Why choose AQA for GCSE English Literature

A specification designed for you and your students

We have worked closely with teachers to design our specification to inspire, challenge and motivate every student, no matter what their level of ability, while supporting you in developing creative and engaging lessons.

We have developed assessment strategies that support students’ achievement in an untiered, closed book context through the use of extract-based questions in the assessment of the 19th-century novel and the Shakespeare plays.

Choice and flexibility

Our range of texts has been chosen to cater for the needs of teachers and students in all educational contexts. There are texts that will be familiar to you as well as new ones that will inspire young readers. A wide choice in each category means that there is something that will appeal to every teacher and every student.

Skills-based approach

The specification takes a skills-based approach to the study of English literature that is consistent across the genres. Our experienced team has produced question papers and mark schemes that allow you to get back to inspirational literature teaching and allow students of all abilities to achieve their best on every question.

It offers excellent preparation for AS and A-level English Literature, as well as giving students a grounding in a wide variety of literature that will stay with them for life.

Teach Language and Literature together

The specification is fully co-teachable with GCSE English Language. Students who study both will greatly benefit from the transferable skills learnt across the two subjects.

We’re behind you every step of the way

Our mark schemes and marking processes have been developed to ensure that the assessment is fair and consistent: with AQA you can rest assured that your students will receive the grade that fairly represents their attainment and reflects the skills that they have demonstrated.

We are supporting you in delivering our specification with high quality, meaningful resources.

Learn more about our English qualifications at

Support and resources to help you teach

We know that support and resources are vital for your teaching and that you have limited time to find or develop good quality materials. So we’ve worked with experienced teachers to provide you with a range of resources that will help you confidently plan, teach and prepare for exams.

Teaching resources

We have too many English Literature resources to list here so visit to see them all. They include:

  • example long-term planning grids to help you plan your GCSE courses
  • training courses to help you deliver AQA English Literature qualifications
  • subject expertise courses for all teachers, from newly-qualified teachers who are just getting started to experienced teachers looking for fresh inspiration
  • teaching guides to help you teach our specification with confidence.

Preparing for exams

Visit for everything you need to prepare for our exams, including:

  • past papers, mark schemes and examiners’ reports
  • sample papers and mark schemes
  • Exampro: a searchable bank of past AQA exam questions
  • exemplar student answers with examiner commentaries.

Analyse your students' results with Enhanced Results Analysis (ERA)

Find out which questions were the most challenging, how the results compare to previous years and where your students need to improve. ERA, our free online results analysis tool, will help you see where to focus your teaching. Register at

For information about results, including maintaining standards over time, grade boundaries and our post-results services, visit

Keep your skills up to date with professional development

Wherever you are in your career, there’s always something new to learn. As well as subject-specific training, we offer a range of courses to help boost your skills:

  • improve your teaching skills in areas including differentiation, teaching literacy and meeting Ofsted requirements
  • help you prepare for a new role with our leadership and management courses.

You can attend a course at venues around the country, in your school or online – whatever suits your needs and availability. Find out more at

Get help and support

Visit our website for information, guidance, support and resources at

You can talk directly to the English Literature subject team:


T: 0161 953 7504