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How to answer English GCSE questions
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Author:  FishG [ Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  How to answer English GCSE questions

My DC have begun studying for their GCSEs at GS. They are both struggling with essay writing. It's most obvious in English, but is being carried through into other areas (history, geography etc) where discursive essays are required. I'm an older mum and it's been a very long time since I've had to do any of this :oops: . Can anyone point me towards some useful 'how-to' books/ revision guides, so that I can see the required structure for these kinds of assignments/ exams? Thank you :)

Author:  ToadMum [ Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to answer English GCSE questions

FishG wrote:
My DC have begun studying for their GCSEs at GS. They are both struggling with essay writing. It's most obvious in English, but is being carried through into other areas (history, geography etc) where discursive essays are required. I'm an older mum and it's been a very long time since I've had to do any of this :oops: . Can anyone point me towards some useful 'how-to' books/ revision guides, so that I can see the required structure for these kinds of assignments/ exams? Thank you :)


Hello :)

I hesitate to ask, but has the school given no guidance on the required structure for the work that is being set? Your DC's first port of call should be their subject teachers if there is anything regarding the syllabus that they do not understand.

The school should have told you (or at least your DC) which exam boards it is using for each subject. All exam boards have the specification, teaching materials / marking schemes and sample assessment materials on their websites (some items may be 'teacher access only', but a lot is accessible). In our experience, schools have also offered study guides to purchase at reduced cost - ask if yours is intending to do this, before you rush out and buy anything.

If you indicate which school, someone whose DC have already gone through GCSE there may be able to indicate what your DC can expect.

Author:  solimum [ Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to answer English GCSE questions

They will be practising these heavily - and GCSE essays tend to fit a fairly formulaic structure. There will be words they are taught to look for in the question (such as "explain", "justify" ) and the answers will probably fit a "PEA" structure - "point" "evidence" (ie a quote from the text) "analysis" or some similar acronym.

Author:  piggys [ Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to answer English GCSE questions

I agree your first port of call is the English department in your dc's school. The three main exam boards (AQA, EDEXCEL and OCR) all produce GCSE study aid books which you can get from book shops. CGP do some quite good ones as well.

Although the wording of the questions is a bit different between the boards, the skill set is the same. English Language falls into the following broad areas: fact retrieval, language analysis, structure analysis, comparison and summary, comparison of writers' perspectives. Paper 2 is the tough one ! English lit is more straightforward IMO.

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