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GCSE English

Hi, I have grade 8/9s in other subjects but english I really struggle with. At the moment I am getting grade 6s average. I'm going into year 11 and I really want to bump up my grade! Do you have any resources or tips that can help me in any of the areas? Thank you
Reply 1
Hiya this may be weird advice but I think that your best bet is to jump to conclusions, analysing is all about jumping to conclusions. As long as you can back it up (Which is a hugeee part of it too). I am getting A* at A level English lit/lang and my best advice is form unhinged opinions on characters and then debate them. Victor Frankenstein is the absolute worst? Tell the examiner alllll about it. and then back it up.

All you have to do is back it up with evidence, you can literally say whatever you want.
Also brush up on them language techniques, Aside, Onomatopoeia all that jazz, include those everywhere where it applies, it makes you sound like you know what you're on about. (I know I sound utterly insane, I am not a frequent user of this forum so I am not familiar with the etiquette lol)
Oh English was my strong suit! I really found that for literature, a 'fact file' of some sorts for all the quotes to remember for the character/poem (usually like 6-8 for characters, a lot of quotes crossed over) with their explanations AS IN DEPTH AS POSSIBLE helped me- obviously not for everyone. Answer as many essay questions as possible and try to squeeze as much as you can out of a quote, look at it from any and all angles. Learn key terminology like the sibilance reflects this, and link texts back to the context/time the text was written. Try get your teacher/s to mark what you write. The best advice I can give you for language is do past papers like your life depends on it AND GET THEM MARKED!! I also liked past paper walk throughs on YouTube. I had two past papers (one for each paper) that I annotated on how to get the highest marks for that question. The thing about language is it is no longer about the explanations but rather the coverage. You have just got to get as many quotes as you can possibly get in with one line of explanation. For top marks, use subject terminology on ONE OR TWO QUOTES AT MOST.

Good luck, you got this!

Oh, and a small edit here, 6s are still an awesome grade.
(edited 5 months ago)
Reply 3
Please listen to this person, my advice of 'Form unhinged opinions on the characters you study and back it up' IS NOT AS CONSISE AS THIS PLEASE LISTEN TO THEM. (Also 6 is absolutely wonderful I promise you will crush it bae)

Original post by cuffingmajeans
Oh English was my strong suit! I really found that for literature, a 'fact file' of some sorts for all the quotes to remember for the character/poem (usually like 6-8 for characters, a lot of quotes crossed over) with their explanations AS IN DEPTH AS POSSIBLE helped me- obviously not for everyone. Answer as many essay questions as possible and try to squeeze as much as you can out of a quote, look at it from any and all angles. Learn key terminology like the sibilance reflects this, and link texts back to the context/time the text was written. Try get your teacher/s to mark what you write. The best advice I can give you for language is do past papers like your life depends on it AND GET THEM MARKED!! I also liked past paper walk throughs on YouTube. I had two past papers (one for each paper) that I annotated on how to get the highest marks for that question. The thing about language is it is no longer about the explanations but rather the coverage. You have just got to get as many quotes as you can possibly get in with one line of explanation. For top marks, use subject terminology on ONE OR TWO QUOTES AT MOST.

Good luck, you got this!

Oh, and a small edit here, 6s are still an awesome grade.
Original post by Glumdrops
Please listen to this person, my advice of 'Form unhinged opinions on the characters you study and back it up' IS NOT AS CONSISE AS THIS PLEASE LISTEN TO THEM. (Also 6 is absolutely wonderful I promise you will crush it bae)


I am fully agreeing with your point of debating characters though, I fully forgot about that. Nobody and nothing is one dimensional. There is ALWAYS a but. Lady Macbeth may have been manipulative BUT she thought she was helping Macbeth achieve greatness. This quote could shows the hardship of this era, however, it could also be representative of this.... Never give one explanation. That won't get you anywhere in lit.

Oh, and another thing, using fancy vocab and 'tentative' language ('perhaps') always scores you extra marks!!
Reply 5
Original post by cuffingmajeans
I am fully agreeing with your point of debating characters though, I fully forgot about that. Nobody and nothing is one dimensional. There is ALWAYS a but. Lady Macbeth may have been manipulative BUT she thought she was helping Macbeth achieve greatness. This quote could shows the hardship of this era, however, it could also be representative of this.... Never give one explanation. That won't get you anywhere in lit.

