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12 Useful Tips for GCSE English Language Paper 1 Question 2

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

The GCSE English exam is important for students, and numerous universities accept it. The paper comprises two portions:

  • The English literature exam

  • The English Language exam

Among these, the language part focuses on testing students' writing and reading skills. The English Language exam consists of 5 questions that span the following:


  • Creative writing

  • Descriptive/narrative writing

  • Fictional texts

  • Literary non-fiction texts

  • Non-fiction texts

  • Extended writing

  • Responding to questions & feedback

  • Presenting

Use of standard English

As it's clear that the major portion of the paper focuses on testing your writing and analytical skills, question 2 also follows the same pattern. It is a language-based question that analyses a student's ability to understand the writer's writing style through a given text and give logical answers through evidence of the questions related to the text.

Let's go into the brief detail of this question, followed by some useful tips to solve this question:

10 Useful Tips to Revise Your GCSE Syllabus

Brief Details of The Question 2

Question 2 is asked in all three GCSE boards, AQA, OCR and Edexcel, with slight differences. It carries a total of 8 marks. While attempting this question, the students are required to:

  • Read the text and carefully understand the writer's logic, vocabulary and ultimately, language.

  • Then, go through the instructions and collect the linguistic evidence of their answer to the question.

  • Write well-structured and concise answers demonstrating their grip on the question.

Useful Tips for Solving Question 2

Below are some effective tips for logically answering your question 2 to get good grades:

Be Skilled in Using Technical Vocabulary

Have a good command of vocabulary, as it's the vocabulary that helps you explain your point of view by using the most appropriate words. Ensure you know the technical vocabulary and are skilled in its usage, for example, metaphor, simile, personification, etc.

Use Quotations Carefully

Quotations support your argument, illustrate your points, and add interest and depth to your writing. So, be careful in their usage and choose quotations full of linguistic features. Understand the context of the quotation before using it. Also, make sure not to use quotations excessively.

Keep Reader in Your Mind

Consider the reader's mind while commenting on the text, and adjust your similes and metaphors appropriately. This shows that you have a good command of your language portion.

Learn Singulars in Detail

Another key point is to know your singulars properly. This helps you avoid errors. For learning singulars, you can use the ZOOM technique. This technique is a powerful memory technique that can help you to learn singulars in language more quickly and easily.

Useful Revision Techniques You Can Use

Have Several Interpretations

Try to interpret your phrases and keywords in several ways, showing the examiner that you are clear and deeply understand the language. It also shows that you can argue two different points if needed.

Repeat Keywords from The Question

Try to use the same terminology mentioned in the question as repeating keywords shows the examiner that you are answering in the same direction as the question and not going off-topic.

Replace "Word" With "Lexical"

Instead of using any random term, use "lexical choice" whenever you have to refer to a phrase or word used in the question. Using technical terms shows the examiner that you know about the different levels at which the language operates.

Try to Answer In 4 Paragraphs

When answering your question, it is better to remain to the point. So, try to answer your questions in 3-4 paragraphs. This helps to keep your answer concise while explaining your point simultaneously.

Write Evidence-Based Answers

One important thing about question 2 is that you must write an evidence-based answer, as the evidence proves your answer is based on logic and facts. Using the right language, vocabulary, and careful text interpretation makes your answer precise and accurate.

Counter Question Yourself

Try to write by questioning yourself: what does the writer want me to think and feel? What's the meaning and effect of this phrase? What's the style of the writer? Which language techniques have been used in the sentences?

Avoid Using Banned Phrases

Using banned phrases like this makes it flow, makes the reader think, etc., and dulls your writing. Avoid repetition to produce a well-crafted answer for your examiner.

Don't Bother About the Words

Last but not least, do not rush for the word count. Your answer has to be clear, concise and logical, although the word count may fluctuate.

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