how do you compare two poems in the English literature exam?
Read the both through first and annotate.
Find the linking theme (often the title or the last line are a good place to see what the poems are really about)
Start with 'Both these poems are on the theme of....' 'insert name of poet here' suggests that.... while 'poet B' seems to be saying that...
Write a series of paragraphs, making sure that most of them mention and quote both poems. Within the paragraphs use conjunctions such as 'whereas' or 'however'.
Mention poetic techniques but always explain their effect. Don't just list features.
E.g. "Sassoon shows anger to the public 'you smug-faced crowds'. The direct address makes his criticism stronger, with 'smug-faced' suggesting that the people are feeling pleased with themselves and have no understanding of the war. Similarly, Owen also used direct address when he wrote 'my friend, you would not tell...'. Owen is being ironic in his use of the word 'friend' and like Sassoon he is also aiming his anger at a particular type of person.
Another similarity is that..."
Don't lose sight of the poem as a whole. Sometimes students write about lots of different details without really showing that they have understood what the whole poem is actually about.