English Language GCSE

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Language is an inherent part of the world around us, from the way it is used in an advert to the writing of a script for a blockbuster movie. Explore the use of words in different contexts with this course and gain skills essential for many jobs and further study. You'll learn about the way written language works by analysing fiction and non-fiction. You'll see how writers use language in different ways to influence the response of their readers. You'll use these methods in your own writing too to entertain, inform and persuade. Full details of the course can be found below.

Would you prefer to pay for your course by instalments? Please see the ‘How to enrol’ section below for details of our low cost, interest free finance available.

Are you intending to take your exams next summer? Please refer to our information on fast tracking and studying your course within one year.

This course is one of our new Gold Star GCSEs. Find out more about them here.



Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this course, but it is strongly recommended that you have the ability to read and write English effectively.


This course follows specification 8700 from the awarding organisation AQA. Full details of the specification can be obtained from AQA's website.

Hours of study

As a guideline, you should allow for between 120 and 150 hours' study time, plus additional time for completing assignments. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 18 months from the date of enrolment.

Exams and assessment

Two exams:

  • 1 hour 45 minutes, 50% of marks
  • 1 hour 45 minutes, 50% of marks

Non-exam assessment (NEA):

All exams must be taken in the same session.

NEC's tutor-marked assignments:

  • 1 introductory assignment
  • 9 assignments


Additional information

Your course is delivered online through learn@nec, so it’s important that you have access to a computer and the internet. We recommend that your computer is using one of the following operating systems and browsers to improve your experience of using learn@nec:

Operating systems:

  • Windows 7 or later
  • Mac OSX 10.7 or later
  • Google Chrome OS
  • Android 4.4 or later, using the Chrome browser
  • iOS 6 or later, using the Safari browser


  • Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari 6 or later
  • Internet Explorer 10 or later (excluding IE11)

learn@nec may work on other operating systems and browsers with some restrictions. You can see full details of the system requirements by clicking here.

How to enrol

How to enrol
There are several ways to enrol with NEC:

  • Click the ‘Enrol now’ button above
  • Telephone us on 0800 389 2839 or +44(0)1223 400200 and speak to our course advice team
  • Ask us to send you an enrolment form which you can complete and return by post.

How can you pay?
It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or you can spread the cost over monthly instalments with our finance offer. To pay in instalments you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative example:

Course fee:  
Amount of credit:  
Monthly payment:  
Duration of agreement:  
Total repayable:  
Rate of interest:  
0% APR representative.  
  6 months
  0% (fixed)

The National Extension College (NEC) is the trading name of the Open School Trust, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 676788). Finance is provided through the Deko platform by a number of lenders. You will be offered the best rate available based on your credit history and the lenders’ credit decision policies.

Deko is a trading name of Pay4Later Ltd who act as a credit intermediary. They are registered in England and Wales (company number 06447333) and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 728646). For more information please go to www.dekopay.com/faq or visit www.dekopay.com.

Section 1 - Creative reading (Part 1)

  • Prose fiction texts
  • Language effects
  • Setting, context and atmosphere
  • Looking at characters

Section 2 - Creative reading (Part 2)

  • Narrative voice and narrative viewpoint
  • Openings and endings
  • Aproaching Paper 1 Section A

Section 3 - Creative writing (Part 1)

  • Descriptive and narrative writing
  • Describing settings
  • Describing characters

Section 4 - Creative writing (Part 2)

  • Narrative writing
  • Using dialogue
  • Approaching Paper 1 Section B

Section 5 - Writer's viewpoints and perspectives: Reading (Part 1)

  • Inference and interpretation
  • Viewpoints and perspectives
  • Synthesis and summary

Section 6 - Writer's viewpoints and perspectives: Reading (Part 2)

  • Comment and analysis
  • Comparing writers' ideas
  • Approaching Paper 2 Section A

Section 7 - Writer's viewpoints and perspectives: Writing

  • Audience, purpose and form
  • Planning your response
  • Writing your response (Part 1)
  • Writing your response (Part 2)
  • Approaching Paper 2 Section B

Section 8 - Preparing for the exam (Paper 1)

  • Practice Paper 1
  • Guidance on Practice Paper 1

Section 9 - Preparing for the exam (Paper 2)

  • Practice Paper 2
  • Guidance on Practice Paper 2
Including area code and country code (if outside of UK)

What our students say...

"Distance learning is interesting and the tutors are fantastic. I am pleased with the services. Follow the guide given by the college; everything is very easy and stress-free."
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