GCSE English Language

What is GCSE English Language?

The study of English not only provides skill in understanding and communicating effectively but in itself makes accessible a world of ideas and viewpoints from every culture. It underpins the ability of students to express themselves in other subjects, and it balances the disciplines of a range of studies.

There is now a more extensive investigation of oral English required in the specification. Coursework has also been replaced by a controlled assessment involving a timed supervised assignment based on student research in class and at home, as well as taught texts.

For the student these two subjects are vital. A grade C or above in English Language is a requisite for entry into all Higher Education and professions, and most sixth forms also require this minimum standard as a basis for A/S and A level

The Specification

OCR English Language J355


A651 Extended Literary Text and Imaginative Writing  Controlled assessment  30%
A652 Speaking, Listening and Spoken Language  Controlled assessment  30%
A680 Information and ideas  2 hour exam  30%

Course Content


A651 Extended Literary Text and Imaginative Writing
Section A Literary Text: Candidates are required to study and respond to one task from a choice of prose, drama, poetry or literary non-fiction tasks. The tasks encourage the candidate to study and respond to the texts in their entirety.
Section B Imaginative Writing: Candidates are required to respond to one exercise, completing two linked tasks.

A652 Speaking, Listening and Spoken Language
Section A Speaking and Listening: In this section, candidates are required to submit work in three assessment contexts:

  • individual extended contribution
  • group activity
  • drama-focussed activity

Section B Spoken Language: In this section, candidates are required to submit one task, in the written format.

A680 Information and ideas
Section A Non-fiction and Media: The tasks will be based on the reading of previously unseen authentic materials. Candidates will be provided with one Non-Fiction and one Media piece.

Section B Writing Information and Ideas: Candidates are required to produce one piece of continuous writing from a choice of two tasks on atopic broadly linked to the reading material provided in Section A.

Reading List

Likely text: "Notes from a small island": Bill Bryson.