Reading skills

GCSE English
Guide for parents
• What the exam involves
• Where you can find information to
help your child achieve their
• Revision sessions we are running
• Any questions
The English
Language Exam is
November 2013
Structure of the paper:
• Questions 1 to 4 tests reading skills = 1¼
hours, 40 marks
• Questions 5 and 6 tests writing skills = 1 hour,
40 marks
Students must answer all the questions
• It is split into higher and foundation.
Reading skills
What they are assessed on:
AO3 Studying written language
• Read and understand texts, selecting material
appropriate to purpose, collating from different sources
and making comparisons and cross references as
• Develop and sustain interpretations of writers’ ideas
and perspectives.
• Explain and evaluate how writers use linguistic,
grammatical, structural and presentational features to
achieve effects and engage and interest the reader.
Question one – 8 marks
Students will need
to read a source (of nonfiction or media) and have
to answer a question that
requires comprehension
and inference:
‘What do you learn from
the article about where
she has been and what
she has been doing?’
Question two – 8 marks
Here they need to consider
presentation features of
another source and link it to
the writing:
‘Explain how the headline,
Sub-headline and picture
are effective and how
they link with the text.’
Question three – 8 marks
For this question the
students read an
extract from a
non-fiction book and
explain an aspect of the
writing style:
‘Explain which parts
of the source you
find tense and exciting.’
Question four – 16 marks
This question is worth the most and tests the
harder skill of comparison. It asks the candidate
to compare two sources, one which they will
‘Refer to source 3 and either source 1 or
source 2. Compare the different ways in
which language is used for effect in the
two texts. Give some examples and
analyse what the effects are.’
Writing skills
What they are assessed on:
AO4 Writing
• Write to communicate clearly, effectively and
imaginatively, using and adapting forms and selecting
vocabulary appropriate to task and purpose in ways
that engage the reader.
• Organise information and ideas into structured and
sequenced sentences, paragraphs and whole texts,
using a variety of linguistic and structural features to
support cohesion and overall coherence.
• Use a range of sentence structures for clarity, purpose
and effect, with accurate punctuation and spelling.
Question five – 16 marks
This is a writing task and will ask the students to
write for a specific form, audience and
purpose. The topic will share a theme from the
reading section:
‘Write a brief article for a website of your
choice telling your readers about an
interesting or unusual journey or travel
experience you have had. Explain why it
was memorable.’
Question six – 24 marks
This is another writing task, that will also ask for a
specific form, audience and purpose but the
examiners will expect a lengthier, more formed
‘Your school or college is inviting entries for
a writing competition. This topic is
‘Dangerous sports activities and pastimes are
selfish, often put others are risk and should
be discouraged.’ Write your entry arguing for
or against this view.’
Top Tips
Be confident in the structure of the paper
Revise key analytical terminology
Revise writing style techniques
Read newspapers and non-fiction books
Complete some past papers
Be detailed and accurate in your writing
Keep to time
Last chance for Speaking and Listening!
Where to find resources
Classroom teacher – past papers, specific
advice on what to focus on and feedback
LRC – revision guides to purchase
JCC VLE – for extra homework tasks– for
general revision – the exam board’s website with
resources and specific advice for students and
Revision and support sessions
• 10th October – a master class for gifted and
talented students 3.15 – 4.15
• 11th October – a full mock in exam
• Monday 28th October to Friday 1st
November – a week of focused lunchtime
revision sessions on the different questions
• 2nd November – a Saturday school for D/C
borderline students.
Any questions?
e-mail -