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AQA GCSE English Literature: Improving grades 4 to 5 Student Revision Conference

Course Code:


This NEW AQA English Literature Student Conference focuses keenly on the students who are aiming to improve their grade from 4 to 5 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 exam papers and responses to help them perform to their full potential in the summer exams. They will have the opportunity to ask questions.


  • Gain first-hand guidance, advice and examples for maximising your grade 4-5 candidates in AQA GCSE English Literature.
  • 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 exam skills and gain the confidence to develop and expand their potential.
  • The demands of the questions will be explained in student-friendly language for candidates who are striving to improve their grade from 4 to 5


Welcome and Introduction

10.00 – 10.15am

Focusing on the writer not the characters or plot. This will transform students’ answers and help them achieve a grade 5 or higher.

10.15 – 10.45am
  • Analysing questions – what does ‘How does..’ mean?
  • Know your texts – key characters and themes
  • Talking about language and meaning
  • What is the right way to talk about context?
  • Writing about the writer’s skills/methods 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 – Analysis not description – essential for grade 5 answers

11.00 – 11.45am
  • Investigating past papers – what are the focus areas – themes/characters?
  • Analysing not just reading the extract
  • Why is this theme/character important?
  • Linking relevant context.
  • Having an opinion
  • ACTIVITY – Opportunity for students to question examiners on Shakespeare

Paper 1: the 19th Century Novel – Selecting and exploring language used by the writer. Quotations and how to use them in a grade 5 answer.

11.45 – 12.30pm
  • Investigating language used in a past paper question
  • Analysing the extract carefully and identifying key quotations
  • Linking key quotes to produce a more persuasive answer
  • How much quotation should be used?
  • How much focus should there be on the wider novel?
  • ACTIVITY: Looking at a grade 5 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 grade 5

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 5 answer

Paper 2: Poetry Anthology – Developing comparative skills – comparing and contrasting techniques and ideas in a grade 5 answer

2.00 – 2.30pm
  • Knowing the poems – how well do students need to know them?
  • Making comparisons – similarities and differences
  • Comparing poetic techniques and meanings
  • Planning an answer
  • ACTIVITY – Matching authors’ techniques/meanings in poems using planning grids

Paper 2: Unseen Poetry – giving students the skills to unlock an unseen text

2.30 – 3.00pm
  • Reading and understanding the poem/s
  • Planning your answer using grids
  • How much to write. How many quotations to use
  • Developing students’ skills to explore
  • 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


London | Thursday 02 March 2023
The Stoller Hall, Hunts Bank, Manchester, M3 1DA | Tuesday 14 February 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 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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