Is English GCSE Hard? How Hard is English GCSE?

Is english gcse hard

Is English GCSE hard? Well, it is one of the hardest GCSEs to pass. Yet, to be hired, you must have earned a passing grade in GCSE English Language. While the pressure is often associated with math exams, this is also accurate for English GCSE.

It is quite challenging to study for, and it is unlikely that you will be able to identify the texts that are given to you during the exam.

Rest assured, passing this exam should be simple if you are familiar with the exam questions and ensure you are familiar with important topics.

Continue reading if you have questions about GCSE English Language or wish to become familiar with the format of the test.

How many GCSE English Language papers are there?

Most people are aware that when students take their exams, they should earn two different English GCSE qualifications. Both the English language and English literature GCSEs will be offered.

Students are led to believe that there is only one exam required for each qualification by this fact. This is not the case, though! Two GCSE English Language and two GCSE English Literature exams must be taken by each student.

If they work for AQA, Edexcel, or OCR, the test boards, then this is accurate. Then, under the AQA and OCR exam boards, each examination accounts for 50% of the English language GCSE.

For Edexcel, however, paper 2 accounts for 60% of the GCSE and paper 1 for 40%.

These two papers are logically referred to as Paper One and Paper Two. They concentrate on various linguistic aspects of English. Different exam boards use various question types in their papers.

But they all evaluate the same abilities. To determine the final grade, both of these exams must be taken.

It becomes more difficult if students miss an exam because the reason they missed it will affect how their mark is determined.

Read also: How to Prepare For Your GCSEs in Year 11 | Complete Guide

What does GCSE English Language paper 1 consist of?

An inquiry in Creative Reading and Writing is the title of the first AQA GCSE English Language paper. It is divided into sections A and B.

You must read a work of fiction for Section A, and you must respond to questions about it. This section carries 40 points.

There will be a brief comprehension test followed by questions on language, structure, and evaluation.

It’s substantially different in Section B. You’ll need to draft your original unique text. You’ll receive a prompt, like an image, to assist you. After that, you will need to create a description or a narrative about it.

Additionally, this segment carries 40 marks. You have 1 hour, 45 minutes, to do this.

It differs slightly from the OCR GCSE English Language paper 1. ‘Communicating information and ideas’ is how it’s referred to. This essay is divided into two parts as well.

You are given two nonfiction texts in Section A, and your task is to compare them. Following that, you will be quizzed on the language and organization of the two texts.

You must compose a creative non-fiction work for section B. You have two hours to finish the entire paper, and both portions are worth 40 marks each.

‘Fiction and inventive writing’ is the title of paper 1 for Edexcel.  In section A, you will receive a work of fiction. The next round of questions will focus on the language and organization of this text. This has a 24-point value.

Finally, you must create a creative writing work for section B. You have one hour and forty-five minutes to accomplish this section, which is worth 40 marks.

What does GCSE English Language Paper 2 consist of?

Paper 2’s material varies once more depending on the exam board. ‘Writers’ opinions and perspectives’ is the title of paper 2 for the AQA test board.

You will be given two non-fiction readings in section A, and you must compare them to properly respond to the questions that follow.

You must again produce a piece of original writing for Section B. This time, though, it is nonfiction. As a result, you can be requested to create documents like speeches or letters.

Each section carries 40 points. The entire paper must be finished in one hour and 45 minutes.

‘Exploring effects and impact’ is the title of paper 2 for OCR. You will be assigned two fiction books to compare in section A of this essay if you take the test.

They will present questions about language and structure to you. Also, you will need to respond to a question about evaluation.

You must compose an original work of fiction for section B. You have two hours to finish this paper, which has four sections each worth 40 marks.

Non-fiction and transactional writing is the topic of Edexcel Paper 2. In part A, you will be assigned nonfiction readings to contrast. You’ll be asked about the texts separately in some questions, and they will ask you to compare and contrast the two passages in others.

You can read this: How To Revise For GCSE English Literature: The Ultimate Guide

More Information About GCSE English Language Paper 2

You have another creative writing assignment in area B. This is a nonfiction work. As a result, they might require you to write a speech, a letter, or an article. It will take you two hours and five minutes to finish this entire paper.

