Specifications that use this resource:

Planning to switch to AQA?

Switching to AQA: from OCR

Compare our GCSE English Literature (8702) to OCR’s offering.

Although each exam board’s specification is different, the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual state that they all need to include the following:

  • at least one Shakespeare play
  • at least one 19th -century novel
  • a number of unseen texts
  • a comparison of unseen texts
  • an assessment of students’ use of vocabulary, sentence structure, spelling and punctuation (AO4).

Key similarities

  • Both boards have two exams, one lasting 1hr 45min, one lasting 2hrs 15min.
  • Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel questions are both extract based.
  • Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel text choices are almost identical.
  • Both boards include a question which asks students to compare two unseen poems.
  • Both poetry questions print a poem from the anthology and require the student to choose the poem they’d like to compare.

Key differences

  • AQA offers a wider choice of modern texts, increasing your chances of finding something to inspire your students.
  • AQA recognises that skills of literature analysis are intertwined, and assesses AO1, AO2 and AO3 holistically in every question (except the unseen poetry).
  • AQA assess AO4 in the first section of each paper, when students are freshest and writing at their best.

Assessment comparison

Paper 1

AQA OCR
1hr 45 mins 2hrs
64 marks 80 marks
40% of GCSE 50% of GCSE

Section A

AQA Edexcel
Section A: Shakespeare Section A: Modern prose or drama
One extract-based essay question. Students write about an extract from their chosen play, and the play as a whole - all within the same response.

One question with two essay parts.

Part A requires students to compare an extract from their chosen text with an unseen text.

Part B focuses on the whole chosen text.

AO1, AO2 and A03 are assessed holistically across Section A and Section B.

AO4 is only assessed in Section A (4 marks).

Section A, part A and Section B assess AO1, AO2 and AO3 holistically.

Section A Part B assesses AO1 and AO2. AO4 is only assessed in Section B (4 marks).

Section B

AQA OCR
Section B: The 19th-century novel Section B: 19th-century prose
One extract-based essay question. Students write about an extract from their chosen novel and the play as a whole. One essay question from a choice of two. One question requires students to write about an extract from their chosen text, and the text as a whole, all within the same response. The alternative non-extract question requires students to write about two moments from the text in their response.
AO1, AO2 and A03 are assessed holistically across Section A and Section B.

Section B assesses AO1, AO2 and AO3 holistically.

AO4 is only assessed in Section B (4 marks).).

Paper 2

AQA OCR
2hrs 15 mins 2hrs
96 marks 80 marks
60% of GCSE 80% of GCSE

Section A

AQA OCR
Section A: Modern texts Section A: Poetry across Time
One essay question from a choice of two. Students write about their chosen text.

One question with two essay parts. Part A requires students to compare a printed poem from the Anthology cluster with an unseen poem.

Part B requires students to write about a poem of their choice from the Anthology cluster.

Section A and Section B assess AO1, AO2 and AO3 holistically.

AO4 is only assessed in Section A (4 marks).

Section A assesses AO1 and AO2.

Section B

AQA OCR
Section B: Poetry Section B: Shakespeare
One question comparing two poems from the AQA Anthology. One poem will be printed on the paper. Students choose the second poem from the anthology cluster.

One essay question from a choice of two. One question requires students to write about an extract from their chosen play, and the play as a whole, all in the same response.

The alternative non-extract question requires students to write about two moments from the play in their response.

Section A and Section B assess AO1, AO2 and AO3 holistically.

Section B assesses AO1, AO2 and AO3 holistically

Section B assesses AO1, AO2 and AO3 holistically.

