Revised in the light of the 2022 exams this NEW AQA English Literature Student Conference focuses keenly on the students who are aiming to get grades 4/5 at GCSE. The course will provide students with the skills they require to answer successfully the questions on Shakespeare, the 19th-centuary novel, Modern texts, Poetry and Unseen poetry.

The day is fully interactive, with a range of activities, quizzes, on-stage 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.


  • Gain first-hand guidance, advice and examples for improving your grade 4/5 candidates in AQA GCSE English Literature.

  • Each student receives a full workbook to complete on the day and full conference presentations / follow-on materials as electronic resources post-conference. These materials are student friendly terminology and templates for answers at grades 4/5

  • The demands of the questions will be dissected, analyzed and discussed in relation to candidates on the 4/5 threshold

  • The course will look in to detail at the issues created by the content of papers for these students aiming at getting a passing grade.

10.30 – 10.40 am: Welcome and Introduction

10.40 – 11.15 am: Key messages for Grades 4/5

  • Detailed analysis of the questions- identifying the command words and linking them to the extract/whole play
  • Excellent guidance on revision and planning your answers: what are the examiners looking for?
  • Expert advice on how to utilise skills across the question types
  • Examiner perspective of the Assessment Objectives and why they are important

11.15- 12pm: Paper 1: Shakespeare- key messages

  • Key challenges of grades 4/5- common exam errors and pitfalls to avoid
  • Using an extract from Shakespeare. What is the balance between the extract and the rest of the play?
  • How to answer the question set to get the highest marks- examiner advice
  • Moving up the levels – be the examiner, compare grade 4, 5 and 6 level responses and identifying the differences between the grades.
  • Opportunity for students to question the examiners on best exam practice
  • Key challenges of grades 4/5

12- 12.20 Morning break

12.20- 1 pm: Mastering the context of Shakespeare.

  • Key misconceptions of the context
  • Key challenges of writing about context- common pitfalls.
  • How much context is too much?-writing about context well at Grades 4-5.
  • Opportunity for students to question the examiners on best exam practice

1- 1.30 pm: Lunch

1.30 – 1.40 pm: Question Box

  • Our examiners answer students’ questions

1.40- 2.20pm Paper 1: The 19th Century Novel

  • Using the extract to highlight themes – how to achieve the marks when commenting on themes.
  • Using the extract to highlight character- how to write about character appropriately.
  • Common pitfalls often found at grade 4/5 responses and below
  • Activity: student marking exercise based on texts from either A Christmas Carol or Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • Review and marking of specimen scripts to highlight the key difficulties faced by level 4/5 candidates.

2.20- 3pm: Mastering the context of the 19th Century Novel

  • How to stand out –our examiners demonstrate the effective use of historical context and the writers’ methods. There is a special focus on the ‘The dangers of context’ our experienced course leaders explain how to avoid common pitfalls.
  • Revising for this question – top tips from the examiners, including practising linking context to themes and concepts.
  • Activity: identifying context comments in responses.

3 – 3.25 pm Final Top Tips

  • 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

Paul Dodd

Paul is an experienced English expert who has worked as a teacher for over 20 years and within a major exam board before becoming an independent educational consultant. He was a teacher of English, a Head of Department and a Director of Studies for over twenty years, teaching at schools in the United Kingdom and abroad. He then became Head of English at one of the leading exam boards and was involved in the development of the last two sets of English GCSEs and A Levels with Ofqual and the Department of Education.

As a consultant, he is widely involved in a range of activities, including the training of teachers and students in English specifications both in training courses and within individual schools. He has authored a whole series of teacher resources such as lesson plans and trial assessments at both GCSE and A Level.

He has authored several works on A Level English literary texts ranging from Romantic Poetry to Modern Drama and he examines for two UK exam boards and one international board in A Level English Literature. He is also a Principal Examiner for GCSE English Literature and the Chief Examiner for IB English Literature.

Jo Fox

Jo Fox is an English Teacher with 20 years’ experience teaching GCSE English Language and Literature. As a senior leader she has led on developing and improving the quality of teaching and learning in a range of schools, supporting staff to develop both subject knowledge and pedagogical approaches most likely to lead to improved outcomes. As a Team Leader for English Literature GCSE, she has 5 years’ experience leading a group of examiners through the marking process for papers focussing on Shakespeare and Poetry – specifically Unseen Poetry.

Students £25+VAT

One free teacher place for every 10 student places
Additional teachers £35+VAT
Individual teachers £80+VAT