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AQA GCSE English Literature: Aiming for Grades 8-9 Student Revision Conference

Course Code:


This NEW AQA English Literature Student Conference focuses keenly on the students who are aiming to get the very highest grades at GCSE. The course will provide students with the skills they require to successfully answer the questions on Shakespeare, the 19th-century novel, Modern texts, Poetry and Unseen poetry. The day is fully interactive, with a range of activities, tasks and challenges for students throughout the day. Students will examine quality exam responses to help them perform to their full potential in the summer exams and have the opportunity to ask questions.


  • Gain first-hand guidance, advice and examples for maximising your grade 8-9 candidates in AQA GCSE English Literature which is especially difficult when you are looking at the top end of results.
  • Each student receives student-friendly materials on the day and full conference presentations / follow-on materials as electronic resources post-conference. These materials are designed to allow students to understand and practise skills and gain the confidence to achieve the very top grades
  • The demands of the questions will be dissected, analysed and discussed in relation to candidates who are striving to achieve grades 8-9


Welcome and Introduction

10.00am – 10.15am

Identifying authorial intent and the ways writers demonstrate this. This skill is essential if aiming for the highest grades on Papers 1 & 2

10.15 – 10.45am
  • What is authorial intent?
  • How does an author show intent?
  • How does their language choice reveal meaning and intent?
  • How does context play a part?
  • Writing about the writer not just the text
  • Building students’ skills so that they can approach every question with confidence

Morning Break

10.45 – 11.00am

Paper 1: Shakespeare – Identifying Intent – essential for grade 8-9 answers

11.00 – 11.45pm
  • Investigating past papers – what are the focus areas – themes/characters?
  • Analysing the extract carefully
  • Why would Shakespeare want to focus on a theme/character?
  • Do we see the themes/characters in the same way today?
  • Having an opinion
  • ACTIVITY – Opportunity for students to question examiners on Shakespeare/intent

Paper 1: the 19th Century Novel – Identifying Intent AND including relevant context in your answer. Using context relevantly and appropriately in a grade 8-9 answer.

11.45 – 12.30pm
  • Investigating past papers – what are the focus areas – themes/characters?
  • Analysing the extract carefully and deciding why Dickens might focus on a theme/character?
  • Looking at language used in the extract – being a language detective
  • How much quotation should be used?
  • ACTIVITY: Looking at a grade 8/9 answer and sharing good work


12.30 – 1.00pm

Question Box

1.00 – 1.15pm
  • A chance to ask direct questions to the keynote speakers, with a prize awarded for the best question.

Paper 2: Modern Texts – Using quotations and analysing key events in order to achieve grades 8-9

1.15 – 2.00pm
  • Investigating past papers – what are the focus areas – themes/characters?
  • Analysing the extract carefully and deciding why the author might focus on a theme/character?
  • Quotation versus key moments/events in the text
  • How much should students write?
  • ACTIVITY: Having a view and supplying the evidence – a look at a level 8-9 answer

Paper 2: Poetry Anthology – Developing comparative skills – comparing and contrasting techniques and ideas in a grade 8-9 answer

2.00 – 2.30pm
  • Knowing the poems – how well do students need to know them?
  • Making comparisons – similarities and differences
  • Poetic techniques versus meaning – which is more important?
  • Planning an answer
  • ACTIVITY – Matching authors’ techniques/ideas in poems using planning grids

Paper 2: Unseen Poetry – using language skills to unlock an unseen text

2.30 – 3.00pm
  • Reading, analysing and understanding the poem/s
  • Planning your answer using grids
  • How much to write. How many quotations to use.
  • Developing students’ skills to explore and analyse
  • ACTIVITY: Sharing key ideas from Lead Examiner reports

Final Top Tips from the Experts

3.00 – 3.15pm
  • KEY POINTS: how to improve your final grade
  • What students can do after today to boost their exam chances
  • Top Ten Examiner Tips for success in English Literature


The Rock Tower, 49 Tufnell Park Rd, London, N7 0PS | Wednesday 29 March 2023
King’s Church, Sidney Street, Manchester, M1 7HB | Thursday 16 March 2023

Please select your preferred date

This conference, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Liz Calcott is an experienced GCSE English teacher with twenty years’ experience of teaching in schools and further education colleges. She is a senior examiner for the AQA exam board for both English Language and English Literature. She has marked and led teams of examiners in GCSE Literature for the past eight years.

2nd Speaker – expert examiner and practitioner for AQA GCSE English Literature


  • A Specially prepared notes, practical advice and guidance by the course leader
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

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