English Language GCSE

Tips for the English Language Paper

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What the Questions are about - Section A

Section A - The Questions 

1) Finding information in the text (8 marks)

2) Ananlysing presentational features (8 marks)

3) Examining what is suggested in a text (8 marks)

4) Comparing the language used in two of the texts (16 marks) 

Aim to spend approximatly 12 minutes on questions one to three.

Aim to spend approximatly 25 minutes on Question four,

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Section B

Section B - What’s the difference between the two questions?

How much you write in each response?

1) Question Five is a shorter more straight forward task, e.g. a letter to a friend. Do not spend more time on this than the longer writing task.

     -  Aim for approximately 25 minutes including reading time.      

     -  Inform, Explain and Describe.

     -  Worth 20%

2) The longer writing task may ask you to consider the different viewpoints or develop your ideas a little more. Normally to write an article.

     -  Aim for approximately 35 minutes including reading time.

     -  Argue or persuade.

     - Worth 35%

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Tips for approaching the paper

Approaching the paper:

The insert - when to read the texts?

·         Read the text that goes with the question you are answering - then write your answer

What order do I answer the questions?

·         There is no need (and it’s not advisable) to answer the questions in order. You can do it in whatever order you want.

The non-fiction texts will help inspire you when answering question six.

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Presentational Features

Key Words

Layout is how a page is arranged, it is particularly important in nonfiction texts.

Presentational Features are the elements that make up a fiction text. For example: pictures, text books, headlines, captions and pull quotes.

Think about what questions you should ask yourself to help analyse the effects of presentational features.

·         What colours/fonts have been used? What are the connotations (what does it associate with or make you think of?) of these colours and fonts and how do they link to what the text is about.

·         How would you describe the context and style of the images? How does it make you feel?

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Never forget FLAP and the rules of thumb!


F - Form

L - Language

A - Audinece

P - Purpose

When reading or annotating an article remember to think about FLAP. 


What Question = more points less detail

How Question = less points more detail 

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Top Tips - Question One

Top Tips for Question One

·         Highlight the key words.

·         Look for more points and answer in less detail.

·         Try to work out how the little points link together to show the overall purpose or message.

·         Highlight the main points whilst you're reading.

·         Try to translate each point into your own words.

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Top Tips - Question Two

Top Tips for Question Two

·         Read between the lines.

·         Use FLAP and link throughout.

·         Always think about connotations of features.

·         Be specific and link connotations to precise features of the text (don't generalise!) 

·         Go beyond the obvious and look for deeper meanings, based on what you know about the rest of the text.

·         Look out for suitable features too e.g. font

·         Notice how different parts of the texts link together is there an overall 'style, voice, message or theme?'

In Question Two we must explain the effectiveness of the Questions by explaining the features.

·          Why have they been used

·         Focus on presentational features and make it precise and specific.

·         Like presentational features together, state if they complement each other of compliment the texts.

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Top Tips - Question Three

Top Tips for Question Three

·         Think about word/phrase choice and what they make you think/feel

·         Consider quotes from other sourced - what do they say? Are they the same opinion as the writer?

·         Are there small words which hint at a feeling?

·         Interpret by drawing together the overall tone.

·         Watch out for shifts in opinion.

·         Don’t get confused by sarcasm or humour. 

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Top Tips - Question Four

How to succeed: Q4

·         Offer a full and detailed understanding of the texts in relation to language.

·         Analyse how the writers have used language differently to achieve there effects.

·         Offer appropriate or references in support of ideas with perceptive comments.

·         Focus on comparison and cross reference the text.

Why is language used differently by different writers?

Purpose is effected by:

·         The context and type of text, the aim of the text, the style of text and what the text is trying to do.

Audience is effected by:

·         What it is aimed at and how the language is used to appeal to it. Their Age, Education and Interests and the view point of the subject matter. 

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Question Four (2)

1)     Look for what and who it is about

2)     Have any Literacy Techniques have been used?

3)     What is being described?

4)     What writing techniques are used in the first paragraph?

 Plan - 1st Paragraph  

-       Talk about the FORM of both extracts

-       Talk about the PURPOSE of both extracts


2nd Paragraph

-       Answer 'Question One'                                                                                             

Continue by answering the questions a paragraph for each one.

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Questions to answer when answering question 4.

Questions to answer when answering question 4.

1. How would you describe the context, style or tone?

2. How is this reflected by the use of language? (Start with the opening)

3. Which quotations 'jump out' at you? Particular vocabulary? Literary techniques?      Sentence lengths or structures?

4. What impression do they create of the writer? The viewpoint? The experience that’s being described?

5. What impressions do they create of the writer? The viewpoint? The experience that is being described?

6. What is the impact of the reader?

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Section B Top Tips - Question Five

Top Tips for Question Five

·         Choose an event that lends its self to sensory discription.

·         Not to many points - plan to go into more detail for each one instead.

·         'Zoom in' on a partiular moment in an event.

·         Try to establish a thread, mood or theme that links your ideas together.

·         Do not plan a plot.

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briony-sian morris

Awful spelling and grammar but best notes I've read! Thank you very much and hopefully I'll owe my pass to you :)


This is a great help thanks :) 

Grace Hannaford

Sorry excuse the spellling and grammer wrote some of them late and in a rush and aw thanks I hope they help! I am going to go throgh and correct any mistakes now! 


this has really helped but could you put up an example?

malka turk

thanks a lot ....please put some examples of exam papers aswell

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