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Should I Take GCSE English Language?

20th October 20

Many people have a love for reading and writing. Reading or creating inspiring, artistically constructed and impactful text can provide a real source of enjoyment. If you are intrigued by the emotions and feelings that can be evoked through words, studying GCSE English Language is a great starting point.

It’s one thing to be able to speak and write in English, but it’s another to understand the English language in its entirety. Consider how two different writers can have completely dissimilar styles. Or how their viewpoints and perspectives can reshape how language is used. The words in our language can be applied in many ways and contexts. When used effectively, spoken and written words can be incredibly powerful and influential.

Where English Literature studies the thematic content of works of verbal art such as novels, plays and poetry, English Language studies the use of words in a more scientific way. It examines the sounds and structures of the many variations of English which are spoken and written worldwide.

By studying GCSE English Language, you learn how to understand an author by the words they have written on the page. This will help you produce clear written work that can be adapted to any text you read in the future.  

learndirect - Should I Take GCSE English Language? - Write for Impact

What the Online Course Involves

GCSE English Language is written by qualified subject specialists to stimulate and challenge students. No matter who you study with and which variation of the GCSE you study, it has been designed to enable you to develop the skills required to read, understand and analyse a wide range of diverse texts.

Most courses begin with a skills check to identify your current level of ability. This will indicate your areas of strength and potential areas for improvement.

Going into the course content, you will study fiction from the 19th century and non-fiction from the 20th and 21st centuries. This will give you an insight into each of the centuries and an idea of how people thought, felt and lived at the time.

Throughout the course you will build on these ideas, using narrative and descriptive techniques that will test and improve your ability as a creative writer.

You will undertake two written exams:

Paper 1 - Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing - How writers use narrative and descriptive techniques to engage the interest of readers.

Paper 2 - Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives - How different writers present a similar topic over time.

These will be a mixture of short-form, long-form and extended questions.

You will also undertake a spoken language non-examination assessment. This will assess your presenting ability, how you respond to questions and feedback. Whilst not contributing to the overall grade for the qualification, the spoken language assessment is given a separate mark and grade.

Upon successful completion of the course, a GCSE English Language qualification allows you to progress onto further and higher education courses. Should you meet all other relevant criteria.  

learndirect - Should I Take GCSE English Language? - Spoken Language Assessment

The Topics Covered

Critical reading and comprehension

Critical reading and comprehension - Recognising and interpreting themes, ideas and information in various literature, fiction and non-fiction. Reading in different ways for different purposes, comparing and assessing the usefulness, relevance and presentation of content for these purposes. Drawing inferences and justifying them with evidence. Backing up a point of view using evidence within the text. Finding bias and ill use of evidence, critically assessing and evaluating the text. While using the context of the text and the knowledge and skills gained from wider reading to recognise there could be different responses to the text.

Summary and synthesis - Identifying the main theme or themes, summarising ideas and information from single texts and combining the ideas and findings of multiple texts to make an overall point.

Evaluation of a writer’s choice of vocabulary, form, grammatical and structural features – Communicating how vocabulary and grammar amplify effectiveness and impact while using accurate linguistic and literary terminology. Closely examining texts to analyse and evaluate how form and structure contribute to the efficacy and impact of a text.

Comparing texts - Comparing two or more texts critically, considering all of these aspects.


Producing clear and coherent text - Writing for different purposes and audiences effectively. Learning to describe, narrate, explain, instruct, argue, give and respond to information. Thoughtfully choosing vocabulary, grammar, form and structural and organisational features to reflect the audience, purpose and context. Using language imaginatively and creatively and using the information provided by others to write in various forms. Maintaining a consistent point of view by sustaining coherence and consistency across a text.

Writing for impact - Selecting, arranging and emphasising facts, ideas and key points. Referring to evidence and quotations appropriately to effectively support views. Creating emotional impact, using language creatively, imaginatively and persuasively. And the inclusion of rhetorical devices.

Spoken language

Presenting information and ideas - Choosing and arranging information and ideas in preparation for effective and persuasive verbal presentations. Understanding how to plan successfully for different purposes and audiences and how to make presentations and speeches.

