Some students absolutely love to read. However, many students don’t. If you are the former type of student, then you may have an advantage over students who do not read! However, if you are the latter type of student, not reading can be a problem when you are trying to prepare for your GCSE English Language exams. Reading is essential in order to pass this exam and get the grade that you deserve.
The best books to read for GCSE English Language are a range of fiction and non-fiction books. You should read books by different authors, in different styles, for different genres. By reading around a variety of work, you can be better prepared for unseen texts in your exams.
Disclaimer: This article reflects the opinions and personal recommendations of one Think Student writer, and not Think Student as a whole.
Finding books to help with the English Language exams can be difficult to find. Hopefully, this article will be useful as a starting point, to help you choose books which can prepare you to sit the English language exams.
What types of books are best to read for GCSE English Language?
In the GCSE English Language exams, you will be given a mixture of fiction and non-fiction texts between the two papers. Therefore, it is useful to read fiction and non-fiction. Non-fiction narratives can include texts such as articles and biographies. Whilst reading these texts, it’s a good idea to practise analysing them.
The best way to find non-fiction texts is to look at past exam papers and read the previous texts used. Reading these non-fiction texts will help you to get used to their style and allow you to identify techniques which are continually used.
Most students don’t read non-fiction. Therefore, reading non-fiction texts could potentially give you an advantage to others, as it will help to familiarise you with their format and style for the exam. To discover all the different types of non-fiction texts, check out this BBC Bitesize page.
It is also important to read fiction. Again, looking at past exam papers can help you to choose which type of books to read. Well-known books are normally studied for GCSE English language. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you read as many as possible.
As a personal recommendation, some good starting books include ‘The Metamorphis’ by Franz Kafka, ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ by Gareth Stein and ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath. Click this link by Schudio.com to find some exam questions based on these books.
What revision books are best to read for GCSE English Language?
There are definitely plenty of revision guides which are useful for GCSE English Language. Your school will often have good revision books in the library. There may also be revision books available in your local library or bookshops. One of the most useful, which definitely helped me when I was in your position, is the Mr. Bruff revision guide.
This guide can be found on Amazon if you click here. The author also creates videos on YouTube, which are extremely useful when you feel the need to revise in a different way. Reading is definitely a great way to revise, however, too much can lead to low concentration.
I found Mr. Bruff’s videos extremely helpful. This guide is specific to the AQA exam board; it still offers some helpful tips and tricks for the other exam boards.
A good revision guide for the Edexcel exam board by Pearson can be found on Amazon if you click here. It also includes exam questions, which will definitely be useful to help you revise.
Finally, a great revision guide for OCR is a book simply called ‘OCR GCSE English language’. It can be found on Amazon if you click here. This book even contains activities to help with spelling, grammar and punctuation. Many students forget about these elements in writing. However, they are extremely important.
The other exam boards not mentioned will definitely have their own revision guides, tailored to their specifications. Guides which also contain exam questions are extremely useful. If you want to discover more ways on how to revise for GCSE English language, check out this article on Think Student.
Why is it important to read for GCSE English Language?
The GCSE English Language exams are different to other subjects you have to study at GCSE. In most subjects at school, you are given key facts to learn. You may have to memorise case studies and learn specific blocks of information. However, for GCSE English Language, there is one major skill required. This skill is to be able to read well.
You will be given questions about the unfamiliar texts you are presented with. This requires you to analyse and scrutinise the texts extremely closely. Missing simple points can be detrimental to your grade.
Therefore, making sure that you are well read before the exam means that you would have had hours of reading practice. As a result, you are less likely to miss out key pieces of information. You are also more likely to pinpoint key techniques, which shape the text as a whole.
Reading before the exam also means that you could potentially become quicker at reading. This means that during the exam, you may have more time, compared to others who don’t read. You could have more time to focus on analysing the text, rather than struggling to read all of the sentences.
Everybody knows that the exams for GCSE English language are tough. The only way you can really prepare for them is to practice. The best way to practice is to read. Check out this article on Think Student to also discover why reading is important for life beyond the GCSE English language exam.
Take these book recommendations on board and look out for your own too. There are plenty of books out there and all will help in some way. The most important thing is that you enjoy what you’re reading!