GCSE English Languague

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Hello I am sharing my notes for the GCSE English Languague Exam... Good Luck... :) 

Whichever exam board your school chooses, reading and understanding non-fiction texts will form an important part of your study.

Reading and understanding non-fiction and media texts

What your assessment looks like will depend on whether non-fiction texts form part of your exam or part of your controlled assessment. The skills you will need are the same, but the tasks are slightly different.

If your GCSE course puts non-fiction in the controlled assessment, you will have to analyse two texts from a selection. If it is an exam, you will need to read three non-fiction texts and answer four related questions in total. (Foundation candidates will need to answer five shorter questions).

To prepare for both of these you should:

  1. know how to define non-fiction texts
  2. know how to identify the purpose and audience of the texts
  3. show you understand what the writers of each text are trying to say
  4. show you understand how the writers use presentational features
  5. be able to compare the way the writers use language to meet their intended purposes and audiences

The Revision Bites in this section should help you to:

  1. understand what non-fictions texts are
  2. prepare for the four types of question you will be asked, which include tasks on how to:
    • look for information
    • identify presentational devices
    • explain what a text suggests
    • compare writing techniques

Although the controlled assessment will be in the form of one essay, the same skills apply as in the exam questions.

What are non-fiction texts?

In order to succeed in the exam on non-fiction texts, you need to prepare for the types of text you might be asked about and which of the four different areas you will write about.

What are non-fiction texts?

Non-fiction is a type or genre of writing based on facts and real life rather than a made-up or fictional story. Non-fiction includes any kind of text designed to give information. There are a range of forms for non-fiction including:

  • Information leaflets
  • Newspaper or magazine articles
  • Travel writing
  • Biographies
  • Company websites
  • Advertisements and advertorials
  • Film and book reviews

Once you know what kind of text you are looking at, you need to know two more key details:

  • Audience - who is the text aimed at (eg men or women, adult or youth)?
  • Purpose - what is the text trying to do (eg inform, persuade, argue or advise)?

Read more about genre, audience and purpose in the Writing revision bites.

Once you recognise the genre, the form of the text and the intended audience and purpose, you are ready to work on your exam technique.

Know exactly what you are being asked

The most important aspect of preparing for your exam is to recognise the type of question you will be asked.

There are only four types of question that are going to come up - questions asking you to:

  • look for information
  • identify and explain presentational devices
  • understand and interpret


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