English has been divided into two distinct and separate GCSEs; English language and English literature. There is no longer a GCSE that mixes the two. The course work no longer counts at all for the final grade. All students will take the same exam and, unlike the new GCSE in mathematics, there will be no levels.
The English language gcse focuses more on developing students' reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. In comparison, English literature GCSE focuses more on the development of knowledge and comprehension of texts in prose, poetry and theater. The GCSE international course is about learning how structural and language techniques shape and direct the impact of text on a reader; how suspense and tension develop through punctuation, sentence and paragraph structure; the effect of a metaphor to help the reader visualize a person or object; and how repetition can reinforce an idea or a topic. On the opposite side of this, STEM subjects can be a welcome alternative to all essay writing, so if you like English and science, don't feel like you have to choose between the two.
The English language has a very different style of review, as it is about understanding how to answer questions and where the grades come from. GCSE and AS Level international language courses are not second language courses or ESOL courses at all. With this in mind, it could be argued that English literature is more important, since a more traditional review is needed to get the best marks on the exam. Another advantage is that these courses are very academic in a wide range of subjects, so students come to university with extensive knowledge of literature and language and a very advanced ability to write well.
Despite this, it is very important to prepare well for the English language and plan to do a lot of practice work. If you are interested in studying English at level A, you may be wondering what subjects you should study well in that pair. Interestingly, the spoken language part of the ratings doesn't really count for anything at all. The main reason for this is that the English language not only includes current GCSE students, but also Year 12 students taking the exam.
There is also a U grade that means “no score”, and technically it is the lowest grade you can get when taking a gcse English test. Ultimately, English helps with a lot of subjects, either because you can show your creative talent or practice your analysis, so it should definitely be considered an important topic. A big part of this is analyzing sources and explaining their meaning, so the skills you learn in gcse English can be very beneficial. This is apparently due to the idea that the transferable skills that the English language gcse allows you to develop are considered more generalizable.
This means that if you fail the GCSE English literature, but achieve a GCSE English language pass, you will not be required to pass any English subject again. Any essay-based subject, specifically humanities, will require skills similar to those of English at level A, so they would be very complementary to any English subject at level A, since you can apply techniques from several subjects to improve your writing.