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AQA GCSE English Paper 1 Section A Guide

Steve Campsall | Tuesday May 28, 2013

Categories: KS4, AQA GCSE, Media & Non-Fiction, Analysing Media & Non-Fiction, Writing, Non-Fiction Analysis, AQA English, Unit 1 Non Fiction Texts, AQA English Language , Unit 1 Texts: Non Fiction


The advice in the guide is focused on the requirements of the AQA Unit 1 exam (Section A), but could easily be adapted to suit the requirements of other exam boards in their testing on non-fiction and media texts.

The examples shown at the end of each section of the guide as exemplification are based on the AQA Unit 1 June 2012 Higher paper texts and questions, available from the AQA website.

Section A: Reading

Question 1

  • Use a highlighter pen to mark the key words contained in the question to help make sure you address each of these. These form the core of the mark scheme and must be covered or you’ll lose marks – as many students manage to do, in the panic and rush, despite the seeming obviousness of this, each year.
  • Be aware that the higher grade bands can only be achieved by providing more than a basic level of response and detail. Your response needs to be more than merely ‘descriptive’ that is, stating what is directly ‘in the article’ or extract: it needs to be this plus, plus, plus! By being deepened through detail, insight and perceptiveness.
  • Linked to the above, if you provide only a summary of what you have learned (or whatever the question asks), this will only take you into Band 3 of the Mark Scheme (about a grade D). Instead, think about how you came to learn or understand whatever you state and why you were likely being told it (and perhaps why ‘in this way’, through the writer’s choices of language or layout). This means also thinking about the implications of what the writer says and why they say it, thinking about genre conventions, purpose and audience.
  • There is no need to analyse actual uses of language or style in this question.
  • Be perceptive to the detail in the texts, developing close insights into the writer’s choices of method, their intended effects and the likely purposes, thinking about making useful; and insightful deductions and inferences from what you are told and the way you...

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