GCSE English: Exam Question Tips

An article written by TES has outlined the best ways to maximise time in a GCSE English exam. The three main ways to maximise marks are:

  1. Use annotation time wisely

Make most of reading extracts during the advised reading time of 15 minutes for both papers.

For Paper 1, where the source is just one text, annotate or highlight key words or phrases that you want to refer back to when answering either the use-of-language question (Question 2) or the structure question (Question 3).

  1. The reading assessment

For Paper 1 and 2 (questions 1-4), once you have read the whole text, make sure you are using the right section of text for each answer (specific line references are provided for Paper 1, questions 1, 2 and 4, and specific line references and specific source texts are provided for Paper 2, questions 1 and 3).

For Paper 2, where two source texts are provided, the annotation or highlighting during the advised reading time should be focused on similarities or differences in viewpoint. This will help flag up clear points for exploration in question 2 and question 4, and save time.

Also, only Question 4 requires exploration of methods used to convey the similarities or differences.

  1. Writing response

For both papers, the writing response in question 5 is rewarded for the content, the way in which it is organised and for technical accuracy.

To answer this effectively, plan what you intend to write before making a start. The aim is to make sure your written response is focused, has a strong sense of the purpose and is written clearly.

For Paper 2, question 5, the writing focuses on the ability to work through different perspectives. Make sure you avoid mistakes, such as contradicting yourself which undermines clarity and purpose of the answer. For both writing questions, it is better to a have a plan followed by shorter, well-crafted responses rather than longer responses that lose their focus.

26th February 2019

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