Oh, and another thing, using fancy vocab and 'tentative' language ('perhaps') always scores you extra marks!!


Apparently my teacher says I just waffle. Apparently, I don’t use techniques enough or I don’t use sophisticated vocabulary, or I don’t use context. I don’t get it, I’m not using the right “formula” or structure. Idk even know anymore. I don’t think you can just find evidence and back it up. That’s what’s constricting me to a 7. What’s the difference between a 6/7 to an 8/9?
(edited 5 months ago)
Reply 6
Original post by dmedz
Apparently my teacher says I just waffle. Apparently, I don’t use techniques enough or I don’t use sophisticated vocabulary, or I don’t use context. I don’t get it, I’m not using the right “formula” or structure. Idk even know anymore. I don’t think you can just find evidence and back it up. That’s what’s constricting me to a 7. What’s the difference between a 6/7 to an 8/9?

If you're waffling it just means you aren't taking hard stances, you maybe aren't making a real point but using a lot of words to do so so make sure your point is CLEAR as day. In addition, evidence is dead important but it is so easy to get lost in the sauce so please try to remember what point you are making and then link it back to the rest with a short sentence that is to the point.
Original post by dmedz
Apparently my teacher says I just waffle. Apparently, I don’t use techniques enough or I don’t use sophisticated vocabulary, or I don’t use context. I don’t get it, I’m not using the right “formula” or structure. Idk even know anymore. I don’t think you can just find evidence and back it up. That’s what’s constricting me to a 7. What’s the difference between a 6/7 to an 8/9?


I gotta disagree, but you gotta make sure you're 'waffling' right. You can't just say the same thing a different way, each idea has to have a new point and perspective to it. And for the 'formula', they taught us Point & Context, Quote, Explain, Zoom in/Subject terminology, Explain 2, link back to question:
Question: How does Character A develop throughout the book?
P- At the beginning of the book, while at home, Character A is shown as cruel
Q- 'He ignored the needs of others'
E- This could show his inhumane side, as it gives us the idea that the character is purposefully choosing to act and behave in this manner
Z/S- This is emphasised by the verb 'ignored' as it suggests the deliberate choice to neglect others wellbeing
E2- However, this could perhaps show that Character A has forced himself to ignore the needs of others as he struggles to recognise his own needs and as a consequence, comes off as cruel.
E3- It could also be argued that as this book was written to reflect the authors own upbringing, it could suggest that his childhood led to such behaviours, perhaps being taught by those around him to behave in such a way.
L- Overall, Character A is still shown as vile and cruel, a reflection on many of the upper class era of this time.

Idk if this makes sense or not

Edit: Obviously this is a very bare boned example, for a real book, character and quote it would be far more 'meaty' and argumentative
(edited 5 months ago)
Original post by Glumdrops
If you're waffling it just means you aren't taking hard stances, you maybe aren't making a real point but using a lot of words to do so so make sure your point is CLEAR as day. In addition, evidence is dead important but it is so easy to get lost in the sauce so please try to remember what point you are making and then link it back to the rest with a short sentence that is to the point.


Yes, this exactly! Your point has to be so obvious or you lose so many marks!!
Reply 9
Original post by dmedz
Hi, I have grade 8/9s in other subjects but english I really struggle with. At the moment I am getting grade 6s average. I'm going into year 11 and I really want to bump up my grade! Do you have any resources or tips that can help me in any of the areas? Thank you



what English lit texts you doing - i did Macbeth, A Christmas carol and animal farm and if you're doing any of these i could send you a grade 9 essay to help with structure and how to get high marks - when i wrote these essays it would take me like 4 hours because what i did was get at least one quote from each part that the exam board could use and then some of the quotes i would link through the technique parallelism. e.g - in Macbeth 'valours minion' and 'valour of her tongue' - and then you're able to talk about how this semantically links lady Macbeth and Macbeth or 'golden opinions' 'golden round'
and then i would remember it for my exam so no matter what came up i had grade 9 stuff.
Also to get high graded essays i used like grade 9 ideas - for example in Macbeth i used character duality - this was my argument

Initially. Shakespeare utilises the idea of character duality of a atypical Aristotelian tragic hero and alludes to the creation of facades to hide characters ‘desires' as a form of protection due to an oppressive patriarchal society that values gender stereotypes over mental stability which Shakespeare ultimately declares as transient to overall portray their relationship as the root of their power which deteriorates as the play progresses and to portray power as a facade and the consequences of ‘vaulting ambition’.

then i would talk about power as a fallacy etc - macbeths materialistic view towards kingship - him being viewed as a herculean hero.

