What will be in the AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 2 exam and how long is it?

Books from above
by Hayley Pearce | 22 May 2019

AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 2: Key facts

When is it? Thursday 23rd May in the morning

How long is the exam? Two hours and 15 minutes

What is in it? Modern prose or drama texts, poetry anthology and unseen poetry

How many marks are available? 96

How many people sit it? More than 404,000

Date and time of AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 2

AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 2 (8702/2) is on the morning of Thursday 23rd May 2019. Most exam centres will start the exam at 9.00am, but check with yours in advance as centres can start exams by up to 30 minutes earlier or later than this time. Most exam centres will tell you to arrive at least 10 minutes before the exam starts.

You will be assessed on your modern prose or drama text, the poetry anthology and unseen poetry.

AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 2 is being talked about on The Student Room forums.

Official AQA advice states that in the GCSE English Literature exams, you should “demonstrate your knowledge of the text by ‘pointing’ to particular moments. If you use a direct reference, make sure it’s relevant to your answer, and that you can say something useful about it.

"You don’t get extra marks for more quotations, but you do get more marks for making plenty of interesting comments about the references you’ve selected.”

What to expect from AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 2

The paper title is AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry and the paper lasts for two hours and 15 minutes.

There are 96 marks available in this paper, and it makes up 60% of your AQA GCSE English Literature exam. AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 1 makes up the other 40% of the exam.

Students can be awarded grades 9 to 1 in the AQA GCSE English Literature exam.

Find out more about the 9-1 GCSE grading system.

Make sure you always know the structure of the paper you are sitting. Read the instructions on the paper thoroughly before you start.

Section A is on modern texts, written post-1914. The six drama texts are JB Priestley's An Inspector Calls, Willy Russell's Blood Brothers, Alan Bennett's The History Boys, Dennis Kelly's DNA, Simon Stephens' The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (play script) and Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey.

The six prose texts are William Golding's Lord of the Flies, Telling Tales from the AQA Anthology, George Orwell's Animal Farm, Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, Meera Syal's Anita and Me and Stephen Kelman's Pigeon English.

Answer one essay question from a choice of two on the modern prose or drama text you studied.

Section B is on the poetry anthology. There are two clusters, each containing 15 poems: love and relationships, and power and conflict. The poems in each cluster are thematically linked and were written between 1789 and the present day.

Answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from your cluster, which you will have memorised.

Section C is on unseen poetry.

Answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

There are 30 marks available for answering the questions in Sections A and B, with an extra four marks in Section A for Assessment Objective 4 (AO4). AO4 assesses the following skills: Use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation. There are 32 marks available in Section C.

AQA gives its official advice on what you need to do in your GCSE English Literature exams.

What to bring with you to the AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 2 exam

  • A black ink or black ball-point pen
  • That's all! No dictionary or books are allowed
Be Exam Smart

TSR community advice on AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 2

Amiraegann says: "I’m listening to the audiobook on YouTube then writing down key quotes I find fit themes."

And theworld223 says: "I would recommend not predicting what could up and just trying to learn as much as you can. Last year, the poem and question was identical to a specimen paper which no one thought would happen. Thankfully it was an extremely general theme (power) and an easy poem (Ozymandias) so it worked out fine. I somehow compared it to Tissue."

GCSE results day 2019

If you’re taking GCSE exams this year, results day for you will be Thursday, 22 August.

Most schools and exam centres will be open for students to collect their results from 10am.

Go to our exam results homepage for more info.

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