Revision Ideas for AQA English Language Paper 1

Read through our stage-by-stage guidance for paper 1, picking up hints and tips along the way.

English Language Revision

All of the suggestions on this page are taken from the revision booklet at this link which includes additional tasks and exercises and can be downloaded in full with a subscription.

Consolidate foundational skills with our intervention lesson series, the first pack is FREE!

Practice the exam with one of our specimen papers.

Print out a Section A support guide.

Breakdown of marks and suggested timings:

Reading the text N/A 15 minutes
Answering question 1 4 marks 4 minutes
Answering question 2 8 marks 8 minutes
Answering question 3 8 marks 8 minutes
Answering question 4 20 marks 20 minutes
Answering question 5 40 marks 40 minutes
Checking your work N/A 10 minutes
Total 80 marks 1 hour 45 minutes

Reading The Text

French-ks3-reading-comprehension

What will I need to do?

Read an extract from a 20th or 21st century piece of fiction (novel or short story). Any particularly unusual words will be marked with an asterisk and explained in a glossary at the bottom of the text.

Suggested time spent: 15 minutes.

Top tips:

  • Don’t skim through the text first time round – make sure you read it carefully.
  • If there are any words or phrases you don’t understand, try to use their context in the writing to work out their meaning.
  • Remember that you can write on the text as you go through it. Annotate your text carefully.

Answering Question 1

The Facts

Worth: 4 marks

You will be tested on AO1:

  • identify and interpret explicit and implicit information and ideas;
  • select and synthesise evidence from different texts.

Suggested time spent: 4 minutes

What will I need to do?

Locate four specific pieces of information, such as a description, from the text. There may be more than four available, and the information may be surface meaning (such as a fact) or implied meaning (such as a suggestion or hint). You can use specific quotations from the text or your own words, or both.

Top tips:

  • Read the question very carefully – the examiner is looking for particular things.
  • Use the line references. Only look at the section of text you are asked to consider.
  • Only give four pieces of information – this is a four-mark question, so don’t spend a long time on it.
  • Make sure that your points are different – don’t say the same thing in different ways!
  • Read carefully for implied meaning.
  • Make sure you take your information from the text – don’t attempt to answer from memory!

Answering Question 2

English-persuasive-writing

The Facts

Worth: 8 marks

You will be tested on AO2:

  • Explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to support their views.

Suggested time spent: 8 minutes

What will I need to do?

Identify and analyse how the writer uses words, phrases, and language features to create particular effects. You will need to quote from the text directly and you will need to explain how the quotations you have chosen make your points.

Top tips:

  • Make sure you refer to language throughout your answer – try to use the vocabulary you have learned to discuss literary techniques.
  • Use the line references to get to the appropriate piece of text quickly.
  • Highlight on the text words or phrases you think you may use in your answer.
  • Remember to use short, precise quotations from the text.
  • It’s not enough to just identify the techniques being used – you must explain how they are effective.

Word Bank

The following phrases may be useful when writing your answer:

The writer / narrator uses / refers to / employs…

The writer / narrator builds / creates / develops…

The writer / narrator creates a mood / atmosphere / sense / feeling of…

The use of simile / metaphor / personification creates a sense of…

Answering Question 3

Consider different ways to approach structure with this resource pack.

The Facts

Worth: 8 marks

You will be tested on AO2:

  • Explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to support your views.

Suggested time spent: 8 minutes

What will I need to do?

Identify and analyse how the writer uses structural devices to create particular effects. You will need to quote from the text directly and you will need to explain how the quotations you have chosen make your points. Structural features can be:

  • whole text: eg. beginnings / endings / perspective shifts;
  • paragraph level: eg. topic change / aspects of cohesion;
  • sentence level when they contribute to the whole structure.

Top tips:

  • Make sure you refer to elements of structure throughout your answer – these include the form and type of sentences, the way the story and plot are put together and where and how certain types of words are used.
  • Use the line references to get to the appropriate piece of text quickly.
  • Highlight on the text words or phrases you think you may use in your answer.
  • Remember to use short, precise quotations from the text.

It’s not enough to just identify the techniques being used – you must explain how they are effective.

