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Practical Criticism or poetry appreciation is a challenge for most secondary students because of the highly analytical skills involved.  To approach the Unseen Paper with a degree of confidence, pupils should build a body of knowledge about poetry.  We have 3 very well-received modular Literature programmes which you will not find anywhere else.

The Literature Unseen Poetry Programme is useful for all secondary exam pathways in Singapore schools (the Literature and Language Arts Exams in the O/A Exam pathway as well the International Baccalaureate).

Part 1: Understanding Different Forms of Poetry

Students will be taught how to identify different forms of poetry and study the technical aspects of a poem. Pupils will be introduced to a wide range of poetic forms.


This course focuses on acquiring CONTENT & making DISTINCTIONS.


Course Outline

  • Unseen Poem as an exam format

  • Differences between reading prose and reading poetry

  • Technical aspects

    • Form - different forms of poetry, use of shape, lines and stanzas

    • Sound - devices, concepts and examples

    • Imagery - concepts and examples, cross-references and comparisons

    • Relationship between themes and issues in society

    • Parodies and how they compare with the original

  • Personal Responses

    • Articulating your response in writing



Part 2: Tackling Unseen Poetry

Students will be taught how to read, understand and analyse a selection of poems covering a wide range of themes.


This course focuses on ANALYTICAL & WRITING skills


Course Outline

  • The right attitude to reading a poem

  • Immediate appreciation of a poem

  • Dealing with uncertainty

  • Looking for meaning and significance

  • Filling in the gaps in meaning

  • Handling different interpretations

  • Detailed analysis

  • Forming statements*

  • Referring to evidence


*In particular pupils will learn how to phrase their responses to the poem. 


Format: 12 lessons of 1.5 hrs each, held over 6 sessions.


Unlike the English Language programmes, these programmes are not defined in terms of levels, but in terms of the requirements and expectations of honing analytical skills and building a body of knowledge for the study of Literature.  Hence, pupils who sign up for the programmes can come from any level from Sec 1- Sec 4 "O" Level or Year 1- 5 IB. 

Other Programmes:

  • Tackling Unseen Prose (for upper secondary and pre-university Literature students)

  • Studying Shakespeare (for lower secondary Literature students)

For more information, SMS (+65) 8138 6011,

or email /

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