Anyways i got a 9 in both lit and lang so if you do those texts and need any essays then lmk or any like revision ideas and how to link stuff and how to spot higher level ideas and techniques like the motif of hands n stuff.
(edited 5 months ago)
Reply 10
Original post by user1787
what English lit texts you doing - i did Macbeth, A Christmas carol and animal farm and if you're doing any of these i could send you a grade 9 essay to help with structure and how to get high marks - when i wrote these essays it would take me like 4 hours because what i did was get at least one quote from each part that the exam board could use and then some of the quotes i would link through the technique parallelism. e.g - in Macbeth 'valours minion' and 'valour of her tongue' - and then you're able to talk about how this semantically links lady Macbeth and Macbeth or 'golden opinions' 'golden round'
and then i would remember it for my exam so no matter what came up i had grade 9 stuff.
Also to get high graded essays i used like grade 9 ideas - for example in Macbeth i used character duality - this was my argument

Initially. Shakespeare utilises the idea of character duality of a atypical Aristotelian tragic hero and alludes to the creation of facades to hide characters ‘desires' as a form of protection due to an oppressive patriarchal society that values gender stereotypes over mental stability which Shakespeare ultimately declares as transient to overall portray their relationship as the root of their power which deteriorates as the play progresses and to portray power as a facade and the consequences of ‘vaulting ambition’.

then i would talk about power as a fallacy etc - macbeths materialistic view towards kingship - him being viewed as a herculean hero.

Anyways i got a 9 in both lit and lang so if you do those texts and need any essays then lmk or any like revision ideas and how to link stuff and how to spot higher level ideas and techniques like the motif of hands n stuff.


Hi. Thank you so much for replying. What you have talked about sounds very complex. 😂Im taking Christmas Carol, Macbeth and An inspector calls. We haven't annotated macbeth and inspector calls yet though. Yes, i would much appreciate it. With lit its a bit easier as you can prepare, but with lang, i struggle to think of ideas and what to say. Also, I just keep saying the same points over and over again. I recently did a lang paper 1 past paper with i guy called Uguwu in it (i think its the 2021 one?). This paper had no techniques or anything so i struggled. Is there somewhere I could find how to strucuture my answers to get a grade 9 answer? Thanks again. :smile:
Reply 11
Original post by dmedz
Hi. Thank you so much for replying. What you have talked about sounds very complex. 😂Im taking Christmas Carol, Macbeth and An inspector calls. We haven't annotated macbeth and inspector calls yet though. Yes, i would much appreciate it. With lit its a bit easier as you can prepare, but with lang, i struggle to think of ideas and what to say. Also, I just keep saying the same points over and over again. I recently did a lang paper 1 past paper with i guy called Uguwu in it (i think its the 2021 one?). This paper had no techniques or anything so i struggled. Is there somewhere I could find how to strucuture my answers to get a grade 9 answer? Thanks again. :smile:


the only way i prepared for language was to remember sentences where all you had to do was fill in a technique that you find a quote and then a remembered analysis.
E.g - if you found the technique the motif of light you go write the sentence out fill in the quote as evidence and then go... this motif of light signifies
and then the remembered analysis - light = hope/redemption/utopia/divinity/innocence/exposure/epiphany and then write about an alternative idea if you can think of one e/g maybe its a facade of innocence
another thing you can remember analysis is for thresholds (windows/doors/bridge/keyhole) u fill in the sentences with the quote that has one of them in and then go... the use of threshold imagery is used to present - change/redemption/journey/guidance/pathway

then if theres anything to do with nature same applies... is used to represent - corruption/new life/renewal/cycles of life (youth/age)


obviously its a bit different depending on the text you get however you just have to link it using this as the foundation of your analysis and then add your own ideas in (paper 1 question 2 and 4)

im going to write out some remembered sentences for each question to give you an example on how to write stuff and if you want i can you send you my 37/40 question 5 for paper 1 because its an example of something i was able to use in every mock no matter the question i just slightly altered it. Also i will put some ideas on how to get high marks on question 5.

