GCSE English Language exams and revision: AQA explains what you need to do

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Our series on exam advice continues with tips from AQA on GCSE English Language

To help you make the most of your remaining revision time, we’ve worked with exam board AQA to create a series of exam advice articles.

In each of these features, you’ll find advice and easy-to-follow tips written by one of AQA’s subject matter experts.

Read on to get the inside track on GCSE English Language, direct from the people who make the exams.


AQA logo byline
AQA logo byline

Line numbers in questions

Where questions have specific line numbers to use to answer the question, make sure you select points from the correct lines which are given to you in bold on the question paper.

Use of language

For questions that ask about ‘use of language’ make sure you select examples of language that you understand so that you can say how the language features create an effect.

Make time to plan

For the longer written response questions on Paper 1, make time to plan what you’re going to write. This way you’ll craft a shaped and structured response.

Check your work

Leave time at the end to check through and improve – don’t worry about crossings out and changes as this is good evidence that you’ve proof read your work.

Use punctuation properly

Work on Technical Accuracy – make sure you know when to use commas correctly and that you know how to punctuate dialogue (for Paper 1 writing) correctly. Try to include colons, semi-colons, brackets and dashes and apostrophes if appropriate but most of all, do so properly.

Use connectives

When you’re answering questions that require some comparison, use connectives such as ‘whereas’ and ‘on the other hand’ to link ideas and evidence

Structure your argument

For the longer writing question on Paper 2, make a plan and sequence your ideas for the line of argument that you’re going to take.

Write less, but instead think more about the points you’re going to make and how you’ll explain and develop each point.

When you have your ideas organised, plan how to link paragraphs using discourse markers.

Use linguistic devices with care

Try not to use too many linguistic devices (such as rhetorical questions or hyperbole). If you keep using the same linguistic devices, your argument might start to sound unrealistic and unconvincing.

Use varied sentence openings

Try to vary your sentence openings to create effects.


More GCSE English Language help on TSR


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Good luck from AQA

AQA believes everyone has the potential to achieve, and we make sure our qualifications give all students the opportunity to show what they can do and progress to the next stage of their lives.

Our subject experts worked with The Student Room so we can reach as many students as possible with advice on how to approach your revision and exams. We wish you well in the weeks ahead, and don’t forget to look after yourselves too: eat well, sleep well and tell someone how you’re feeling if there are days when things don’t go so well or you don’t feel so good.

 Good luck!