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GCSE English: AQA Paper 1 Exam Guidance
Read the instructions on the front of the question papers, and at
the top of each section, very carefully.
Look over the entirety of the paper (front and back) in order to
guard against surprises.
Underline key words in the question, and make sure that each of
your paragraphs addresses it directly. You must answer the
Divide your time between questions as directed (see below).
Take time to plan each question carefully.
Panic: it may appear that the question, or the media texts, are a
little different from what you expected; take your time to plan as
usual, and you should find a way into the question.
Write anything that is not asked for in the question. If, in section
A, you are tackling a "what" or a "why" question, then avoid a
Pull faces at passing teachers.
Section A: Media and Non-Fiction (1 hour)
Read through the questions first, and then highlight the two/three
texts with them in mind. 15 minutes are allocate for reading; divides
this time sensibly.
Answer all questions in this section. Some will be worth more marks
than others; you need to spend longer on the questions with more
It is vital that you explain the effects of any techniques assuming
that the question asks for this: Don't forget to PEE on your work.
Media and non fiction pieces can take many different forms: leaflets,
newspapers, magazines and web articles; posters, adverts, flyers and
packaging; biography/autobiography and diaries etc.
Ensure that you know the media techniques and think about their
You will be tested on the following:
Facts and opinions: opinions may come in all shapes and sizes the
uneven weighting of quotations or subjective adjectives (descriptive
words) and facts can be used to imply expertise on a given subject,
or even express an opinion particularly if the fact appears to be
taken out of context.
Presentation and layout: use of headlines (how prominent these are,
where they are placed and how do they work with the rest of the
article/attract readers?); pictures (size and use of colour; how do
they make the reader interpret the article?); text boxes (containing
additional information, often use bullet points for easy reference);
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Always think about their effects (PEE)
on the given readership.
Language (including the use of words, metaphors, similes, humour,
rhetorical questions, imperative and modal verbs, irony, puns,
emotive language, technical vocabulary, etc).
Comprehension (the ability to retrieve information from the text).
Read these questions carefully.
Purpose (advise, inform, describe, explain, persuade, analyse,
review, narrate, argue or entertain; many texts will combine
elements of these).…read more
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Take five minutes to check spelling, punctuation and grammar very
Divide your time between any bullet points provided to help you with
this question.…read more