-leaf foil had also been used in recent influential scientific experiments. The olive oil, on the other hand, is an ancient sacramental substance, used for centuries for food, medicine, lamplight, and religious purposes. This oil thus traditionally appears in all aspects of life, much as God suffuses all branches of the created universe. Moreover, the slowness of its oozing contrasts with the quick electric flash; the method of its extraction implies such spiritual qualities as patience and faith. (By including this description Hopkins may have been implicitly criticizing the violence and rapaciousness with which his contemporaries drilled petroleum oil to fuel industry.) Thus both the images of the foil and the olive oil bespeak an all-permeating divine presence that reveals itself in intermittent flashes or droplets of brilliance.

Hopkins’s question in the fourth line focuses his readers on the present historical moment; in considering why men are no longer God-fearing, the emphasis is on “now.” The answer is a complex one. The second quatrain contains an indictment of the way a culture’s neglect of God translates into a neglect of the environment. But it also suggests that the abuses of previous generations are partly to blame; they have soiled and “seared” our world, further hindering our ability to access the holy. Yet the sestet affirms that, in spite of the interdependent deterioration of human beings and the earth, God has not withdrawn from either. He possesses an infinite power of renewal, to which the regenerative natural cycles testify. The poem reflects Hopkins’s conviction that the physical world is like a book written by God, in which the attentive person can always detect signs of a benevolent authorship, and which can help mediate human beings’ contemplation of this Author.

Friday, 12 August 2016


Please find attached a copy of the CSEC English B Course Outline. I have been using this course outline in one form or another for more than five years now. I have fount that, it has been helpful in organizing how I teach the English B syllabus to my grades 10 and 11 students.

How I use the Document

1. I provide copies of the document to each student of my class on the first day of class.

2. My students and I explore the document together. We review the exam paper layout; then we examine the texts, short stories and poems that comprise the syllabus.

3. Students review the grading scheme for the class and the requirements for recommendation.

4. Students review the key terms that they should learn. 

5. Students are given a Glossary of Literary Terms to create based on the list of terms on the course outline. The teacher explains the guidelines for researching the terms. 

6. Students will use their glossary as a reference text over the period of the course. 

7. Students, along the teacher, track the progress of the content covered in the syllabus. 

8. Students are encouraged to tick off each text, poem, short story that is covered.

Here is a copy of the course outline you can view and download.


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Outline of the CSEC English B 2018-2023 Exam

The English B examination is offered at the General Proficiency level. The Assessment comprises three papers, Paper 01, Paper 02, and Paper 031 or Paper 032.

Papers 01 and 02 are assessed externally. Paper 031 is the School-Based Assessment (SBA) and is assessed internally by the teacher and moderated by CXC.

Paper 032 is an alternative to the SBA and is intended for candidates registered as private candidates.

The CSEC examination, also known as CXC, is a Caribbean based assessment that includes a wide range of subjects, including English Language and Literature. The syllabus starts in grade 10 and ends in the third term of grade 11, with examinations across the Caribbean islands. The information that is seen below pertains to the 2018 - 2023 syllabus. For more information, go to

ENGLISH B (English Literature)
Paper 01:

The duration of the exam is 1 hr, 45 minutes (changed from 1 hr, 30 minutes)

  • It is worth 29% of the total assessment (changed from 36%)
  • All questions are compulsory 
  • It consists of 3 comprehensions
  • Possible types of comprehensions are: drama / poetry / prose
  • There are 5-7 questions on each comprehension
  • Each comprehension is worth 20 marks
  • Total = 60 marks


The duration of the exam is 2 hrs: 10 minutes (10 minutes added)

It is worth 50% of the total assessment (changed from 64%)

  • Section 1 examines 1 Shakespearean drama and one modern drama
  • This section contains 2 questions (changed from 4 questions)
  • 1 question from the Shakespearean text and 1 from the modern drama
  • Answer 1 question  
  • Type of Question- Type A (meaning a single text is used to answer the questions)
  • Each question is worth 35 marks
  • Section 2 examines poems (from the selection of 20 poems)
  • This section has 2 questions
  • 1 question is generic, or based on poems of the students choice (from the selection)
  • 1 question names the two poems that are to be compared
  • Answer 1 question
  • Type of Question- Type B (meaning a comparison question- compare two poems)
  • Each question is worth 35 marks

  • The student is asked to compare a West Indian text with other novels in English OR  to compare West Indian short stories with other short stories in English 
  • This section contains 4 questions (changed from 6 questions)
  • 1 question is type A, meaning a single text is used to answer the questions
  • 1 question is from each prescribed novel, equaling 2 questions
  • Next is 2 type B questions, meaning a comparison
  • 1 question is generic, or based on stories of the students choice from the prescribed list
  • 1 question based on two named short stories from the prescribed list
  • Answer 1 question
  • Types of Question- Type A & B
  • Each question is worth 35 marks  
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