When it comes to the writing question on Paper 1 of the AQA GCSE English Language examination, there’ll be a  photograph provided which you’ll be asked to use as the basis for your written response. The exam board is putting a clear focus on the image itself as your main source of ideas. 

But don’t ignore the power of your memory and the ideas that this can generate, though.

The poet, William Wordsworth, in Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, in 1798 writes about how memories of the natural wonders of the area around Tintern Abbey have regularly come to him while living elsewhere, especially in “towns and cities”;

  “These beauteous forms, 

Through a long absence, have not been to me 

As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye: 

But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din 

Of towns and cities, I have owed to them, 

In hours of weariness, sensations sweet … “

The recent summer heatwave in the UK has had me thinking back to holidays as a child when I’d be taken to the open air baths on the shore of the Menai Straits in Caernarvon. The memories are mainly sensory ones; the chilly sting of the baths’ salt water, fresh from the Menai straits; the baths’ ageing red brick walls; or the gentle summer breeze playing across the surface of the dark green depths of the pool. Those open air baths clearly made an impression on me as a child.

They’re now sadly long gone since being demolished and the years have passed, yet the memories are sharp and vivid.

So, surprise yourself and let the memories surface; they’re a rich source of ideas to use for the creative writing question in the GCSE English Language exam.