Lower Secondary English syllabus Overview

Cambridge Lower Secondary English is designed for learners who have English as a first language and can be used in any cultural context. Cambridge Lower Secondary English curriculum empowers learners in their application of English, and encourages life-long enthusiasm for reading, writing and spoken communication. It develops communication skills in English that learners can apply in everyday situations and in study. It also equips them with transferable language skills for interrogating and producing spoken and written texts, and working collaboratively. Together the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills acquired through Cambridge Lower Secondary English support learners’ overall intellectual, creative and social development.

When learners start Stage 7 of Cambridge Lower Secondary English, they should already have:

  • well-developed English speaking and listening skills
  • experience of reading and writing in English.

Previously, the syllabus was under the 1111 code. A new curriculum framework was published in 2020 for first teaching in 2021 with the first checkpoint tests in May 2023. The changes do not have major effects on teaching and learning. Unlike the previous syllabus that tested all the three stage, 0861 Instead of our current model which applies to three stages, 0861 only assesses the final stage of Cambridge Lower Secondary (stage 9)

Lower secondary English exams are assessed in two papers: Non Fiction and Fiction.

Paper 1: Non Fiction.

This paper mainly tests Reading and writing.

Section A: Comprehension (25 Marks)

Section B: Writing (25 Marks)– Text types include letters, magazine articles, newreports, reviews, talks, diary

Paper 2: Fiction

This paper as well tests Reading and Writing

Section A: Comprehension (25 marks)

Section B: Writing (25 Marks)– narratives majorly tested



Section A of both paper 1 and 2 tests your reading skills. To perform well in the comprehension questions, you must be in a position to critically read and analyse the passages, recognizing the purpose, structure, tone, language and effects achieved by the writers.

Important tips

  • Be guided by the number of marks per question. A 1-mark question normally requires a simple answer while 2 marks demand about 2 different ideas.
  • You must use your own words in questions that demand so
  • If a question requires that you support your answer with evidence and quotations, simply cop paste these quotes from the text.
  • Be keen on questions that ask you for a single word or phrase
  • Don’t spend more than 30 minutes in this section


Section B of both paper 1 and 2 tests writing. You will be expected to express yourself clearly, coherently and adopting the right format. Here is a breakdown of how your work is assessed.  

Creation of texts -5 Marks

You should express your ideas in a consistent style that sustains the reader’s interest.

You should effectively manipulate the features and conventions of the relevant text type- letters, magazine articles, reviews, diary, narratives etc

Effective use of appropriate structural, linguistic and literary features.

The correct point of view is used and sustained throughout.

Vocabulary and language- 3 Marks

Ambitious vocabulary is accurately used for the specific purpose and text type.

Conscious language choices are made to shape the intended purpose and effect

Grammar and punctuation- 7 Marks

Grammar is used accurately throughout the text. For example, there is:

  • a wide range of sentence types manipulated and/or adapted for effect.
  • grammatical features are used effectively to contribute to the overall development of the text.
  • Consistent use of formal and/or informal register to enhance meaning according to context, purpose and audience.

Punctuation is accurate:

  • Use of a wide range of punctuation for effect.
  • Conventions of layout are always applied effectively and consistently e.g., bullet points.

Structure of texts- 7 Marks

The response is well-organised using a wide range of organizational features accurately and effectively.

Ideas are developed with chronologically throughout the text – from an effective introduction to a successful conclusion.

Paragraphs are used successfully to structure the content. There is effective cohesion within and between paragraphs.

An effective range of carefully chosen sentence openings and connectives are used appropriately to support content.

Spellings- 3 Marks

Spelling is usually correct throughout the work written.

Important Checkpoint Topics