Passing GCSE English Language is essential! This is because English and maths are seen as the core subjects in education. Therefore, if you don’t pass GCSE English Language, you will have to repeat the exams until you do. This may be essential in order to be accepted into your chosen college, sixth form or apprenticeship. Due to this, it’s vital that you revise as effectively as you can! English language can definitely be hard to revise for because you have no idea which text you will have to analyse on the day. However, it is possible if you have the right techniques.
The best way to revise for GCSE English Language is to practise the different types of questions as much as you can. There will always be questions involving language and structural features, regardless of which exam board you will be assessed on. Therefore, it is imperative that you practise picking out the different features from texts and repeatedly think about how you would use these, in order to produce a thorough analysis.
The GCSE English Language papers are definitely tough to revise for. However, don’t give up hope! Read on to discover the best techniques to prepare you for the real exams.
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How do you revise effectively for GCSE English Language?
Some students can revise for hours and still not do well on the GCSE English language exams. This is not because they are not clever enough. This is because they are not revising effectively. If this sounds like you, then read on to discover the top five tips for revision.
- Do practise papers – This is definitely the most beneficial way of revising. Practise papers allow you to familiarise yourself with the exam structure. The question types will also be the exact same that you have on your real paper. The only difference is the texts. Therefore, do as many papers as you possibly can.
- Watch videos– There are plenty of videos online which can help you revise for the papers. There are even some from past students who can give their own personal tips. However, a much-trusted revision tool is Mr. Bruff’s videos. You can find them easily on YouTube. Mr. Bruff also makes revision guides, which can be found on Amazon if you click here.
- Practise the questions with different texts– After you have completed the past papers, you may feel as if you can’t revise anymore. This isn’t true! Grab your favourite novel and analyse the text by picking out language and structural features. You could even look at other exam board papers to use the texts. However, the questions will be different, so don’t use these.
- Present yourself with different images online for the writing section– You probably already know that the big question on English language papers is the creative writing one. Practise quickly thinking of story ideas and descriptions by looking at random images and thinking about what you would write.
- Read– This probably won’t feel like revision. However, it is effective. Reading can broaden your vocabulary. This will definitely help with the big writing question. You are more likely to get good marks because you will impress the examiner! Reading is important for other things too. Find out why by clicking here to read an article about this on Think Student.
You can check out other revision techniques for your GCSE revision in this great Think Student article.
How do you revise for GCSE English Language paper 1?
Different exam boards have different versions for paper one. However, they all contain two sections. Section A contains questions about the text or texts presented to you. Section B then contains a large writing question, which is worth the most marks in the paper.
Generally, paper one is the fiction paper. This is found in the AQA and Edexcel exam board. For more on this, check out the specific exam boards’ headings below.
Therefore, to prepare for this, it is best to read lots of fiction texts. These can definitely be texts that you enjoy. Revision doesn’t have to be boring! You can then think about how language is used to create an impact on the reader.
Zoom in on specific words and identify what they are. For example, an adjective or verb would be a great identification of technique. Explain how this word creates an overall effect. In simple terms, write a lot about a little. Then, if you can, think of an alternative effect which the same word creates. Next, think about the structure.
One great tip is to always write about how the start and ending of a text link together. Also think about the sentence lengths. Writing about these features will definitely help you gain marks!
Whilst reading the fiction texts, keep the creative writing question in mind. You could borrow specific descriptions or phrases from books. Taking tips from an author will definitely help you create a masterpiece of writing for the examiner.
How do you revise for GCSE English Language paper 2?
Similarly, to paper one, different exam boards also have different versions for paper two. For the exam boards AQA and Edexcel, this is the non-fiction paper. In comparison, OCR has paper one as the non-fiction paper and paper two as the fiction paper.
Regardless, you need to make sure that you are practising as much as you can, specific to your own exam board. Not all paper ones from different exam boards have comparison questions. However, all paper twos definitely do! Read the headings below to find out more about 3 of the main exam boards’ papers.
Due to this, it is beneficial to compare as many different texts as you can. You could search up articles online, on topics which you are interested in. Then compare the different language and structural techniques between another text. You could use somebody’s autobiography for example.
Again, videos can also be useful. First Rate Tutors on YouTube give some great tips for the AQA exam board. Their videos can also be useful to other exam boards. However, there are definitely specific videos to your exam board on YouTube. This company also offers courses which can help you revise. If you want to investigate these, click here to be taken to the First Rate Tutors paper two course.
What should you revise for the GCSE English Language papers?
