Back to GCSE English Language Revision Home

AQA: Paper 1 Question 4


AQA: Paper 1 Question 4 Revision

AQA: Paper 1 Question 4

Want to know how to get as many marks as possible on Question 4? Well, you’re on the right page!

Here you will find out:

  • The format of the question
  • How to approach answering the question
  • The Assessment Objective (AO) of the question

Also included on this page is an extract from a model answer to show you how to reach the top-level marks.

Assessment Objective (AO)

Question 4 is covered by AO4.

For A04, you are required to:

  • Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references.

A lot of technical terms are listed here, but no need to worry. This page will break it down and instruct you on how to show these skills in the exam.



Well, what does this mean?

When you need to evaluate critically, you need to consider each side of the argument, and think about the text on a deeper level than simply being aware of the topic.

This means considering the underlying meaning, purpose and biases of a text, and carefully analysing how the author of a text has crafted their particular message




Question Format

For Question 4, you have to provide in-depth analysis in response to a quote given in the question.

On the right is an example question in the same format that you will find in your exam.

Notice the line numbers – this will give you an indication of the part of the source to focus your analysis on.



Key Words in the Question

The words in bold are the key words that you need to focus on when answering the question.

From line 24 to the end: These line numbers will provide the basis for your answer – select quotes from this section of the extract to ensure that your answer is focused.

Surreal and extraordinary: Your answer should focus on these adjectives – select evidence that contribute to this sense of surrealism!

Do you agree?: Be sure to state your opinion on the quote – do you share the same views, or do you believe that this quote is untrue? What is a more appropriate adjective? Whatever your viewpoint, ensure that you support your answer with evidence and detailed explanations.



MME Logo

Your 2024 Revision Partner


Open TikTok


As it states on the front of the question paper, you are advised to spend 15 minutes in total reading the sources and the questions.

Question 4 is worth 20 marks – as a result, you are expected to spend longer on this question than previous ones.


Spending 20-25 minutes of the exam time on Question 4 should ensure that your answer not only contains enough detail, but also answers the question fully!


Let’s have a look at how to approach the question next…



How to Approach

This question will cover a large section of the extract, and will ask you to look at a lot of lines, so make sure to read the source carefully.

For instance, using the example question, read the specified lines carefully and highlight anything that can be used to explain this part of the source being ‘surreal‘ – has the writer used any language features or structural techniques to enhance this feeling?


For example, the writer might use a metaphor, stating that the crowd was a ‘sea of uproar‘ – spotting these techniques and explaining their effect will gain you a lot of marks.


To provide a complex and insightful response to the question, it is worth considering both sides of the quote. Even though you may agree with the quote, providing a reason as to why some people may disagree proves to the examiner that you can answer the question in a comprehensive manner.

Despite this, you do not have to consider both sides to get high marks – providing a detailed, analytical response to the quote considering only one side is just as good, provided that you come to your own conclusion in response to the quote!




PEEL Paragraphs

To get high marks for this question, your answer needs to be structured!

PEEL paragraphs show the examiner that you are answering the question analytically.


Well, what are PEEL paragraphs?

PEEL = Point, Evidence, Explanation, Link


Let’s take a closer look…


Point – Make your point – for this question, this would normally be you stating whether you agree with the quote or not. Does the writer use any techniques to emphasise this sense of surrealism?

Evidence – Support your answer with evidence (quotes) from the source.

Explanation – Explain how the quote you have chosen supports the point you have made.

Link – Summarise why the paragraph is relevant to the question.




Example: Extract From a Model Answer

Please note: the following is just a small extract from an answer – your answer will have to include more points than this!


Why is this a good answer?


  • The answer identifies a language technique which supports their viewpoint in favour of the quote.
  • The evidence selected is integrated well into the answer, allowing it to flow concisely.
  • The answer includes a point, evidence from the text, an explanation of the point and a link back to the question.
  • This is a detailed analysis, with use of relevant subject terminology.



MME Premium

Gold Standard Education

£19.99 /month. Cancel anytime