You will be granted this much time because paper 2 makes up 60% of your final GCSE English Language mark according to the Edexcel exam board.

It’s rather easy to write an essay for GCSE English Language Papers 1 and 2. Finding intriguing techniques in the text is the hardest part.

When responding to a question that involves language, read the text or texts provided and underline any particularly intriguing words. After that, you can formulate overarching concepts for the writing and use these as the building blocks for your paragraphs.

For instance, if a storm was characterized as “blinding” in the text, I would emphasize this word. I might explain how this adverb implies that the storm was so dazzling that people were unable to perceive it. It indicates that simply by witnessing it, those who saw it suffered physical pain.

Another reading might be that no one wanted to observe the storm when they were in its vicinity. They then feigned to be “blinded” to be unable to notice the destruction of it. My argument would be that the storm is depicted as lethal as a result.

If this was a comparison question, you could then look for adjectives in the other material that, for instance, describe the storm and then compare the various consequences.

How do you write an essay in GCSE English Language paper 1 and paper 2?

There are small differences between essays on structure. The greatest advice is to check to determine if the text’s beginning and ending are connected.

Afterward, consider sentence constructions. Short phrases might be employed, for instance, to mimic the heartbeat of a person fleeing, if the story concerned them.

Once you have figured out precise approaches to these queries, you can connect them with broad themes and divide your essay into paragraphs.

Remember to write extensively about modest subjects!

There is no set methodology for the creative writing pieces in section B to follow. The main task of this question is to have you compose a narrative.

As a result, you can write as you choose! Make sure you employ literary devices like metaphors and similes.

Techniques used to build things are also helpful. Experiment with various sentence lengths. Check to see if you can connect your story’s beginning and ending to form a cycle.

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What are some revision tips for GCSE English Language?

The best approach to prepare for the GCSE English Language exam is to finish as many practice tests as you can. I’m not referring to hurriedly scanning past-paper questions and providing answers.

Additionally, I don’t imply staring at your phone every five minutes while you sit there for hours working on a prior paper.

You must act as if you are taking the actual exam to use prior papers efficiently. Set a timer and print a test to see how long you have in the actual exam. Ask your family to speak more quietly, and keep the dog in the backyard. Offset your phone!

Make every effort to complete an exam paper correctly. Don’t discard it after you’re done!

Request that a teacher grade it for you. To find out where you went wrong and how to fix it, ask for their opinion. Go over the paper yourself if they are unable to mark it for you.

Look for any occasions where you failed to express something clearly or where you could have done a better job of describing how the strategy worked.

After finishing all of the practice exams, look for your texts and use them to respond to the same questions. Continue to test yourself on important terms so you can quickly identify the names of words and procedures.

You might believe that studying for the GCSE English Language exam is difficult. You might be doing it, though, without even realizing it! Reading is a fantastic revision tool.

Reading increases your vocabulary, which will make your creative writing stand out.

Does GCSE English Language have coursework?

Sadly, the GCSE in English Language is entirely exam-based. There used to be some coursework involved. But in 2013, things changed.

The assessment of English would change in 2013 to become more exam-focused, according to the Department for Education. This indicated that the revised GCSE English language and literature instruction might start in 2015.

Consequently, the initial tests were conducted in 2017.

You could be required to conduct an oral evaluation, though. Your grade for English language GCSE is unaffected by this. Instead, it establishes a distinct grade with the options of passing, meriting, or earning a distinction.

If you do this, you might be required to give a speech in front of certain teachers, and it might be videotaped. They’ll evaluate your speaking and presentation skills. Examiners will then determine your grade.

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Do I have to retake GCSE English? Why should I?

While grades aren’t everything, GCSE English is an important qualification, and getting a good grade (4 or above) is essential not only for moving forward in your academic career but also for your chances of finding employment in the future. 

Therefore, it is not just advised but typically required that you retake your GCSE in English. The test must be taken again until you either pass or reach 18 years old.

Although this may seem intimidating, don’t be alarmed; with the appropriate assistance, you’ll breeze through the exam and receive the grades you deserve. Here is the definitive guide to getting ready for your retakes on the GCSE in English.

Why is it so hard to pass GCSE English?

