GCSE English Course Information

Course structure

Students will complete both qualifications over a period of two years. Units from both subjects will be taught in each year to take advantage of crossover topics where possible.

How will I be assessed?

English Language:

100% external examination
Two exam papers:

Paper 1

Explorations in creative reading and writing (fiction). 50% of overall GCSE.

Two sections
• Section A: Reading. Students are given an unseen extract from a creative/fiction text and asked a series of reading questions to test understanding. 40 marks available. 1 hour and 45 minutes.

• Section B: Writing. Students must craft a piece of writing that is securely focused on the correct audience, form and purpose. 40 marks available. 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Paper 2

Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives (non-fiction). 50% of overall GCSE.

Two sections
• Section A: Reading. Students are given two pieces of source material that are non-fiction, one pre 20th-century and the other post 20th-century. Both texts are linked thematically. Students answer a series of reading questions to test understanding (40 marks available).
• Section B: Writing. Students must craft a piece of writing that is securely focused on the correct audience, form and purpose. (40 marks available).

English Literature:

Two exam papers:

Paper 1

Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel. 50% of overall GCSE.

Two sections:
• Section A: Shakespeare. Students need to study a Shakespeare play from the AQA approved list in its entirety. They are then given a short extract from any part of the play and asked a question on character, theme or plot. They must demonstrate close textual analysis in response to the extract and then develop their answer to include comments on other parts of the text / the text overall. (30 marks available for content and 4 for SPaG).
• Section B: As above, but focused on a 19th century novel instead of a Shakespeare play (30 marks available).

Paper 2

Modern texts and poetry

Two sections:
• Section A: Modern texts. Students will need to study a modern text from the AQA approved list. They must then answer an exam-style question on the text relating to character, theme and/or plot (30 marks available).
• Section B: Poetry. Students will need to study one cluster (a collection of 15 thematically linked poems) from the AQA anthology. They will be given a random poem from this collection and asked to analyse it and compare it to another poem of their choice from the anthology. They will also be given two unseen poems and asked to consider how the writer uses language to present their ideas (24 marks available).