techniques to use for p1 - character archetypes - explorer, magician, outsider

paper 1 - q2 - firstly the writer utilises 'technique' (immense colour imagery, motif of hands/light, semantic field - try pick out a big 1) to create/depict/portray then use a colon and insert the quote. This creates a sense of/this is used to signify. (then pick out a smaller technique)
Ostensibly, the adjective/noun symbolises......
Symbolically the image of____ connotes then end with three words it connotes.
this is all from one quote
Here is an example answer from my mocks in year 10 - Firstly, the writer utilises immense colour imagery to create a sense of happiness, hope and life: 'yellow,pink,white,mauve'. This motif of light is used to depict innocence and presents the mountains as being a utopian paradise. The adjective 'yellow' connotes the mountain area as a place of birth and growth however the use of the personification 'the sun has flattened the land into submission' creates a sense of corruption and mystery perhaps indicating a more sinister side as it conveys the sun is so intense that it has overwhelmed the land, crushing
any sign of green life out of it so that all that now remains is scorched brown overall presenting the power of nature.
when doing this question it's all about the effect so try and find a technique fast and then over explain and try to find an alternative reason so even if its presenting nature which suggests innocence and contrasts with the humanities corruption - you talk about the viciousness of the cycle of nature and the power as although you can talk about pantheism (god in nature) - there is still an alternative - like maybe the roots of the plants seem alienated
the same with light - talk about how it blinds the truth, how it can all be a fallacy - if you structure it like that your bound to get high marks on that question.
1st para - pick a technique - analyse - then alternative
2nd para - the same
3rd para - if you have time

question 3 as its a structure question you can still use techniques like semantic field, juxtaposition, motifs. - also talk about subverting/adhering to expectations in any of the questions
I would always start with these sentences.
At the exposition of the extract the writer initially focuses on ___-(this could me introducing the main character, a description of something just whatever they talk about start with that) Throughout the exposition there is (try and find a technique e.g a repeated use of colour imagery, a motif of light, lots of juxtaposition). This creates a sense of ____ but also creates a sense of____ (use MICRO QUOTES when writing sentences)
The writer does this to _____

As the extract progresses towards the climax the writer clearly changes the focus to ___. Then talk about why they have changed the focus - use techniques like repetition - structurally this is significant/this weaves a sense of. This idea can be further explored through...
overall this change was to ____

At the denouement of the extract the writer (same thing as above etc) - by utilising 'technique' - the writer is clearly leading the reader to feel/think
- talk about atmosphere - like mystery - linguistically, ___ crafts a sense of ___ through the use of (technique) in order to____

Question 4 is pretty much the same is 2 but more analysis and on a certain topic so use the same sorta stuff.

paper 1 - q5 - lmk if you want mine but my advice is like picking a metaphor and using like cyclical structure e.g i started mine with - year by year
and ended with century by century - so it was a cyclical structure of time then i used biblical allusions and normal allusions e.g - like icarus he had travelled many miles.



lang paper 2 - question 2 - both sources depict____ however in source A 'writer' uses 'technique' to depict ____: 'quote'. We can infer ___ then try and use micro quotes
on the other hand in source b the author is more/less (try and compare using the more/less)

other than that question 3 is like paper 1 question 2/4 and then question 4 is like question 2

question 5 - plan sentences to use like (i think - no - i know - that, for high punctuation marks.) use cyclical structure like starts with imagine___ imagine___ imagine and then end with the same imagine___
e.g - imagine a world with no capitalism, imagine a ___

but anyways thats all i did and if you need any high level vocab, essays or anything let me know
Original post by dmedz
Hi, I have grade 8/9s in other subjects but english I really struggle with. At the moment I am getting grade 6s average. I'm going into year 11 and I really want to bump up my grade! Do you have any resources or tips that can help me in any of the areas? Thank you

I was in the same boat as you. I was getting 6s in English Literature in year 10 but by the end of year 11, I managed to get a 9 in my final exam. I highly recommend looking at exemplar essays available online. This helped me to refine my writing style which ultimately helped me achieve higher grades.
Reply 13
Hey, thank you so much for the sentences structure, i'm about to use it for practise :smile:. Yes, high level vocab i can use in any creative writing or lit/lang essay would be very much appreciated! Have you got any example grade 9 essays? BTW FOR LANG PAPER 2 Q2 MY TEACHER SAYS DONT USE TECHNIQUES...? but u used it for your strucutre... Thanks again for the help

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