English Language GCSE

The course

English is a compulsory subject at GCSE level and there are very good reasons for this. A command of the English Language will not only gain you a GCSE but is now designed to equip you with skills that you need to be successful in life. If you can express yourself confidently, read and understand a wide range of written material and organise and shape your thoughts in writing you can participate fully in society. A good level of written English is necessary for almost every subject you choose to study and will improve your results overall. English Language is not a ‘subject’ but a vital life skill in an age where our ability to communicate has never been more important.

What skills do I need?

You need the capacity to engage with reading a wide variety of texts from the c19th-c21st, including literature, non-fiction, reviews and journalism. You will develop the necessary skills to write effectively and coherently using standard English with correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.

How is the course assessed?

There are two written examinations, each accounting for 50% of your marks and each of 1 hour 45 minutes duration. Unit 1 consists of reading a variety of texts and answering shorter questions, followed by an extended question in which you will produce your own descriptive or narrative writing.

Unit 2 will consist of reading and writing about one non- fiction text and one literary non-fiction text, followed by your own writing to ‘present a viewpoint’.

Each paper will require you to read and evaluate texts critically, make comparisons about the ways in which language is used, summarise information, and then use the knowledge you have gained to inform and improve your own writing.

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AQA English Language 8700 (reformed)