Aqa Gcse English Coursework

Scheme of assessment

Find past papers and mark schemes, and specimen papers for new courses, on our website at

This specification is designed to be taken over two years with all assessments taken at the end of the course.

GCSE exams and certification for this specification are available for the first time in May/June 2017 and then every May/June for the life of the specification.

This is a linear qualification. In order to achieve the award, students must complete all exams in May/June in a single year. All assessments must be taken in the same series.

Our GCSE exams in English literature include questions that allow students to demonstrate their ability to:
  • draw together their knowledge, skills and understanding from across the full course of study
  • provide extended responses.

All materials are available in English only.

Aims and learning outcomes

Courses based on this specification should encourage students to develop knowledge and skills in reading, writing and critical thinking. Through literature, students have a chance to develop culturally and acquire knowledge of the best that has been thought and written. Studying GCSE English Literature should encourage students to read widely for pleasure, and as a preparation for studying literature at a higher level.

Courses based on this specification should also encourage students to:
  • read a wide range of classic literature fluently and with good understanding, and make connections across their reading
  • read in depth, critically and evaluatively, so that they are able to discuss and explain their understanding and ideas
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often
  • appreciate the depth and power of the English literary heritage
  • write accurately, effectively and analytically about their reading, using Standard English
  • acquire and use a wide vocabulary, including the grammatical terminology and other literary and linguistic terms they need to criticise and analyse what they read.

Assessment objectives

Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all GCSEEnglish Literature specifications and all exam boards.

The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

  • AO1: Read, understand and respond to texts. Students should be able to:
    • maintain a critical style and develop an informed personal response
    • use textual references, including quotations, to support and illustrate interpretations.
  • AO2: Analyse the language, form and structure used by a writer to create meanings and effects, using relevant subject terminology where appropriate.
  • AO3: Show understanding of the relationships between texts and the contexts in which they were written.
  • AO4: Use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation.

Weighting of assessment objectives for GCSE English Literature

Assessment weightings

The marks awarded on the papers will be scaled to meet the weighting of the components. Students’ final marks will be calculated by adding together the scaled marks for each component. Grade boundaries will be set using this total scaled mark. The scaling and total scaled marks are shown in the table below.

ComponentMaximum raw markScaling factorMaximum scaled mark
Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel64x164
Modern texts and poetry96x196
  Total scaled mark:160
Assessment objectives (AOs)Component weightings (approx %)Overall weighting (approx %)
Paper 1Paper 2
Overall weighting of components4060100

Dates and timetables

Find out when exams are, when results are out, and when to submit coursework, controlled assessment and non-exam assessment throughout the year.

Search for key dates

Use our key dates search to look up all exams and results dates, plus deadlines for entries, access arrangements and post-results.

Coursework and controlled assessment deadlines

Use our deadline finder to see when you need to submit coursework and controlled assessment to us.

Confirmed exam timetables

Confirmed exam timetables for May/June are published by 30 June each year. Confirmed timetables for November, January and March are published by 31 October each year.

The timetables on this page are definitive. Please check back frequently to ensure you have the latest version.

Confirmed timetable (listed by series and qualifications) Last updated Version control file (if applicable)

January 2018 exam timetable

Functional Skills, ELC, GCSE (re-sit only), Applied General, Technical and Vocational Qualifications, Projects and Level 2 certificate
13 June 2017 January 2018 version control

March 2018 exam timetable

Functional Skills
17 June 2017 March 2018 version control

May/June 2018 GCSE exam timetable

GCSE, AQA Certificates, ELC, FCSE, FSMQ, Projects and Technical Awards        
16 February 2018 May/June 2018 GCSE version control

May/June 2018 AS and A-level exam timetable

AS and A-level, AQA Certificate (Level 3), Functional Skills, FSMQ (Advanced, including pilot), AQA Baccalaureate, Level 3 Extended Project, Applied Generals and Technical Vocational Qualifications
15 September 2017 May/June 2018 AS and A-level version control

November 2018 exam timetable

GCSE (resit only), Functional Skills, Level 2 Certificate and Level 3 Extended Project

28 February 2018  

January 2019 exam timetable

Functional Skills, ELC, Applied General, Technical and Vocational Qualifications, Projects and Level 2 certificate

28 February 2018  

March 2019 exam timetable

Functional Skills

28 February 2018

Exam clashes

We and the other exam boards do our best to coordinate exam scheduling and avoid clashes, but this isn’t always possible, and some students' exams may be scheduled to take place at the same time.

If you’d like to know more about how we schedule exams, take a look at our guide to producing exam timetables

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) publish guidance on what to do in the event of exam clashes. View JCQ’s Instructions for Conducting Examinations >

Provisional timetables

Provisional timetable (listed by series and qualifications) Last updated Version control (if applicable)

May/June 2019 GCSE provisional timetable

GCSE, AQA Certificate, ELC, FCSE, Projects and Technical Awards

7 March 2018 May/June 2019 version control

May/June 2019 AS and A-level provisional timetable

AS and A-level, AQA Certificate (Level 3), Functional Skills, FSMQ (Advanced, including pilot), AQA Baccalaureate, Level 3 Extended Project, Applied Generals and Technical Vocational Qualifications

28 February 2018

Comments period for provisional timetables

The comments period for summer 2019 timetables will be open from 1 March to 30 April 2018. Please email us with any feedback on these provisional timetables.

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