Commence Operation ‘Revision Masterplan’ with this comprehensive selection of GCSE English past papers!
Using past papers is a really, really important part of revising English – both language and literature. Not only will it test your knowledge, but it will also identify any weak areas and help you get used to the format of each paper.
It can be really difficult to know where to start – there’s now a good-sized backlog of papers so you can use them in really effective ways! Keep scrolling to see our top five tips for using English past papers.
You can access the past papers, and the mark schemes, right here:
GCSE English Past Papers (Language and Literature)
Language Past Papers:
Literature Past Papers:
1. Make sure you are doing the right exam board and questions!
There are four exam boards for English and each exam board has its own texts and structure. If you are unsure which one your exam board is, ask your teacher.
In many of the papers, there are different questions for different texts. It goes without saying (but we’re going to say it anyway), you should only answer questions on the text or poetry cluster you’ve studied.
2. Keep track of the ones you do.
If you start early, you should have time to practise with the majority of the papers. You can use our exam tracker to mark off the papers you’ve done and add your grade and any comments. If possible, avoid redoing papers. It is much better to have a variation of questions to answer.
3. Vary how you use the papers.
While it is important to do some papers without the texts and in timed conditions, you can maximise you revision time by writing plans for answers rather than answering them in full.
You could also work with a friend. If each of you answer different exam questions, you can then swap your work and comment on the other person’s answer. This way, you will have feedback on your own work and will closely evaluate a second exam question.
4. Learn from your mistakes.
When you’ve done a past paper, check it against the mark scheme and make a note of anything you’ve missed. Check your quotes to make sure they are accurate and annotate any mistakes you made or key points you missed. This is just as important as doing the paper itself!
5. If you find gaps in your knowledge, address them!
If you realise you are not up to speed on your poetry, make sure you spend some time reviewing your notes and revising the content before doing another past paper. Otherwise, you will find that the same gaps keep coming up. You can use our digital revision guides to help address any gaps.
Practising with GCSE English past papers is one (significant) part of the puzzle. Continue piecing together your road to exam success with Beyond Revision and more of our blogs here! You can also subscribe to Beyond for access to thousands of secondary teaching resources. You can sign up for a free account here and take a look around at our free resources before you subscribe too.