Frequently Asked Questions
What is the format of the examination?
Candidates are required to prepare for a 3-hour examination, which uses the open-book system. This means that the set text (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 (50 marks)
- 1 question from Section B – creative response (30 marks)
- all the questions from Section C – language (20 marks)
What is the syllabus for 2020 and when can I start to enter?
2020 Theme: "Consequences"
2020 Title of anthology: Aftermath
We are currently, as of August 2019, accepting entries for the 2020 Olympiad until the closing date. A study guide will be posted to each candidate together with an anthology.
2020 Closing Date: 11 October 2019
When and where?
The 3-hour examination will be written at your school on Tuesday 3 March 2020.
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 Top 15 candidates can 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 in 2020, that is, those learners who are currently in Grades 8 to 11.
The Home Language 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 can choose to enter some candidates for the Home Language exam paper, and some for the First Additional Language exam paper. Please write this clearly in the relevant column on the Entry Form.
Candidates writing the FAL exam paper must be registered for FAL as a Matric subject, but they can also choose to write the Home Language paper if they 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, which are both 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. It is illegal in terms of copyright laws.
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, Entry Form and Principal's letter are available to download from the Home page.
What are the entry fees made up of?
The entry fees are made up of an admin feee (this includes postage of materials, printing and general administration) and R (cost to be announced) for the anthology used for the examination.