Most students think that the exams for GCSE English Language are just written assessments. This is true for the overall GCSE English Language grade. However, did you know there is also a separate English grade for speaking? GCSE English Language assesses students via a speaking presentation to generate a separate grade for a student’s speaking ability.
This can take many different forms but overall requires students to speak in front of an audience. This can seem daunting to many students, as public speaking can be scary! Even if you are scared of public speaking, this presentation is only short. As a result, if you believe in yourself, you will be able to do it.
The exam boards recommend that the GCSE English speaking assessment lasts ten minutes. This will include all parts of the presentation, such as the student speaking and the questions. This is true for the AQA, Edexcel and OCR exam boards. Presentations are not advised to go over or under the ten minutes.
If you want to find out more about how long the GCSE English speaking assessment should last and what else it consists of, check out the rest of this article!
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Is the length the same for all exam boards?
All UK GCSE exam boards seem to agree that ten minutes is an appropriate length of time for the GCSE English Language speaking assessment. This includes the candidates being questioned and giving their answers.
If you want to read about this on the AQA website, click here. Alternatively, details about the ten-minute duration of the presentation can be found on the OCR website here, the Pearson Edexcel website if you click here or on this document from WJEC Eduqas.
All of these links will give information about this assessment specific to the corresponding exam board. This ten-minute time limit is true for all students and no extra time is given to any.
Is extra time given for questions?
As previously mentioned, there is no extra time given for questions! The ten minutes for your presentation have to include your speech or other form of talking and then time for receiving and answering questions.
As a result, your actual presentation doesn’t need to be long at all! In my class, we were told to only give a five-minute presentation. This allowed five minutes of being given questions and giving good answers.
The questions and answers are just as important as the actual presentation, as it shows that you have thoroughly researched your topic.
What happens if your speaking assessment is too long or too short?
All of the guidelines suggest that the presentation has to be ten minutes long. This is important as it allows marking to be standardised, as all students will have been given the same amount of time to present.
As a result, your presentation may be cut short if it is too long, depending on what your school chooses. However, this will most likely mean that you will just be asked less questions. The question-and-answer part of the presentation is compulsory, so as long as you answer a couple, you will be fine.
Likewise, if your actual presentation is too short, the time will be made up for through the asking of questions. As a result, you will always meet that goal of ten minutes.
If you want to find out more about the GCSE English Language speaking presentation in general, check out this page from the government website.
How do you fill the time in a GCSE English speaking presentation?
When you have decided your topic and start researching, you may find that you are actually struggling with things to say about it! If this is the case, don’t worry! Eventually, you will get there.
If you are arguing something, you need to gather as many points as you can to support your argument, then talk about these in great detail. After you have done this, a good thing to do is to actually consider the other side of the debate.
This will not only make your presentation longer but also more engaging, as it shows that you are able to think in different ways. If you take these tips on board, you can make any argument last at least five minutes, leaving plenty of room for questions.
If you want to find out more about structuring your speaking presentation, check out this article from BBC Bitesize. Alternatively, if you want to find out how to actually begin your speaking presentation, check out this article from Think Student, for tips on how to start a speech.
How do you prepare for questions for the GCSE English Language speaking presentation?
The only way you can prepare for the questions you will be asked is to make sure that you know your topic inside and out! As a result, you need to choose a topic which is quite familiar to you or relatively easy to research.
If you are struggling for ideas, check out this article from Think Student, which gives a list of topics you could use. You could also hint to your audience what questions would be good to ask, such as not developing on certain points. This should encourage your audience to ask about them!
How much time do you have to prepare for the GCSE English speaking presentation?
The time you are given to prepare for the GCSE English Language speaking presentation varies across schools. However, your teachers will not want to set you up for failure! As a result, you would be given plenty of time to prepare.
In my personal experience, we were given over a month, which was plenty of time! However, you need to make sure that you don’t keep putting it off to the last minute.
It may be a short presentation. However, you still need to know it really well. This is because you could be asked difficult questions which may catch you out if you don’t thoroughly know your topic.
As a result, it is best to create a plan for the preparation of your presentation. Set yourself goals each week, such as finishing making cue cards for you to read or creating a couple of PowerPoint slides.
If you want to discover how you can increase your focus and concentration, so you are more likely to complete the project, check out this article from Think Student.
If you don’t keep postponing the making of your presentation, you will have plenty of time to complete it! If you want to discover the best ways to give a presentation, check out this article from Think Student.
What does the GCSE English speaking presentation consist of?
All you have to do for this presentation, is to speak in front of an audience for ten minutes. Most students think that this has to involve a PowerPoint presentation and having to write a speech. However, this is not the case at all!
You don’t have to do a speech! You could do a debate, a dialogue, a monologue or something else you may have thought of. You can choose any topic at all, as long as it is approved by the teacher.
You can also use pre-prepared notes, such as cue cards. You will not be marked down for this! Then after you have spoken, your audience will ask you questions that you will be required to answer.
You will most likely be recorded so that the marks your teacher has given you can be moderated. The government has set up a fair way of marking, so that everyone is assessed in the same way.
You can read up about how they have done this on this document from the government website.
How long are the GCSE English Language written exams?
When you receive your grades on results day, your GCSE English Language speaking qualification will be separate to your English language GCSE.
This is because your GCSE grade for English language will be calculated based just on your written exams. As you can probably guess, the written exams take much longer than the ten minutes of the speaking assessment!
You will have to sit two papers and they have differing times, based on the different exam boards. This can be observed in the table below:
|Exam board||Paper 1||Paper 2|
|AQA||1 hour, 45 minutes||1 hour, 45 minutes|
|OCR||2 hours||2 hours|
|Edexcel||1 hour, 45 minutes||2 hours, 5 minutes.|
You can discover the differences between the exam boards papers and more information about the GCSE English Language qualification in general, if you check out this article from Think Student.
Good luck researching and presenting!