Frequently Asked Questions
What is the format of the examination?
Candidates are required to prepare for a 3-hour open-book examination. This means that the set text (the annual Olympiad anthology) can be used during the examination. PLEASE NOTE: The Study Guide is not allowed into the exam venue.
The examination will require you to answer:
- 1 question from Section A – discursive essay (60 marks)
- 1 question from Section B – creative response (40 marks)
What is the syllabus for 2022?
2022 Theme: The Future - Utopia or Dystopia?
2022 Title of anthology: A Brave New World
2023 Closing Date: 30 September 2022
When and where?
The 3-hour examination is usually written at schools on the first Tuesday of March each year.
In connection with this, please note the following:
1) It is not possible, for practical and security reasons, to allow schools to write the examination on different dates. Schools are therefore requested to take the set date and time into account when planning their own calendars. A flexi start time is permitted between 11h00 and 14h00.
2) The date of the examination is determined by the time needed to process the results, so that the candidates may be invited to the National Schools Festival in Grahamstown in July.
Who may enter?
The competition is open to all learners who will be in Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 on the day of the examination.
The Home Language (HL) examination paper is designed for learners who study English as a first language and the First Additional Language examination paper is for learners who are second language English speakers. All learners interested in developing their English writing and creative skills will benefit from entering the English Olympiad.
Schools may enter some candidates for the Home Language examination, and others for the First Additional Language examination, provided the school teaches both HL + FAL.
Candidates writing the FAL exam paper must be registered for FAL as part of their school curriculum, but they may choose to write the Home Language paper if they so wish.
How do learners enter?
Entries are only accepted through schools.
As the examination is based on an open-book system, every candidate receives an anthology and a study guide, the cost of which is included in the entry fee. While this adds to the cost of entering the Olympiad, we have found that an open-book examination produces more creative answers.
The organisers of the English Olympiad cannot permit the use of photocopies, for reasons of copyright.
Where can I get an Entry Form?
Please refer to the "Home" page (click on the tab "Home" at the top of this page). The Call for Entries and the official Entry Form are available to download from the Home page between 1 July and 30 September each year.