GCSE English Language

Course Content

Starts in September with written exams taken in June

The qualification is made up of two externally-assessed written examination components and one internally assessed non-examination component. The internally-assessed non-examination component tests spoken language skills. Achievement in Spoken Language will be reported as part of the qualification, but it will not form part of the final mark and grade.

GCSE English language is designed on the basis that learners should read and be assessed on high-quality, challenging texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.


Exam

Component 1

1 hour – 45 mins. Makes up 40% of the grade

Section A (20%) – Reading (40 marks)

This section will test through structured questions the reading of an unseen extract from one 20th century literary prose text (about 60-100 lines).

Section B (20%) – Prose Writing (40 marks) 

This section will test creative prose writing through one 40-mark task. Candidates will be offered a choice of four titles giving opportunities for writing to describe and narrate, and imaginative and creative use of language.

Component 2

2 hours. Makes up 60% of the grade

Section A (30%) – Reading (40 marks)

This section will test through structured questions the reading of two high-quality unseen non-fiction texts (about 900-1200 words in total), one from the 19th century, the other from the 21st century. Non-fiction texts may include, but will not be limited to: letters, extracts from autobiographies or biographies, diaries, reports, articles and digital and multi-modal texts of various kinds from newspapers and magazines, and the internet.

Section B (30%) – Writing (40 marks)

This section will test transactional, persuasive and/or discursive writing through two equally weighted compulsory tasks (20 marks each). Across the two tasks candidates will be offered opportunities to write for a range of audiences and purposes, adapting style to form and to real-life contexts in, for example, letters, articles, reviews, speeches, etc.

Component 3

Spoken Language 

Candidates will be required to complete one formal presentation or speech. They will also be assessed on their responses to questions and feedback following the presentation or speech. Standard English should be a feature of all parts of the candidates’ work in this
component.
Achievement in Spoken Language will be reported as part of the qualification, but it will not form part of the final mark and grade.


Resources

  • A4 ring-binder folder
  • Set of separators or dividers
  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Paper/note book
  • Ruler

Awarding body