Responding to spoken language – Learning to listen and respond appropriately to questions and feedback.

Spoken Standard English – The expression of ideas using Standard English as appropriate.

learndirect - Should I Take GCSE English Language? - Creative Writing

What You Will Learn

The course helps students develop many essential skills that will go onto assist them in life and work.

Through the course materials completed and assessments undertaken, you will be able to read fluently, write effectively and present your thoughts and ideas coherently. Enhancing your ability to communicate with others in any scenario.

Being able to write effectually and imaginatively, adapting the tone and style of writing for different forms, purposes and audiences will prove valuable in a host of business environments.

By identifying and interpreting explicit and implicit information and ideas, you can also help to communicate findings and ideas to others in a team environment.

Finally having a broad vocabulary and using situation-appropriate terminology flawlessly will be sure to impress anyone coming across your work or applications in the future.

English GCSEs are used as a minimum requirement for many further education, higher education and job role specifications. This is because it provides one of the strongest foundations for success in these scenarios. Ultimately because English is the language of business and one of the most spoken worldwide. By studying English, you have proven you are capable of a high standard of communication.

You will have numerous professional and academic options to explore. You can go on to study English or many other subjects at A Level, which can lead you into undergraduate study. Depending on the level and type of further qualifications you acquire, you could pursue a rewarding career in areas such as journalism, publishing, education and training, counselling, social services, teaching, nursing, marketing, sales, advertising, and management.

Since most roles heavily depend on your ability to communicate, you can apply yourself to almost any industry. If you have particular roles in mind, you will just need to ensure you meet all other relevant entry criteria.

learndirect - Should I Take GCSE English Language? - What You Will Learn

Why Take GCSEs Online?

Studying GCSEs online opens the opportunity to learn to everyone. Not everyone feels comfortable with the thought of walking back into a classroom to study, nor does everyone have the luxury of studying within specific timeframes.

If you need to learn around your job or family life, your free time isn’t always consistently available. That’s where distance learning provides the utmost flexibility. Allowing you to study online, at home, at the time of day or night that suits.

Once you enrol you are given access to all the engaging course materials. With the entire coursework available instantly, you can work through the materials as quickly as you like. There is no set timeframe to complete it within, the only deadline you need to consider is your exams.

So, if you enrol with enough time to complete the work quickly before sitting your exams, you could become qualified and ready for your next step faster than would otherwise be possible.

You also have a dedicated tutor on hand to guide you through the course, should you need any help. Simply contact them within the online portal for advice.

Functional Skills Alternative to GCSE English

While obtaining a GCSE in English Language will boost your academic prospects, it is not the only route you can take. The equivalent to this qualification is Functional Skills Level 2 English, which is the same as a GCSE grade C/4. Most universities accept Functional Skills English as part of their entry requirements, but please check your preferred institution's entry criteria beforehand.

If you are looking for a GCSE English Language equivalent that is less academic and focuses more on the practical usage of the subject, then Functional Skills English Level 2 is ideal. You will study everything you need to know about the following:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking, Listening and Communicating

As well as gaining the essential skills and techniques you need, you have the benefit of studying Functional Skills English from the comfort of your own home! Similar to GCSE English Language, you can navigate your way through the course at your own pace and in your own time.

With our Functional Skills Level 2 package including the online exam, you will have everything you need at your fingertips. With our Functional Skills Level 2 English course recommending around 55 guided learning hours, you could obtain your qualification in a matter of weeks. Such is the speed in which you can complete it, you might feel as though you've had a free English course!

In reality, we don't offer free English courses, but thanks to our flexible payment plans and competitive rates, you can study Functional Skills Level 2 English in a way that doesn't break the bank.

Get Studying Today!

learndirect is the UK’s leading online course provider. If you would like to put your passion for words into a fulfilling and interesting career, enrol in our GCSE English Language online course today. Alternatively, if you're looking for a GCSE equivalent and want to get job ready, our Functional Skills English course is perfectly suited. 

Let us help you make the decision, all you have to do is call one of our Course Executives on 01202 006 464 or reach out to us online. Or, click below to discover more!

learndirect - Should I Study GCSE English Language - Study Online

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