Revise for your English GCSE

FREE REVISION GUIDE


A complete revision guide for AQA GCSE in English and English Literature

 
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This English revision guide has been used successfully by hundreds of students who wish to improve their grades in English and English Literature. Simply print the guide from this site and use your own copy of the English Revision Guide.

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You will find tips on how to succeed, guidance on exam technique and practice questions to try out.

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GCSE English &

 

Literature

 

·      For your English and English Literature GCSEs

 

you will sit THREE exams

 

 

·      Two exams are for your English GCSE and the

 

other is for your English Literature GCSE

 

·      Paper 1 is one hour 45 minutes long

 

·      Paper 2 is one hour 30 minutes long

 

English Paper One (1Hour 45 minutes)

 

Section A: Answer questions on non-

 

fiction material (e.g. travel writing,

 

leaflets, newspaper articles.)

 

Section B: Write a piece which argues,

 

persuades or advises. This will usually be

 

linked to the topic in Section A.

 

English Paper Two (1 Hour 30 mins)

 

 

 

 

Use an Anthology in this exam

 

Section A:

 

Answer one question on poetry from ‘Other Cultures

 

and Traditions’.

 

Section B:  Write a piece which informs,

 

explains or describes

 

 

English Literature (1 Hour 45

 

mins)

 

 

 

 

Use an Anthology and a copy of your set text in

 

this exam

 

Section A:  Answer one question on your

 

set text.

 

Section B:  Answer one question on the

 

literature poetry from your Anthology.

 

 

Mark Allocation

 

 

 

English

 

60% Exam

 

40 % Coursework – 20% Written

 

20% Oral

 

Coursework:     Original Writing

 

Media

 

Shakespeare

 

Wider Reading

 

 

Literature

 

70% Exam

 

30% Coursework

 

 

Coursework:     Shakespeare

 

Wider Reading

 

Twentieth Century Drama

 

English Paper One (1Hour 45 mins)

 

Section A:        Answer questions on non-fiction material

 

In this section you will be given extracts to read and answer questions on. Read the questions carefully and make sure you give the exact information required.

 

Practice using two newspaper front pages. Read the two articles and then answer the question "What are the two writers trying to get me to feel or do? How do I know this?".

 

When you have completed the question, answer these additional questions on the two articles:

 

A      Who do you think are the target audiences for the two articles? Explain how you know.

 

B      What are the aims of the writers of both articles? How do we know this?

 

C      How do the headlines affect the reader?

 

 


Section B:        Write a piece which argues, persuades or advises.

 

 

Look carefully at the choices in this section. Think about what you could include for each one before you make your choice. Remember that the question which may look the easiest may not be the one which you could do best at.

 

Always structure your answer – an argument should have an introduction, at least four points which are backed up with good reasons followed by a conclusion which closes the argument effectively.

 

Practice with the following example of a Section B set of questions.

 

1   Write a speech to be delivered to a group of senior teachers arguing that school rules should be relaxed to allow students more freedom.

 

2  Design a leaflet which persuades people to join a club or society which you run.

 

3  Write a speech for a Year 11 assembly which clearly advises your listeners on how to revise effectively for their exams.

 

4  Write a magazine article for a young persons’ magazine which argues the case for young offenders to be punished more severely.

 

5  Write a letter to a local business which aims to persuade them to sponsor a local youth football team of which you are a member.

 

6  Write an advice leaflet on how to look after a particular pet.

 

Some words which may be useful when structuring an argument:

 

Firstly

Secondly

Thirdly

In addition

Furthermore

On the one hand

On the other hand

Finally

In conclusion

 

Persuasive writing aims to directly involve the reader and make them feel as if they really should help out, contribute, give money or whatever you are trying to persuade them to do.

For example:

 

‘Imagine how you would feel if…’

‘We must pull together to avoid….’

‘Could you turn away from this………….?’

 

Advice needs to be clear and friendly with no room for confusion.

Show that you are someone who knows the answers and can be trusted.

 

 

 

 


Notes:


Notes:

English Paper Two (1 Hour 30 mins)

Use an Anthology in this exam

 

Section A:

 

Poems from Different Cultures and Traditions. (30 minutes)

 

 

You will have a choice of two questions in this section.

 

Remember that when writing about poetry, you should always include:

 

·        Comment on the words used and why they were chosen.

·        Comment on the images which the poet puts into your mind and why.

·        Quotes to prove your points.

·        Compare the poems chosen

·         

Practice using the following example of a set of Section A questions.

 

 

1       Many of the poems in this section deal with a struggle between two cultures. Using two poems  show how this struggle is explained.

 

2      Choose two poems which show the effect which different cultures have on individuals. Explain the effect and how it is portrayed.

 

3      How do two poems from this section help us to understand the feelings of people from other cultures?

 

4      Compare the ways in which poets present people in Two Scavengers in a Truck and one other poem from the Poems from Different Cultures and Traditions.

