GCSE Preparation. English Language Paper 1

Question 1

In this question, you need to list four things about the character or the setting.
Remember it is a list, you don’t need to do a full PEE/PEA or PEED.

List four things about the boy in the first paragraph.

He’s ten years old
He is playing with his cars
He likes this time of day
He doesn’t like school

Read the text closely. There will be around six to eight answers and you need to find four. This is your first four marks.


GCSE English language paper 1 question 2

GCSE Preparation. English Language. Today I am looking at paper 1: Question 2. In this question, you will be given a portion of the text, for example lines 14 to 28. The question will be to comment on the writers:

Look for interesting words and phrases and explain them. Despairing yell…dull heavy thud- Note: find a word or phrase that interests you and then explain it.


Language features and techniques: alliteration, repetition, opinion, statistics, facts, anecdotes, hyperbole (exaggeration) rhetorical questions, rule of three and humour. Look for these in the text. Also look for: personification, simile, onomatopoeia and metaphor. When you find them, comment on their use and effect.


Personification, simile, metaphor, onomatopoeia, juxtaposition, pathetic fallacy, listing, noun phrases and oxymoron.

Sentence forms: Complex sentences using lots of commas to describe the setting or perhaps a journey. Short sentences for tension, perhaps a cliff-hanger, or horror/terror.
Read the text closely, this is worth eight marks.

Paper 1 Question 3.

How has the writer structured the text to interest you as a reader?

You could write about:

  • what the writer focuses your attention on at the beginning
  • how and why the writer changes this focus as the source develops
  • any other structural features that interest you.

This question is about the text and how it is constructed (structure).

The focus at the beginning will be the setting (where the story begins)

In a house, out on the moor, on a hill or The Grand Canyon. The setting is wherever the story begins.

The story will change due to the introduction of a character, crisis, or dialogue.

Look for where the text changes and why? What’s happened? You need to write about this change. You need to understand how the story has developed.

Now the technical:

Write about sentence types and their significance.

Is the story linear/non-linear? Chronological-non-chronological.

Does the story go from indoor to outdoor or outdoor to indoor?

Is there a perspective change– A different viewpoint from the author through the characters.

Cinematic– is the setting described as though you are looking through a camera?

Frame narrative– Is there a story within the story? Does a character refer, for example, to what happened last week or last year.

When are characters introduced?

When does dialogue happen and what is the effect?

Use of punctuation and its effect- some writers use a lot of colons or dashes or exclamation marks, or ellipses. If you find this, comment on it.

Paper 1 Question 4: 

In this question, you will have to analyse the text and read it carefully. The high mark (20) reflects the complexity of the question. The question asks your opinion and the answer needs to be considered and intelligent. This is where your ability to write is put to the test and your understanding of where the changes in the plot occur within the text. You have to use quotations from the text to back up your answer. The first step is to agree.


A reviewer wrote: ‘This end part of the extract where the boy’s game comes to life takes a darker and more chilling tone.’

To what extent do you agree?

In your response, you could:

  • consider your own impressions of the boy’s game
  • evaluate how the writer creates a dark and chilling tone
  • support your response with references to the text.


[20 marks]


English Language Paper 1 Question 5

There will be a picture and a choice of either writing a story or a description.

The story must start with a crisis. This will immediately engage with the reader and

make them want to read on. You can use simile, metaphor, personification and hyperbole

and interesting adjectives, adverbs and verbs. Use also, your five senses: Taste, touch,

sound, smell and sight. By using these techniques it will make your story come alive.

This question is worth 40 marks in total. There will be 24 marks for content and 16 marks for

SPAG (spelling, grammar and punctuation).

The description will use much the same techniques as the story, but remember not to

use prouns like-I, me, you etc. Make the description as if you looking through the lens of

a camera and describe what the camera sees. (40 Marks)

Paper 2: In paper 2 you will be given two texts to compare. Source A and Source B.

One text will be a newspaper report and the other some form of literature. They

will be linked by their content or theme.

Paper 2 Question 1

Question 1 gives you 8 choices. You have to read a section of text eg: lines 1 to 9

There will be 8 answers, each with a box. There are only four correct answers and

you have to shade in four boxes from the eight.

Read the text carefully and make sure you selections are accurate. (4 marks)


Paper 2 Question 2

In question 2 paper 2; there will be two text to read. Source A and Source B.

You will be asked to compare the differences or similarities between these two texts.

You will have to use the whole texts for this answer.

My advice is: choose the text which has the most action or detail and simply

work out what is happening in this text that isn’t happening in the other text.

Don’t waste too much time here, the marks are in Questions 4 and 5.

This question carries (8 marks).