top of page

The papers

We teach the AQA 8700 syllabus. There are two papers and two exams. The total marks are 160.

Paper 1
80 marks
1 unseen fiction text
4 reading questions (40 marks)
1 writing question (40 marks)
1 hour 45 minutes
Paper 2
80 marks
2 unseen non-fiction texts
4 reading questions (40 marks)
1 writing question (40 marks)
1 hour 45 minutes


  • If you did a different syllabus at school, don't panic. The skills you've learnt will be the same, just the format of the questions will be different.


Your exam is marked from Grade 1 (lowest) to Grade 9 (highest). A pass is Grade 4 or above. Students who receive a Grade 3 must re-take their GCSE at college. Students who get a Grade 1 or 2 will be required to attend extra support sessions, focusing on reading skills.


The grade boundaries can change every year. See below some examples of how they have changed:

June 2017 = 72 marks             November 2017 = 80 marks

June 2018 = 76 marks             November 2018 = 81 marks

June 2022 = 70 marks​             November 2022 = 71

June 2023 = 71 marks             November 2023 = 70


  • You only have to re-take English Language, not English Literature.

  • If you passed English Literature (Grade 4 or above), you will usually still have to re-take English Language to get accepted onto the course you want to study. Please talk to your English teacher and tutor to confirm this.


If you are waiting for a re-mark, you must keep attending English classes. When you get your result, if you have passed, speak with your English teacher, you can stop attending English class as soon as you get your pass result. Congratulations!


  • You must come to class while you are waiting for your re-mark result. 

  • If you are in your first year at college, you must contact your school about getting your exam re-marked, not us.

May 2025

The exam dates are Friday 23rd May 2025 at 9.00 am (Paper 1) and Friday  06th June 2025 at 9.00 am (Paper 2). This exam is compulsory for all students. There is no charge and you can only take the AQA exam. There is only one chance to do this exam. If you miss it because of a holiday, for example, you cannot do it on another date. The next chance will be in November 2025.


  • Inform your family/job of the dates of the exam and do not book any holidays.

  • Students who are absent from the exam without a valid reason will may not be allowed to return to college.

Mock exams

You will do a full formal mock exam for both papers at college in March 2025.  They will be completed in the same way as the June exam, in one sitting for each paper.  


  • Attendance at mock exams is compulsory. In the event of a Covid 19 outbreak your mock exams may be needed for a teacher assessed grade.

Access arrangements

Access arrangements are special exam arrangements that students might need due to a specific learning or a physical need. For example, having extra time, a small room or using a word processor. YOU MUST BE ASSESSED at the college in order to qualify for access arrangements. They do not automatically carry over from school.


  • The deadline for assessments for access arrangements is in January.

  • It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to get the assessment. Do not assume that your teacher will automatically know what you need.

  • Assessments take place in the at college. Ask your English teacher or your personal tutor if you need help arranging this.


bottom of page