Past Exam Questions

Another work in progress, so please bare with me. For now I’m just going to record the questions that were asked in this years exam… but in time I hope to show you exactly how to answer each question and potentially provide you with a smoking hot essay example.

Section A: Drama

Oscar Wilde’s The Important of Being Earnest

Either *1 Read this extract, and then answer the question that follows it:


How does Wilde make this proposal of marriage such a hilarious moment in the play?

†2. How does Wilde make the way Jack Worthing has to live his life so comically complicated? Support your ideas with details from the writing.

3. You are Gwendolen. You are being taken home by your mother after she has rejected Jack Worthing as a possible son-in-law. 

Write your thoughts.


Section B: Poetry

Songs of Ourselves:  from Part 4

Either *4. Read this poem, and then answer the question that follows it:

Cruising these residential Sunday
streets in dry August sunlight:
what offends us is
the sanities:
the houses in pedantic rows, the planted
sanitary trees, assert
levelness of surface like a rebuke
to the dent in our car door.
No shouting here, or
shatter of glass; nothing more abrupt
than the rational whine of a power mower
cutting a straight swath in the discouraged grass.

But though the driveways neatly
sidestep hysteria
by being even, the roofs all display
the same slant of avoidance to the hot sky,
certain things:
the smell of spilled oil a faint
sickness lingering in the garages,
a splash of paint on brick surprising as a bruise,
a plastic hose poised in a vicious
coil; even the too-fixed stare of the wide windows

give momentary access to
the landscape behind or under
the future cracks in the plaster

when the houses, capsized, will slide
obliquely into the clay seas, gradual as glaciers
that right now nobody notices.

That is where the City Planners
with the insane faces of political conspirators
are scattered over unsurveyed
territories, concealed from each other,
each in his own private blizzard;

guessing directions, they sketch
transitory lines rigid as wooden borders
on a wall in the white vanishing air

tracing the panic of suburb
order in a bland madness of snows.

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