Monday 18 May 2020 4pm

Excellent achievement in both the fiction reading in Paper 1 and the non- fiction reading in Paper 2


An opportunity to really develop exam techniques and skills that will ensure progression to the higher levels of the mark scheme for the reading elements of the English Language GCSE. A particular focus will be given to how to respond effectively to the AO2 questions, the skills of personal interpretation and comparison. Also there will be a focus on how to use your time effectively in the exam room with the use of exemplars from previous sessions.


  • Gain exceptional understanding of how to approach the reading tasks in the exam
  • Obtain top level strategies for producing excellent answers for both Paper 1 and Paper 2
  • Focus on what makes excellent responses in both papers to Questions 1-4 – and pitfalls to avoid
  • Best practice revision tips and guidance from an AQA expert
  • Discover how to reach the top mark band in all of your answers
  • This course includes a set of course notes which will be sent in advance of the course and which you will be able to use


  • All students of AQA GCSE English Language


4.00 pm Welcome and introductions

4.05 pm Dealing with Paper 1 – Section A

  • Answering the 4 mark questions – getting off to the best start on the day
  • 8 mark questions: what you do and do not need to include
  • Getting the structure right on Question 3
  • Unpicking evaluation for Question 4
  • Exemplar answer activity – choosing the right evidence for the right response

4.30 pm Paper 2 – handling the questions well

  • Question 1 – quick tips
  • Question 2 – reducing and refining for the 8 mark question
  • What the examiners are looking for in student answers in Question 3
  • What is synthesis? How do I turn this skill into an effective exam answer
  • Method, not content: the 16 mark comparison question

4.50 pm Examining example answers to Question 5

  • Student Activity: hitting the grade 7-9 standard; marking real examples of student responses.
  • Exemplar response – what makes a grade 7-9 answer?

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.

He is also part of the accreditation panels for a Regulator in English. As a consultant, he is widely involved in a range of activities, including the training of teachers in the new specifications both in training courses and with individual Departments. 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 an Associate University Lecturer in English. At the present time he is heavily involved in supporting teachers in the new English qualifications leading to the first assessments in 2017.

View all courses led by Paul Dodd >

AQA GCSE English Language