GCSE English Language
At Barts, we offer real flexibility when it comes to exam boards for English. While our English tutor’s preference is for Edexcel iGCSE, due to the option to have coursework count towards your grade, we can also teach towards AQA, OCR, and (regular) Edexcel. If you would like to stick to an exam board that you are familiar with, we will support and encourage that. However, switching exam boards for one reason or another is not uncommon and our tutors will support you with this transition.
No matter which exam board specification you choose, the content you are taught remains broadly similar, with slight variations in the way the exam is ‘built’ so to speak. For example, whilst with AQA English Language, Paper 2, you are provided 2 unseen non-fiction texts to analyse and compare; in iGCSE, you are taught an anthology (collection) of non-fiction texts, one or two of which will be written about in the exam.
Also similar (actually, pretty much the same!) are the actual objectives you are trying to achieve through the study of English Language. They fall into two main categories: Reading and writing.
- Read, understand and interpret texts
- Analyse how writers use methods and techniques to achieve effects
- Compare texts and writers’ methods within these texts
- Write effectively and imaginatively, adapting the style to suit different texts and audiences.
- Use a variety of accurate vocabulary (including spelling), punctuation, and grammar to achieve particular effects.
The above objectives are not the exact wording of any one exam board’s assessment objectives. They are very similar across exam boards though.
In your exams or your coursework, you will be expected to write about how writers achieve effects in both fiction (stories) and non-fiction (‘real’ texts). For example, in writing about a non-fiction newspaper article, you might explore how the writer demonstrates their thoughts and feelings through the use of their sarcasm, or through their use of similes to create exaggeration. In writing about a fiction extract (say, an extract from The Hunger Games), you might explore how the use of short sentences creates a sense of anxiety, or how the metaphors help to paint the scene as a monotonous and hopeless place.
About 50% of the marks awarded for English Language GCSE (no matter what exam board) will be for your writing skills. You will be taught how to use linguistic (language!) and structural (how sentences are built!) techniques to create atmosphere and vivid description; you will be encouraged to widen your vocabulary and spell as accurately as possible; and you will experiment with different types of text so that, no matter what the exam throws at you, you will be able to respond skillfully and imaginatively.
You will be in safe hands with our tutor, Ant, who has taught at Barts for around 13 years, with his students consistently getting excellent results, year on year. Past students always comment on his kindness, patience and his expertise and passion for his subject.
If you would like to get in touch to discuss coming to Barts to study, for the first time or as a retake, English or any other subject for that matter, please do get in touch with us through our contact page.