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Mount Carmel - College for Girls

English Language and Literature

Provided you fulfil the course requirements, you will be entered for examinations for two GCSEs: GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature (exam board: AQA). We have provided a course overview on the next page.


In contrast to previous years, your GCSEs will be assessed through examination only. Although you will still be taught how to draft and redraft work as part of the learning process, you will not write or submit ‘coursework’; your GCSE grades will be based only on the answers you provide in your exams at the end of year 11.

Tiered Entry: Following the Government’s education reform, all students will be entered for the same exam. This is because there are no longer any tiered entries in either exam (i.e. there is no Foundation or Higher tiered entry – everyone does the same paper).

Changes to the GCSE grading

Another change that the Government has issued for September 2015 is that all of the students sitting English GCSEs will receive a grade of 1 – 9 (with 9 being the highest avaliable) rather than A* – G. We will give you more information about this new system at our Information Evenings and at the start of term. In the meantime, the following table can be used as an estimated guide of the conversion from letters to numbers:

If you would like to find out more about this new grading system, please find more information (and a helpful video) on the webpage of our exam board AQA:

Reading list

Your teacher will be providing you with a reading list at the end of Year 9. This reading list includes a range of texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st century. It also includes both fiction and non-fiction texts. It is essential that you choose to read a range of heritage and modern texts that challenge your reading skills. If you would like this list early, please ask your English teacher for a copy.

Revision resources

There are a number of resources available to help you with your studies. However, they vary widely in quality and, due to the constant updating of the exam, can become out-of-date very quickly. We advise that you always check with your English teacher before buying any revision guides. It is essential that you attend all ‘Booster’ and revision sessions that are offered.

Post 16 Progression

It is expected that most level 3 post 16 courses will require a minimum of grade 4/5 (previously a C) at English Language GCSE. Most level 2 post 16 courses require a minimum of grade 4/5 (previously a D) at English Language GCSE. English Language is applicable to all future career pathways.