Specifications that use this resource:

Summary of changes

This specification has been developed in line with the Regulatory Requirements provided by the DfE and Ofqual.

  • The assessment must be by 100% examination – this means that there can be no coursework or controlled assessment
  • The exams must be untiered – so there can’t be a higher or a foundation tier
  • The exams must be closed book, although we are allowed to print extracts from texts on the exam
  • Students must study and we must examine the following types of texts:
    • one play by Shakespeare
    • one 19th-century novel
    • a selection of poetry since 1789, including representative Romantic poetry
    • fiction or drama from the British Isles from 1914 onwards
  • There must be a minimum of two unseen texts on the exam, and they must be compared.

Changes to GCSE English Literature

What’s new

What’s the same

What’s changed

  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Romeo and Juliet

19th-century texts

  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Frankenstein
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Sign of Four

Modern Prose

  • A new AQA Anthology of Short Stories
  • Never Let Me Go
  • Anita and Me
  • Pigeon English

Modern Drama

  • Blood Brothers
  • A Taste of Honey
  • The History Boys
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time


  • A new AQA Anthology of Poetry: Love and Relationships and Conflict and Power

Texts carried forward from current specification

  • An Inspector Calls
  • The Lord of the Flies
  • Animal Farm
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Great Expectations
  • DNA
  • Macbeth
  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • Unseen poetry
  • 100% terminal exam
  • Untiered exam papers
  • Closed book exams
  • Some texts