~ AQA English Lit and Lang (current spec) Guide ~

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Gingerbread101
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Hi everyone, I thought I'd update my guide for everyone taking what will probably be the last round of these English exams! This guide will be on how to go about answering these exams:

AQA English Language (4705)
AQA English Literature (9715)
English Language
Section A - Reading - 1 hour 15 mins
1) Pick out facts from a non-fiction text and make judgements from it
Tips and Tricks
- 8 marks
- Spend 15 minutes answering this question
- Use quotes from the text to support your ideas
- You don't need to comment on language techniques
- Make inferences about what the author is telling you as well as stating what they say

2) Write about the layout features of a text
Tips and Tricks
- 8 marks
- Spend 15 minutes answering this question
- Here is a suggested layout that would cover everything you need to include:
> Talk about why the headline is effective - key words it uses; the emotive impact; language techniques; how the reader would react
> Talk about why the image is effective - how it is suited to it's audience; what it would make the audience think of; the emotions it is trying to bring out
> Link the headline and the image to the text - link elements of both to parts of the text with similarities; why the text is suitable to inform; language techniques
- You should use quotes in your answer

3) Write about the thoughts and feelings of a character/ the author
Tips and Tricks
- 8 marks
- Spend 15 minutes answering this question
- You shouldn't talk about any language techniques in this answer
- A potential paragraph structure you could use is:
> Point - which characters you're talking about; the basics of the emotion shown
> Evidence - quote
> Inference - suggestion as to what emotions are being shown; similarities and differences to other characters and parts of the extract; whether they have hidden thoughts or are sharing thoughts with other characters
- Your main focus should be about the author/ character's thoughts and feelings, however you can mention a reader's (your) response to it too
- Use key phrases from the question so you don't lose focus - it could be about a specific character or part of the extract
- Don't just talk about the text as a whole, make it individual to the question

4) Compare two texts and the ways they use language
Tips and Tricks
- 16 marks
- Spend 30 minutes answering this question
- You will be given which source should be one half of your comparison, but you can choose which one you will use as the other
- It may be helpful to spend 5-7 minutes creating a short plan so you keep your focus. Don't spend much longer than this, as you don't have very long to write this
- There's no set amount of points you should make, but aim to have at least one point of similarity and at least one of contrast
- You can either talk about one text in the first half of a paragraph then the other in the second half, linking in the middle, or talk about both simultaneously
- A suggested paragraph structure is the PETER structure:
> P- Point: One sentence saying what the point you're trying to get across in this paragraph is (e.g The author x creates an air of tension in the text to make the reader feel suspicious about z character's intentions.)
> E- Evidence: A quote to back up your point (can be introduced with 'this is shown through the quote "x")
> T- Technique: State what literary technique/structural technique is being used in this quote ("x" which uses pathetic fallacy.)
> E- Explanation: Explain how this technique and quote support your point; explore the author's intentions; what this shows you about the plot/character; context; the general effects of it.
> R- Reader: Explain the effects of the quote/technique on the reader; how it makes them feel, how it changes their view of a character, whether they're empathetic etc. The last two parts should make up the largest section of the paragraph.


Section B - Writing - 1 hour
In both questions you will be asked to write a non-fiction text about a given topic
Tips and Tricks
- Question 5 holds 16 marks and you should spend 25 minutes on it. Question 6 holds 24 marks and you should spend 35 minutes on it. Don't worry about remembering these timings, as they'e given at the start of the reading section
- Use the conventions of what you've been asked to write, so if it's an article or blog you could use headings as a structural device, or if it's a letter you should use appropriate to and from sections
- Use language techniques to make the pieces persuasive, but make sure you use them subtly. Don't stick a random bit of onomatopoeia in for no apparent reason, make sure your techniques are sophisticated
- Use structural devices such as varying your sentence and paragraph length
English Literature
Paper 1 - Exploring modern texts - 1 hour 30 mins
Section A) Modern prose or drama
Tips and Tricks
- 30 marks
- You should spend 45 minutes on this section
- When you first open the exam paper it can look pretty daunting, but find the text you have studied on the contents page and go straight to it rather than flicking through trying to find it
- There will be two possible questions for your text and you only need to answer one of them
- You may find it helpful to write a short plan at the start of your answer to keep yourself focused
- You may be asked to focus on a particular character or event, so make sure your answer is tailored to this
- Again there is no set amount of paragraphs you should do, but aim for around 3-4
- Use the PETER paragraph as explained earlier

Section B) Exploring cultures
Tips and Tricks
- 30 marks
- You should spend 45 minutes on these questions
- Find your text on the contents page again, and answer part (a) and part (b)
- Part (a) will ask you to refer to a given passage, and you should only take quotes from there but in (b) you should refer to the whole novel
- Talk about language techniques in both, but your part (b) answer should be focused on relating them to context
- Use the PETER structure for paragraphs


Paper 2 - Poetry across time - 1 hour 15 mins
Section A) Anthology
Tips and Tricks
- In the cluster that you have studied from the anthology, pick one of the two questions listed to answer
- 36 marks
- You should spend 45 minutes answering this question
- There will always be a given poem and you pick the other poem you want to compare it to
- Make sure you keep focused on the question - you aren't just doing an open ended comparison. Use the key words from the question in your answer
- Use the PETER structure

Section B) Unseen poetry
Tips and Tricks
- In the cluster that you have studied from the anthology, pick one of the two questions listed to answer- 18 marks- You should spend 30 minutes answering this question- Make sure you annotate the poem properly before you start answering, you aren't expected to have as detailed an understanding as in your anthology texts but you still need to know what it's talking about- Read the question before annotating to have an idea of themes- Give alternative interpretations of what one point could mean, even if you don't hold that opinion yourself- Focus your answer on language techniques and how they show thoughts and feelings rather than any context or additional elements- Use the PETER structure


I hope this has helped some of you! If you have any other questions then please respond on here
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Real_jenn
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Hi what is the "Peter" paragraph?
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Gingerbread101
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(Original post by Real_jenn)
Hi what is the "Peter" paragraph?
It's explained under question 4 of the English language section
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karmacrunch
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This is really helpful. Thank you, Gingerbread!
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Kaiylar
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If anyone could make something similar to this but for WJEC English Language and Literature (I'm taking my exams for it this summer), I would greatly appreciate it.
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Gingerbread101
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(Original post by Kaiylar)
If anyone could make something similar to this but for WJEC English Language and Literature (I'm taking my exams for it this summer), I would greatly appreciate it.
I'm considering learning the exam and mark scheme for WJEC English as it's the next most popular to AQA, but this would probably be done some time in the February half term
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Gingerbread101
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(Original post by karmacrunch)
This is really helpful. Thank you, Gingerbread!
Thanks :hugs:
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Kaiylar
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(Original post by Gingerbread101)
I'm considering learning the exam and mark scheme for WJEC English as it's the next most popular to AQA, but this would probably be done some time in the February half term
Great, I'd really appreciate it!
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TheConfusedMedic
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Hi, just thought that I'd that for AQA GCSE English Literature, there is also an option for Unit 4 (which I am taking instead of Unit 2) which is the exam called 'Approaching Shakespeare and the English Literary Heritage'.
Section A is an extract based on the Shakespeare play, followed by an essay question referring to the whole play. (30 marks)
Section B is an essay on the literary heritage book (24 marks)
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haseeb798
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Thanks.
This has been really useful to me.

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Gingerbread101
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(Original post by surina16)
Hi, just thought that I'd that for AQA GCSE English Literature, there is also an option for Unit 4 (which I am taking instead of Unit 2) which is the exam called 'Approaching Shakespeare and the English Literary Heritage'.
Section A is an extract based on the Shakespeare play, followed by an essay question referring to the whole play. (30 marks)
Section B is an essay on the literary heritage book (24 marks)
Ah, I didn't know this section existed
If I have time to research the WJEC exam then I will also research how to complete this one
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TheConfusedMedic
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(Original post by Gingerbread101)
Ah, I didn't know this section existed
If I have time to research the WJEC exam then I will also research how to complete this one
yeah, it's a horrible section tbh - Macbeth and Pride and Prejudice
and thanks for the thread so far, been really useful
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goldenusername
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I'm doing AQA literature 87101H
Does this apply to me??
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haseeb798
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Is this the new spec. Im in year 10.

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Gingerbread101
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(Original post by haseeb798)
Is this the new spec. Im in year 10.

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Nope, this is the current spec as in the title

(Original post by goldenusername)
I'm doing AQA literature 87101H
Does this apply to me??
Is that IGCSE? This is for the AQA GCSE English Literature exam, if the questions I've talked about don't match up with the questions on your exam, then that's a simple way to tell if it applies to you
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haseeb798
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Ok
Do I mind me asking how u revising for English language and literature as they are my weakest subjects and how to improve from a C to an A or A*?
Thanks

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Gingerbread101
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(Original post by haseeb798)
Ok
Do I mind me asking how u revising for English language and literature as they are my weakest subjects and how to improve from a C to an A or A*?
Thanks

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I made another thread on revision techniques here: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=3904381

Also, if you click the 'reply' button at the bottom of someone's post before typing your reply, it will notify them that you have replied
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goldenusername
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(Original post by Gingerbread101)
Nope, this is the current spec as in the title


Is that IGCSE? This is for the AQA GCSE English Literature exam, if the questions I've talked about don't match up with the questions on your exam, then that's a simple way to tell if it applies to you
Sorry about that, I just found out today it's igcse AQA 😂
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Smidge_midge
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This is very helpful, thank you!
I think the section I'm most worried about is unseen poetry...
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Gingerbread101
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(Original post by Smidge_midge)
This is very helpful, thank you!
I think the section I'm most worried about is unseen poetry...
Just approach it with an open mind - you can never be wrong as long as you back up your points
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