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The Exam

Please note the examination paper has been updated 2011-2012. You can still refer to past papers as content is the same, but the format is different.

The exam has two sections:

(A) You will be given three paired passages of poems from the set texts of the module: you must choose one pair and write a close reading.

(B) You will be given ten questions on material from term one and two: you must choose one.

Section A

We are looking for you to provide a comparative close reading of your chosen pair of poems in relation to poetic and/or cultural questions. You do not have to address both poetic and cultural questions, but may do so. Your focus should be close reading and the ability to forge an argument about the two passages in a clear and measured essay form. If you have revised poems in preparation for section B that come up in Section A do not answer on those poems or poets for your section A answer.

Section B

We are looking for you to let us know what you have learned from the module, not test what you don’t know. You are free to interpret the question how you see fit, as long as you write an essay that: (i) has an argument and is well structured; and (ii) is based on close reading of poems. You are free to write up to 50% of your answer on poets or poems not studied on the module. You do not have to learn quotations but should pay attention to the texts you discuss and not paraphrase their content. You do not have to cite critics from the field (an outstanding formal argument, for example, might not include any references to critics), but you may do so if you wish (although restrict your references to enable your own voice).


Do not write your exam answers on a poet you have already covered either on this module or elsewhere. Please use common sense when applying this rule. The rule is there to suggest you read broadly as well as in depth.