How can I quickly analyse an unseen poem in an exam?

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Firstly, it is important to read the poem at least twice. 


Then, you must begin to plan. The first stages of this may involve annotating the poem, where you can pick out any points to do with Language, Structure, Form or Themes and Imagery.

Next, write down the four main points you wish to make as well as relevant quotation from the poem for each point. After this, you should outline the techniques used by the author - found in the quotation you have selected - to make your point. These need to be a selection of points from the Language, Structure, Form and Imagery/Themes categories. A good structure to follow in your plan is PEE; Point, Evidence, Evaluation.


Start with an introduction, but do not just simply tell the examiner what the poem is about. Instead, open by explaining the themes of the poem, then outline the four main points that you have included in your plan.

Next, write your four points - remeber to only write one point per paragraph.

Lastly, you must conclude. Sum up your arguments but do not include any new analysis or any ideas you have not used in the body of your essay.


Try and leave at least three-five minutes to check over what you have written. In particular, check for spelling and gramatical errors as it would be a shame to lose marks here if the analysis in your essay is good.

Sophia R. GCSE English and World Literature tutor, GCSE Maths tutor

About the author

is an online GCSE English and World Literature tutor who tutored with MyTutor studying at Durham University

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