English Literature GCSE

The course

GCSE English Literature is often studied in addition to GCSE English Language. The literature course is designed to provide exposure to all genres of literature of high quality, from Shakespeare to the 21st century. In reading and writing about literature, students develop highly transferable analytical and technical skills. Far from simply being a ‘subject’, the study of English Literature draws together and develops broad cultural, historical and linguistic awareness. The course provides an excellent foundation for the study of English Literature at A ’Level.

What skills do I need?

You need willingness to engage with and take delight in the close reading and analysis of literary texts.

How is the course assessed?

There are two exams. Exam 1 assesses Shakespeare plays and the 19th-century novel. You will answer one question on each, firstly writing in detail on an extract from the text and then moving on to write about the text as a whole. You will study one Shakespeare play and one 19th century novel. Exam 1 is 1 hour 45 minutes and accounts for 40% of your Literature GCSE.

Exam 2 assesses your understanding of poetry and of a modern play or novel. You will answer three questions, one essay question on your studied play or novel, one comparative question on poems from the AQA anthology and one question on an unseen poem, going on to compare it with another unseen poem. Exam 2 is 2 hours 15 minutes and accounts for 60% of your Literature GCSE.

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AQA English Literature 8702 (reformed)