Below, you’ll find an example answer written by a student in time conditions to an AQA Language Paper 1 Past Paper Question 2 (‘Rosabel extract’ – 2017 exam). The student did well, receiving a borderline L6/L7 grade. I’ve written feedback notes below to show how to improve and achieve an even higher level next time.

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Question 2: How does the writer use language here to describe Rosabel’s bus journey home? (8 marks)

The writer uses different language to describe the crowded bus on the commute and the unpleasant atmosphere. As the light strikes on the windows of the jewellery shops, Rosabel sees these shops become ‘fairy palaces’. The use of the metaphor ‘fairy palaces’ suggests how she views it to be so magical and out of her reach only due to her lower class. In addition, The row of other commuters in the bus are described to ‘resolve into one meaningless, staring face’. This suggests how collectively, the lower class as commuters all symbolically blend into one and lose their individual personalities.

The atmosphere in the bus is also described to be overcrowded, with a ‘sickening smell of warm humanity’. The use of sibilance draws attention to the sharpness and stench of the smell in the bus. Furthermore, the ‘sickening smell’ represents the average lower-class worker, who has to perform extensive physical labour every day to earn a living, which is why there is always such an overwhelming stench in the commute. The bad conditions of labour for the lower class can also be evidenced through Rosabel’s boots. Her boots are described to be ‘coated with black, greasy mud’. This suggests how Rosabel had to often walk a long way in bad conditions just to travel to and from work, which was very much different from the upper class who was always able to be clean. 

GRADE: 6/8


  • A clear answer with a great structure – each paragraph has its own topic and is focused on the question
  • The first paragraph topic is a little general, the second is better.
  • Good use of language techniques used throughout – it does miss out on opportunities for more language use, especially when grammatical devices could be used.
  • Well thought out analysis that is responding in-depth to the quotations and question – a sense of ‘deeper themes’ or meanings being explored.

AQA GCSE Language Paper 1, Question 5