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GCSE Teacher’s Guide To AQA English Literature Unit 1 Examination

jennywebb | Wednesday October 23, 2013

Categories: KS4, AQA GCSE, AQA GCSE Pre-2015 Resources, AQA English Literature, Unit 1 Exploring Modern Texts, Drama, An Inspector Calls , The Crucible, Hot Entries, Writing, Analytical Writing, Drama Analysis, Literary Analysis


The AQA GCSE English Literature Unit 1 exam is the one that all students taking this course must sit, regardless of the route through the course your school has chosen. Unit 1 covers ‘Modern Texts’, and allows for the study of short novels with the possible choice of a play.

In order to succeed in this exam, students must display perceptiveness when deploying a range of analytical skills that incorporate an awareness of literary form, language, structure and context.

Additional Resources

  • AQA Lit Unit 1 DNA Storyboard.pdf
  • AQA Lit Unit 1 Learning Mat The Crucible.pdf
  • AQA Unit 1 Learning Mat An Inspector Calls.docx

Unit 1 Section A

In this section, students are asked to respond to one from a choice of two questions on a prepared text. Text options for this section include:

1. Short Stories from the AQA Anthology Sunlight on the Grass

My Polish Teacher’s Tie by Helen Dunmore
When the Wasps Drowned by Claire Wigfall
Compass and Torch by Elizabeth Baines
On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl by Haruki Murakami
The Darkness Out There by Penelope Lively
Anil by Ridjal Noor
Something Old, Something New by Leila Aboulela

2. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

3. Martyn Pig by Kevin Brooks

4. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

5. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

6. Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas

7. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

8. Kindertransport by Diane Samuels

9. An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley

10. Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) by Dennis Kelly

This essay requires students to analyse form, structure and language in detail, as well as commenting on author’s intentions.

Common Pitfalls

Irrelevant context – some students, on texts such as The Crucible and An Inspector Calls, waste time discussing historical context when it does not form part of the mark scheme for this section of the exam. Their confusion is probably because context is such a vital component of Section B, and also because in the two texts...

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