 

Write about:

·        What the different people are like

·        What the poet thinks about them

·        How the language brings out what the people are like

·        Which poem you prefer and why

 

 


Notes:


Notes:

 

 

Section  B

 

Writing to inform, explain or describe

 

Practice for this section using the following examples of exam questions

 

Remember to:

·       Spend five minutes planning your material

·       Write two to three sides in your answer book

·       Spend five minutes checking:

-                    your paragraphing

-                    your punctuation

-                    your spelling

 

1       Write a letter to a new local supermarket informing them why you will not be a customer when it opens.

 

2      Write a letter to your local council to explain why many young people are not interested in elections or politics.

 

3        Write a description of your bedroom as you see it and as your mother/father/guardian sees it.

 

4        Write an article for a family magazine describing what it is like to be a sixteen year old these days and explaining how parents and other adults can do more to make life better for youngsters

 

5      Describe your favourite place.

 

 

Writing to describe is an area which gives you a lot of opportunities to impress the examiners.

You should aim to create atmosphere by including what you see, what you hear, what you smell and what you can touch.

Make the examiner feel as if they know what you are describing by creating an effective atmosphere. For example:

 

‘The glinting windows of the school glared down at me as I approached. The rain from the grey clouds stung my face’.

 

Or

 

‘The windows of the school sparkled brightly in the afternoon sun like the twinkling eyes of a kindly grandparent’.

 

 

 Practice further by writing descriptions of the following:

 

·       The room you are in

·        A person you know well

·        A person you have seen on the bus, train or street

·        A frightening place

·        A pleasant place

·        A busy place

·       A quiet place

 

 

 

 

English Literature (1 hour 30 mins)

Use an Anthology and a copy of your set text in this exam

 

 

Section A:  Answer one question on your set text.

 

You should spend one hour on this section.

 

There will be a choice of two questions on your set text. Make sure you understand what the questions are asking for, choose one and answer fully. Remember to use quotes as evidence to prove your points.

 

Use the following example questions to practice for this section. For revision, you should try all the questions on your particular set text.

 

Rather than trying to write a full essay for each question, you could write a detailed essay plan for each one to assist you with your revision.

 

 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

 

1       What is the importance of Crooks to the novel?

 

2      Most of the characters in ‘Of Mice and Men’ are insecure and looking for a settled life. Is this true? Use three characters to explain your response.

 

3      Why is George and Lennie’s dream so important to them?

 

4      Describe how different characters and incidents change the atmosphere in the bunkhouse

 

Write about:

·        George’s suspicions about the bunkhouse beds

·        The ranch owner questioning George and Lennie’s late arrival

·        The killing of Candy’s dog

·        Curley’s attack on Lennie

 

5      Discuss the relationship of George and Lennie.

 

Write about:

·        Their travelling and working together

·        How they relate to other characters in the novel

·        Their dream

·        Incidents that occur on the ranch involving them both

·        Lennie’s death

 

6      ‘Of Mice and Men’ ends where it begins, with George and Lennie alone by the pool. What is your response to the ending of the novel?

 

Write about:

·        Your feelings about George’s decision to shoot Lennie

·        Ways in which Steinbeck prepares us for this ending

·        Why the writer chooses to end the story in this way

·        Whether the ending suggests that the friendship of George and Lennie was pointless.

 

7  Write about the importance of the different places in ‘Of Mice and Men’.

 

 

Section B – Literature Poetry

 

Answer one question on the poems from Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage and the Pre 1914 Poetry Bank.

 

 

Remember that when writing about poetry, you should always include:

 

·        Comment on the words used and why they were chosen.

·        Comment on the images which the poet puts into your mind and why.

·        Quotes to prove your points.

·        Comparisons between the poems you are writing about

 

 

You will be given a choice of questions on the sections of poetry which you have studied.

 

If you are asked to write about three or four poems, remember to write about at least three.

 

One of the poems you choose must be a pre 1900 poem.

Practice using the following examples of Section A questions.

 

Rather than trying to write a full essay for each question, you could write a detailed essay plan for each one for revision purposes.

 

 

1        Choose three or four poems from Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage and the Pre 1914 Poetry Bank. How do these poems explore the relationship between parents and their children?

 

2      Choose three or four poems from Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage and the Pre 1914 Poetry Bank. Show how these poems explain the motivation of people who kill others.

 

3      Choose three or four poems from Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage and the Pre 1914 Poetry Bank which deal with the feelings of a particular character. Explain how the poets present their characters.

 

4      Compare three or four poems in which the writers convey their feelings in striking or original ways.

 

Write about:

·        What sort of feelings the images convey

·        How the writers use language to convey the feelings

·        How successful each poet is in creating an effect on the reader

       

5      Choose three poems which display selfishness in the main character. What do the poets feel about these characters and how do they make us understand their feelings?

 

6      Choose three poems which deal with loss or death. Comment on the different ways in which different poets present their ideas on loss or death.

 

 

7      Choose three poems which you think have similar themes. Explain your choices.

 

Write about:

·        The situations described in each poem

·        How the use of language tells you about the people’s feelings and attitudes

·        Why you respond particularly to these poems

 

8  Choose three poems which have one main character. Write about how the different poets present their main character.

 

9  Choose three poems which deal with crime. Explain what the poets have to say about the crimes described.