Pupils angered by error in new AQA English literature GCSE

Teenagers take to social media to complain about today's paper

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GCSE candidates have expressed outrage on social media after exam board AQA admitted it had made a mistake on today's English literature paper.

It was the first exam to be sat under the new tougher GCSEs that are being phased in, beginning with English and maths this year.

For English literature, that means that pupils are no longer able to take the texts they have studied into the exam room with them – a change that has already led to tens of thousands petitioning Parliament to complain

And pupils said that change made it particularly hard to stomach when they discovered that AQA had wrongly labelled a chapter on today's paper. 


How are aqa meant to test my knowledge of the book when they can't even get the chapters right? #aqaenglish #EnglishLiterature pic.twitter.com/aBU14K7x9N

— Dan Light (@LightDaniel) May 22, 2017


#aqaenglish #aqaliterature AQA I bite my thumb at YOU, sir.

— Sam Taylor (@samtaylor375) May 22, 2017



when aqa expect us to remember a play, 2 books & 15 poems and they don't even know the right chapter #aqaenglish pic.twitter.com/86fSQzdvpa

— Toby (@to_byy) May 22, 2017



When you learnt the whole novel and AQA can't even get the chapter number right #aqaenglish #aqaliterature #gcses #jekyllandhyde

— Tellen (@tellenyam) May 22, 2017


Some of the questions and extracts in the exam paper – which covered texts by Shakespeare and Robert Louis Stevenson – also sparked fury from students: 


teacher: study the themes of love, hate, conflict, death, fate, family
aqa: how does shakespeare present male aggression #aqaenglish

— e. (@selahsleeep) May 22, 2017


When you revise the shit out of love, fate, superstition and Scrooge so the #EnglishLiterature decides to ask about aggressive male traits.

— Daniel Harris (@danh390) May 22, 2017


The paper did win some online praise from teachers and pupils


Fab AQA Lit paper 1! Ambition Q for milk of human kindness extract and Cratchit family extract for Xmas Carol. Kids came out smiling

— Jane I'Anson (@JaneIAnson) 22 May 2017


How are people complaining about the #AQAEnglish exam? Romeo and Juliet and A Christmas Carol questions were both a blessing

— Jacöb (@itfcjacob) 22 May 2017

But others did not find it easy: 


Sitting in class crying after my English lit gcse exam listening to @RoadTripTV while trying to buy tickets @alstarmusic

— Laura Hartshorn (@laurakhartt) May 22, 2017



hope aqa has realised how many lives they've ruined by not letting us have a copy of the book in the exam #aqaenglishlit

— johann (@ashtontbqh) May 21, 2017

AQA argues that “students letting off steam about their exams on Twitter is completely normal”.

“There’s been a huge increase in it over the past few years as smartphones and mobile data have become more affordable for young people,” a spokesperson said.

“More than 200,000 students sat this particular exam with AQA, so it’s not surprising that there were so many comments about it – positive and negative – on Twitter.”

Gary Pollard, AQA’s head of English, added: “There weren’t any errors in the questions – we just labelled one of the extracts as being from chapter 6 of a book, instead of chapter 7.

"We spotted this very minor typo in plenty of time and sent a notice to all schools so they could tell their students before the exam.”

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