At a glance

  • A series of activities to guide students through the two English Language papers
  • Specifically designed for students sitting AQA specification
  • The activities employ a mix of stimulus with space for students to work in the book
  • Accessible language and layout that encourages self-efficacy through independent study

There are a plethora of English revision workbooks to choose from, but selecting the right one can be a challenge.

Many titles will provide generic information regarding the key skills required for English as a whole – especially English language – but the difficulty of using these is that they aren’t specific enough to provide the support students need in order to properly revise.

Oxford University Press’ Revise AQA English Language revision workbook, subtitled ‘Targeting Grades 6-9’ (a ‘Targeting Grade 5’ workbook is also available), breaks the mould by being focused, specific and above all, accessible for students.

As somebody who uses AQA for English, I can confirm that this workbook is a tool that can be used to significantly deepen knowledge and understanding of both papers.

Each question, mark and skill is broken down into small chunks, allowing students to refine and revise their skills as they go, adding to their knowledge and understanding of a somewhat complex pair of exams.

As fellow AQA English Language teachers will know, students are required to hit different levels within the assessment objectives according to a very specific set of requirements.

By targeting the book specifically at grades 6 to 9, all 155 pages will be relevant to those students using the book.

That means that there’s no space wasted on activities pitched at the wrong difficulty level – when time is so precious, the ability to call on a series of such focused exercises is very welcome.

The feature that perhaps stands out most is the book’s emphasis on self-efficacy.

Throughout, students are encouraged to complete exercises while demonstrating crystal clear direction and reasoning, making it a brilliant resource for students working at home.

The language used is both accessible and ambitious, at times modelling how words should be used through task wording – a clever touch – enabling students to complete the exercises with little teacher input.

By placing the onus onto the students like this, the book encourages a better understanding of study skills and can easily dovetail with classroom teaching or act as a standalone revision aid.

The book finishes with two full papers that perfectly emulate the wording and challenge of an AQA English Language GCSE paper.

Finally, as a guide to improving teacher subject knowledge of the exam, the workbook is perfect.

The aforementioned detail and specificity means that teachers with classes in the relevant ability range can really hone their understanding of what will be expected of the students, thus further building on the quality of their teaching.

Verdict

  • Appropriately written for the target audience
  • Accurate content focusing on key skills derived from exam specifications
  • Encourages self-efficacy and independent study
  • Builds knowledge and understanding of the two exams using common language

Upgrade if…

You are looking for a self contained, accurate and well-written workbook for students sitting AQA English Language that encourages self-efficacy and independent study.

Find out more at oup.com, or by emailing schools.enquiries.uk@oup.com.

Reviewed by Adam Riches