As already stated, you should read as many texts as possible. These should be a range of fiction and non-fiction. You can then pick out different language and structural features, which can be used in the exam. Therefore, it is imperative that you actually revise the different language and structural features.
The main different language features are easy to learn. For example, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and nouns are the main ones which you could potentially comment on. Literary devices are also important. These include similes, metaphors, sibilance, alliteration and personification.
You can find the definitions of these if you click here, to be taken to the BBC bitesize website for English language tips. These techniques definitely sound like a mouthful! To make the definitions of these techniques easier to learn, the best tip would be to make revision cards.
Write each technique on one side of the card and the definition of this on the other side. This revision technique can also be used for structural features. It can be confusing to learn the differences between compound, complex and simple sentences. However, if you create revision cards and then test yourself repeatedly, you will be able to learn the differences in no time at all!
Remember, the literature papers are different to the language papers! If you want to know how to revise literature effectively, click here, to read an article on Think Student on this.
English language and literature can definitely be confused with each other. However, they are useful in different ways and require different skills! To find out more information about this, check out this article on Think Student.
What is the structure of a GCSE English Language exam?
Each English language exam paper is expertly crafted. This is because the different questions prepare you for the large creative writing question at the end of each paper. This is because analysing the different language and structural techniques in texts that different authors have written can give you new ideas. The texts can make you think about how you can use language and structure to create your own effective piece.
As a result, it is so important that you prepare fully for all of the questions in each paper, using the tips in this article. This means you can create a crafted piece of writing.
What is the exam paper structure in an AQA GCSE English Language exam?
The AQA exam board has two papers. The first is the fiction text paper. You will be given one text and will answer four questions on this. The first question requires you to write simple sentences about the text. You don’t need to revise for this question. You just need to make sure that you read the given text thoroughly.
Question two is the language question and question three is the structure question. Question four is where you will be given a statement about the text and will have to evaluate this. Finally, question five requires you to create a fictional piece of writing. Sometimes you may be asked to write a description. Other times, it could be a story.
Paper two is the non-fiction paper and requires you to compare two non-fiction texts. Question one is a simple multiple-choice question. Question two asks you to write a summary of the differences between the two texts.
Question three is the language question and question four is the evaluation question. The last question is another piece of creative writing. However, this time it is non-fiction. For example, it could be a speech or a letter.
For more information about the AQA GCSE English Language exam, check out its specification from the AQA website here. You can also look at an example of these exam papers in this section of the AQA website.
What is the exam paper structure for an Edexcel GCSE English Language exam?
Paper one for Edexcel is also the fictional text paper. It also contains questions where you have to answer with simple statements. However, the paper differs to the AQA exam board because question three asks you about language and structure together, instead of separately.
It also contains an evaluation question and then a large creative writing question. Paper two is a comparison paper. The first three questions are based on text one and the three questions after that on text two. However, question seven is a comparison question. This is followed by you having to write a large piece of non-fiction.
For more information the Edexcel GCSE English Language exam, check out its specification from the Edexcel website here. You can also look at an example of these exam papers in this section of the Edexcel website.
What is the exam paper structure for an OCR GCSE English Language exam?
OCR is a little different to the other exam boards. Both paper one and paper two contain two texts which must be compared. Paper one is the non-fiction paper. Question one is the statement question and question two requires a comparison.
Question three focuses on the language and structural features of one text and question four is the evaluation. The last question requires you to write a non-fiction piece.
Paper two follows nearly the same layout as paper one. However, there are two questions based on language and structure instead of a summary question. This paper is based on fictional texts. This means that the last question is based on a creative fictional piece, instead of non-fiction.
For more information about the OCR GCSE English Language exam, check out its specification from the OCR website here. You can also check out an example of these exam papers in this section of the OCR website.
There may be differences between each exam board. However, all of the exams require the same skills. To find out what these are and how to get a nine in GCSE English Language, click here to read an article on Think Student.
What should you consider for your GCSE English Language revision?
As you can see, there a plenty of things which you can do to revise for GCSE English Language. Now it’s up to you to do them. If you are unsure about when you should start revising for your GCSEs, check out this article on Think Student, which offers some tips.
Motivation can also be a struggle when you are trying your hardest to revise. Sometimes, it can seem too hard and tiring. However, you need to remember the consequences and how amazing it would feel if you got the grades that you want to.
If you need some tips on how to motivate yourself, check out this article on Think Student.
Armed with these tips and tricks, hopefully you are ready to revise effectively and efficiently for English language. Believe in yourself and work hard. Those grade nines are in reach!