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A GCSE Student’s Guide to Narrative Writing Skills

Beverly Abrahams | Thursday June 26, 2014

Categories: KS4, AQA GCSE, AQA GCSE Pre-2015 Resources, AQA English, Unit 3 Creative Texts, AQA GCSE Generic Skills, AQA GCSE Skills Resources, EDEXCEL GCSE, Edexcel GCSE Generic Skills, Edexcel GCSE Skills Resources, Edexcel GCSE Pre-2015 Resources, Edexcel English, Edexcel Unit 3 Creative Responses, EDEXCEL iGCSE, EDEXCEL iGCSE English Language, Paper 2 Reading and Writing, Edexcel iGCSE Generic Skills , Edexcel iGCSE Skills Resources, Cambridge iGCSE, English 0500, English 0522, Cambridge iGCSE English, OCR GCSE, WJEC Eduqas GCSE, Hot Entries, OCR GCSE Generic Skills, OCR GCSE Skills Resources, WJEC GCSE Generic Skills, WJEC GCSE Skills Resources

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This guide has been written with the CIE English Unit 0500 and 0522 in mind, but it could be equally useful to introduce and practice narrative writing skills for WJEC, OCR, AQA and Edexcel GCSE and iGCSE.


To develop appropriate writing skills in line with the objectives required by Cambridge International Examinations for Cambridge iGCSE First Language English Syllabus code 0500 and Cambridge International Level 1/Level 2 Certificate First Language English Syllabus code 0522. The ideas below can be easily transferred to all other exam boards, including AQA, WJEC, OCR and Edexcel for iGCSE and GCSE.

The skills being developed are those specified in the above two CIE syllabuses under Paper 3 ‘Directed Writing and Composition’, namely:

  • W1 -  Articulate experience and express what is thought, felt and imagined
  • W2 -  Order and present facts, ideas and opinions
  • W3 -  Understand and use a range of appropriate vocabulary
  • W4 -  Use language and register appropriate to audience and context

Topic: Developing Ideas

Ideas that you want to communicate always arise in response to a particular circumstance. This is sometimes called the context of production. Such a context, for it to create the desire to communicate thoughts and opinions, must include audience (or at least a sense of one, as in a journalistic or media text). The thoughts and ideas being expressed will be your particular and personal response to a given topic.

  • For exam or coursework, the context will be entirely artificial and given to you – but success will come only if you can imaginatively recreate the context and enter into it, creating the text in a natural-seeming way, full of the interest and passion you would have if it were real.

When you create a text in order to communicate, the topic and opinion at its heart become what can be called the ‘controlling idea’ of the text. Most ‘texts’ in the everyday world, of...

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