It’s okay to fail the GCSE English language exam the first time around because it is undoubtedly difficult.

To make the GCSE more difficult, it was changed from the previous model with A-C grading and controlled examinations. In principle, this should raise the bar for the standard of English in the UK.

Remember that you are not alone in your emotions of anxiousness if you are retaking the GCSE English exam; thousands of people from all walks of life across the nation are experiencing the same things.

There is a lot of pressure now since the GCSE is entirely centered on the final exams, thus it’s acceptable to feel anxious or frightened before your tests.

The fact that there is only one exam at the end of the test makes it fairer and a more accurate assessment of your skills.

It does, however, imply that your performance is only evaluated on that particular day. Exam anxiety may be impacted by other problems, such as fatigue or illness, as well as other factors.

The sources used for that specific test may have been ones that you found particularly difficult or uninspired.

The line between passing English GCSE and failing might be razor-thin due to nerves, traffic, the weather, and a variety of other factors. It’s not shameful to take the final exam numerous times to pass when the stakes are high!

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What do I need to do to pass GCSE English?

Even though the English GCSE is challenging, it is also meant to be passed. Some students will aim for a 7, 8, or 9 grade, and to meet this quality, you must write and analyze texts with genuine subtlety and nuance. For many other students, the objective is to obtain a passing mark of 4, or ideally higher.

Whatever your objective, there are several things you should do to make sure you are properly prepared to take the exam with confidence and the information and skills you need to succeed.

1. Plan

Whether you are taking your exams for the first time or retaking them, planning is an essential component of the revision process.

Make a revision schedule for yourself with your timetable in mind, making sure to allow enough time to thoroughly cover each topic in which you struggle.

This will not only make it easier for you to organize your time, but it will also make it possible for you to observe your progress, which will give you a small confidence boost.

See also: Is Maths A Level Hard: How Hard is A Level Maths Compared to GCSE Maths?

2. Prepare

Although it may seem foolish, revision is the most crucial step in the exam retaking process. You’ll frequently discover that the second time around, you can absorb and retain the material much more readily.

Make thorough review notes for yourself, using any format that you find to be the most effective for learning—bullet points, spider diagrams, voice notes, or anything else—and then test yourself repeatedly until you are answering all of the questions correctly.

3. Get help when you need it

There has never been a more crucial time for you to get the assistance you require to make sure you are completely ready for your GCSE English exam.

Ask your tutor if they will sit with you and assist you in better understanding what you’re learning if you’re finding one or more subjects particularly difficult.

As an alternative, you may ask a friend who performed well on the exam to assist you. They would have recently gone through the procedure and may be able to provide you with some priceless advice. 

Related post: What Happens If You Do Worse in a GCSE Resit?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the toughest GCSEs?

Summary. While the difficulty of GCSE subjects varies depending on students’ talents and interests, some have a reputation for being exceptionally challenging. The most challenging GCSE topics frequently include math, science, modern foreign languages, English literature, and history.

Which GCSE in English is simpler?

However, according to some sources, English Language and Literature exams under the Edexcel iGCSE board are thought to be the most straightforward. The amount of writing that must be done within the confines of the exam can be challenging, although the grade bounds are thought to be appropriate.

What GCSE language is the most difficult?

It can be challenging to succeed in these GCSEs because many of the ideas and methods you must comprehend are foreign to the English language. As of 2018, the pass rates for the GCSEs in Spanish, German, and French were respectively 70.5%, 75.2%, and 69.8%.

Can English GCSE be difficult to pass?

What must I complete to pass the GCSE in English? Even though the English GCSE is challenging, it is also meant to be passed. Some students will aim for a 7, 8, or 9 grade, and to meet this quality, you must write and analyze texts with genuine subtlety and nuance.

See also: How to Prepare For Your GCSEs in Year 11 | Complete Guide


Because they don’t know how to prepare for it, many students find the GCSE in English Language to be challenging. You should be all right, though, if you read the revising advice provided in this post and on the other sites.

Exams for the GCSE in English Language only evaluate what you do daily! You’ll succeed if you can read and write well enough.

Don’t wait until the last minute to revise, and make sure you are familiar with the main words of the English language. Nothing is stopping you from taking these tests if you follow our advice.



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