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English Literature

AQA English Literature GCSE (8702)


English Literature GCSE is a closed book exam which is taken at the end of Year 11.  

Paper 1

This is based on Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel and is assessed by a written exam which is 1 hour and 45 minutes, accounts for 64 marks and 40% of the GCSE. 

Section A

  • Shakespeare: students will answer one question on their play of choice ('Romeo and Juliet'). They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.

Section B

  • The 19th-century novel: students will answer one question on their novel of choice ('A Christmas Carol'). They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.

Paper 2

This is based on modern texts and poetry and is assessed by a written exam which is 2 hours and 15 minutes, accounts for 96 marks and 60% of the GCSE. 

Section A

  • Modern texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text (‘An Inspector Calls’).

Section B

  • Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.

Section C

  • Unseen poetry: Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

The following texts are studied for the English Literature GCSE:

  • ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B. Priestley
  • ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens
  • ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare
  • AQA Poetry Anthology: Love and Relationships

Topics Covered per Half Term  


Term  Year 10 Year 11 
Autumn 1 

Introduction to Poetry.


  • Practice Paper response to Paper 1, Q1, 2 and 3
  • Past exam question on ‘Love and Relationships’ poetry anthology.

Ctd. Romeo and Juliet; poetry.


  • Paper 1 questions; Romeo and Juliet extract-based timed assessment.
  • Spoken Language assessment
Autumn 2 

Ctd… A Christmas Carol and Poetry study.


  • Story/Description
  • Comparative Poetry Response;
  • Extract-based timed essay for ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Revision of ‘A Christmas Carol’ ; poetry study.


Whole Paper 2, Section A; extract-based essay on ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Spring 1

An Inspector Calls.


  • Paper 2 Questions 1, 2, 3 timed response
  • Essay on the presentation of characters in ‘An Inspector Calls’

Revision of all texts. 

Poetry Anthology to be completed.


  • Whole Paper 1
Spring 2

An Inspector Calls

Study of Anthology Poetry.


  • Writing to Argue; timed response to ‘An Inspector Calls’
  •  Unseen Poetry response.
Ongoing examination practice.
Summer 1 

Romeo and Juliet


  • Paper 2, Question 4
Ongoing examination practice.
Summer 2 

Romeo and Juliet

Poetry revision.


  • Paper 2 Section B; Romeo and Juliet examination question