Section C

AQA OCR
Section C: Unseen Poetry No Section C
Two questions: one question on an unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem. n/a
The first question assesses AO1 and AO2, the second question assesses AO2. n/a

Text comparison

Shakespeare

AQA OCR
  • Macbeth
  • The Tempest
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Julius Caesar (AQA only)
  • Macbeth
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Merchant of Venice

19th-century novel

AQA OCR
  • Jane Eyre
  • Great Expectations
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Frankenstein
  • The Sign of Four (AQA only)
  • Jane Eyre
  • Great Expectations
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • The War of the Worlds

Modern texts/Post-1914 British play or novel

AQA OCR
  • Animal Farm
  • An Inspector Calls
  • Anita and Me
  • Blood Brothers
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Pigeon English
  • A Taste of Honey
  • DNA
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (play-script)
  • The History Boys
  • Never Let Me Go
  • Telling Tales (AQA only)
  • AQA short story anthology
  • AQA past and present poetry anthology

Love and relationships

AQA OCR
  • When We Two Parted – Lord Byron
  • Love’s Philosophy – Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • Porphyria’s Lover – Robert Browning
  • Sonnet 29 – ‘I think of thee!’ – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • Neutral Tones – Thomas Hardy
  • Letters From Yorkshire – Maura Dooley
  • The Farmer’s Bride – Charlotte Mew
  • Walking Away – Cecil Day-Lewis
  • Eden Rock – Charles Causley
  • Follower – Seamus Heaney
  • Mother, any distance – Simon Armitage
  • Before You Were Mine – Carol Ann Duffy
  • Winter Swans – Owen Sheers
  • Singh Song! – Daljit Nagra
  • Climbing My Grandfather – Andrew Waterhouse
  • A song – Helen Maria Williams
  • Bright star – John Keats
  • Now – Robert Browning
  • Love and Friendship – Emily Bronte
  • A Broken Appointment – Thomas Hardy
  • Fin de Fete – Charlotte Mew
  • The Sorrow of True Love – Edward Thomas
  • An Arundel Tomb – Philip Larken
  • Love after Love – Derek Walcott
  • Morning Song – Sylvia Plath
  • Long Distance ll – Tony Harrison
  • I Wouldn’t Thank You for a Valentine – Liz Lochhead
  • Warming her Pearls – Carol Ann Duffy
  • Dusting the Phone – Jackie Kay

Power and conflict

AQA OCR
  • Ozymandias – Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • London – William Blake
  • Extract from ‘The Prelude’ – William Wordsworth
  • My Last Duchess – Robert Browning
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade – Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • Exposure – Wilfred Owen
  • Storm on the Island – Seamus Heaney
  • Bayonet Charge – Ted Hughes
  • Remains – Simon Armitage
  • Poppies – Jane Weir
  • War Photographer – Carol Ann Duffy
  • Tissue – Imtiaz Dharker
  • The Emigrée – Carol Rumens
  • Checking Out Me History – John Agard
  • Kamikaze – Beatrice Garland

A Poison Tree – William Blake

Envy – Mary Lamb

  • Boat Stealing (from 1799 Prelude) – William Wordsworth
  • The Destruction of Sennacherib – Lord Byron
  • There’s a Certain Slant of Light – Emily Dickinson
  • The Man he Killed - Thomas Hardy
  • Anthem for Doomed Youth - Wilfred Owen
  • Vergissmeinnicht – Keith Douglas
  • What Were They Like? Denise Levertov
  • Lament – Gillian Clarke
  • Punishment – Seamus Heaney
  • Flag – John Agard
  • Phrase Book – Jo Shapcott
  • Honour Killing – Imtiaz Dharker
  • Partition – Sujata Bhatt

Youth and age

AQA OCR
N/A
  • Holy Thursday – William Blake
  • When I have Fears that I may cease to be – John Keats
  • The Bluebell – Anne Bronte
  • Midnight on the Great Western – Thomas Hardy
  • Holy Thursday – William Blake
  • When I have Fears that I may cease to be – John Keats
  • The Bluebell – Anne Bronte
  • Midnight on the Great Western – Thomas Hardy
  • Spring and Fall: to a Young Child – Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Ode – Arthur O’Shaughnessy
  • Out, Out – Robert Frost
  • Red Roses – Anne Sexton
  • Baby Song – Thorn Gunn
  • You’re – Sylvia Path
  • Cold Knapp Lake – Gillian Clarke
  • My First Weeks – Sharon Olds
  • Venus’s-flytraps – Yusef Komunyakaa
  • Love – Kate Clanchy
  • Farther – Owen Sheers

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Specifications that use this resource: