Reading strategies for GCSE

While preparing a lesson for a GCSE French student this morning, I came across this excellent set of reading strategies on an Edexcel document. It’s too good not to share!

GCSE reading strategies

If the photo doesn’t come out clearly on your screen, the tips are as follows:


What can you tell about the text from the title, the exam rubric, any visuals, the layout, the punctuation?


Read the English questions to add to your overall sense of what the text is about, and anticipate possible answers based on real world logic and probability.

Skim reading

Read the whole text once through to add to your gist understanding. Don’t stop when there are unfamiliar words.


Go back to the questions, one by one. Decide what information you need. Who? What? Where? When? Why? If the task is multiple choice, scan the text for those specific words. If not, scan for possible answers that fit, e.g. a person for ‘Who?’.


Keep the overall text and context in mind. Ensure that answers don’t contradict each other (use in-text logic) and are not impossible or unlikely (use real world logic).

Deduction and inference

In more challenging questions, the answers are not directly given but are built-up by piecing together hints from the text. Where the answer is not immediately clear, look at the sentence before and after the keyword to get more information.