Word Bank

The following phrases may be useful when writing your answer:

The writer / narrator uses / refers to / employs…

The writer / narrator builds / creates / develops…

The writer / narrator creates a mood / atmosphere / sense / feeling of…

The use of short sentences / ellipsis / longer sentences creates a sense of…

The pace / rhythm of the text increases/decreases here so that…

Answering Question 4

English-ks4-language

The Facts

Worth: 20 marks

You will be tested on AO4:

  • Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references.

Suggested time spent: 20 minutes

What will I need to do?

Evaluate how successful the writer has been throughout a section of the text. This will involve referring to language and structural devices the writer uses, but you will also need to show how the writer builds an effect over the course of the piece. Your answer will need to have an overview of the text supplied, as well as an understanding of specific details. You will need to give a personal opinion. You will need to use quotations in your answer.

Top tips:

  • Use specific quotations from the text.
  • Make sure you consider the question. This will often be a quotation from another student or teacher giving their impressions of the text. You must explain how and why you agree or disagree with this impression.
  • Think about how the text changes throughout the section specified – how does the author take the reader on an emotional or psychological journey?
  • Remember to refer to the reader – what impression does the author make on them?
  • Make sure your answer is personal – you are offering a judgement – but it must be firmly backed up by the text.

Don’t criticise the author too much – the text is likely to be regarded as a classic of English literature!

Word Bank

The following phrases may be useful when writing your answer:

The writer / narrator uses / refers to / employs…

The writer / narrator builds / creates / develops…

The writer / narrator creates a mood / atmosphere / sense / feeling of…

The reader is given the impression that…

This is effective because…

This creates a feeling of… by…

Answering Question 5

Print out a Section B support guide.

The Facts

Worth: 40 marks

You will be tested on:

AO5 (24 marks):

  • communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, selecting and adapting tone, style and register for different forms, purposes and audiences;
  • organise information and ideas, using structural and grammatical features to support coherence and cohesion of texts.

AO6 (16 marks):

  • use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation.

Suggested time spent: 45 minutes

What will I need to do?

Write an engaging, imaginative fiction piece which could be based on your real experiences or entirely made up. It should be appropriate to the purpose, audience and form stated in the task. One of the tasks will include an image which you will be asked to use as a stimulus for your piece.

Top tips:

  • Make sure your piece is carefully structured – take two minutes to plan it first.
  • Use a wide range of vocabulary, sentence structures and literary devices – this is your opportunity to show off!
  • Make sure you have read the question carefully – it’s important that your writing fits the task given.
  • Take great care with spelling, punctuation and grammar – 16 marks are available for technical accuracy.

Word Bank

Try including some of the following literary techniques in your writing:

Alliteration

Emotive language

Irony

Juxtaposition

Metaphor

Onomatopoeia

Personification

Sibilance

Simile

Final Tips

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  • When you know the time of your exam, work out what the timings for each question will be.

For example, if the exam begins at 1.30pm:

Reading the text: 1.30pm
Question 1: 1.45pm
Question 2: 1.49pm
Question 3: 1.57pm
Question 4: 2.05pm
Question 5: 2.25pm
Checking your work: 3.05pm
End of exam: 3.15pm

 

  • If you miss your timings, don’t panic. Move to the next question quickly – you can always return to the previous one if you have time at the end.
  • Read the text provided carefully. If you’re unsure of what some of the words mean, try to work out their meanings by looking at their context in the sentence.
  • Remember to read for implied meaning, as well as surface meaning.
  • Read the questions very carefully. If need be, underline key words so you are sure what you are being asked.
  • Look at the marks available and adapt your response accordingly. There is no point writing two pages for a eight mark question and half a page for a twenty mark question.
  • Write on your copy of the text if you want to. This is your exam paper – annotate and highlight as you need.
  • Keep quotations short – a few words at most.
  • Try to integrate quotations into your sentences.
  • Never criticise an author. You can evaluate their work, using evidence from the text, but do not make sweeping statements about whether you personally like or dislike the text.
  • Plan your written task – a spider diagram, list or flow chart will help you to create cohesion in your writing.
  • Pay attention to your spelling, punctuation and grammar. This is worth 16 marks in Section B of the exam. Don’t make silly mistakes, such as forgetting to use capital letters correctly.
  • Check your work carefully when you have finished. Use every minute you have!

Believe in yourself. You are prepared and YOU CAN DO THIS!

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