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National 5 English

Updates and announcements, subject updates.

Course modifications 2022-23 (18/08/22)

National Course modification summary: English   

Alternative certification model

The alternative certification model is how National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses will be resulted this year, following the cancellation of the 2021 exams. It involves five different stages.

View the alternative certification model and see what will happen at each stage.

Essential information

Course specification.

This explains the overall structure of the Course, including its purpose and aims and information on the skills, knowledge and understanding that will be developed.

2022 revision support for learners ( Mar 2022 )

We have updated this document to provide information on the modifications made to course assessments (coursework and exams) at the start of academic year 2021-22.

Past Papers and Marking Instructions

Access all past papers by subject/level

Additional question papers resources

These illustrate the standard, structure and requirements of the question papers learners will sit. These also include marking instructions.

There were no exams in 2021. The 2020-21 question paper resources are, for most subjects, modified papers which reflect the modifications put in place for session 2020-21

Coursework ( 06/12/2022 )

This section provides information on marking instructions and/or the coursework assessment task(s). It includes information that centres need to administer coursework and must be read in conjunction with the course specification.

Information on the production and submission of SQA-assessed coursework for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.

Understanding Standards ( 23/01/2023 )

Please note: for session 2022-23 there are modifications to this course. understanding standards materials should therefore be viewed along with the national course modification summary available in the course information 2022-23 section..

Course assessment overview

National 5 english webinar (changes to course assessment from academic session 2017-18 onwards).

Changes to understanding standards materials

Please note: Understanding Standards materials are regularly reviewed to ensure they remain up to date.

Additional resources session 2021-22

Please note: Additional Understanding Standards resources published during sessions 2020-2022 are currently under review.       

New  – new materials not previously published

Updated  – published in 2020/21 but amended for 2021/22

Carried forward  – published in 2020/21 carried forward to 2021/22

The pre-recorded webinars below and accompanying presentations can be found on SQA's secure website. You can access these through your SQA co-ordinator.

Course reports ( September 2022 )

These reports provide information on the performance of candidates which it is hoped will be useful to teachers, lecturers and assessors in their preparation of candidates for future assessment.

Course Reports

2021 Key Messages

The Alternative Certification Model included a national quality assurance activity, carried out in May 2021.

This report provides information on any common themes and key points from the evidence submitted.

Verification Reports

Additional CPD support

Where any particular areas of concern are identified, which are not addressed by our Understanding Standards events or support materials, we will offer free continuing professional development (CPD) training, subject to request. CPD support is subject-specific and can be tailored to cover one or more qualification level. To find out more about this service visit our  CPD page .

Scottish Texts in English Courses

Scottish text list for National 5 and Higher English courses:

In 2016, we carried out a consultation with teachers and other key stakeholders on the refresh of the Scottish set text list for National 5 and Higher English courses. Based on the findings of this consultation, we have refreshed the Scottish set text list for use from session 2018-19 onwards. The report below details the findings of our consultation.

Ushare open learning resources

Where can you take this course?

Centre Finder


national 5 english paper

Accessibility links

Exam skills

The National 5 English course is assessed on folio writing, a spoken language assessment and a final exam in addition to revision and coursework throughout the year. Structuring your answers and understanding the marking can help you get the best result.

How to Pass National 5 English

There are four parts to National 5 English assessment:

National 5 English is a challenging and fast-paced course. You will be required to undertake self-study and revision activities; additionally, you will be asked to work on folio pieces at home. It is important that you keep on top of deadlines and coursework. Revision should be ongoing throughout the year.

At National 5 there is a total of 100 marks available to you.

The 100 marks available are made up from a mix of coursework and a final exam. In order to achieve the full award at National 5, you will also be required to undertake a Spoken Language assessment.

National 5 Subjects National 5 Subjects up down

Mrs Sutherland's English Classroom

national 5 english paper

RUAE – National 5

Resources for the RUAE unit

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National 5 English 2016-17 SQA past papers with answers

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  1. SQA - NQ - Past papers and marking instructions

    Specimen question papers are available for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications. These show what a question paper looks like - how it is structured and the types of questions it contains. They also include marking instructions. Find them under 'Past Papers and Marking Instructions' on our NQ subject pages. Digital question papers

  2. National 5 English - Course overview and resources - SQA

    National 5 English English National 3 National 4 National 5 Higher Adv Higher Subject updates Course modifications 2022-23 (18/08/22) Course Specification When are the exams? Past Papers and Marking Instructions Coursework (06/12/2022) Understanding Standards (23/01/2023) Course reports (September 2022) CPD Scottish Texts in English Courses

  3. National 5 English - Scotland - BBC Bitesize

    National 5 English Learning and revision resources to support the SQA National 5 English specification (Set texts from 2018) Part of Learn & revise Topics Reading Exam skills Analysing...

  4. How to Pass National 5 English - Exam skills - National 5 ...

    The National 5 English course is assessed on folio writing, a spoken language assessment and a final exam in addition to revision and coursework throughout the year. Structuring your answers and...

  5. National 5 English Past Papers - rhsenglish.com

    National 5 English Past Papers Links for all past papers for National 5 English have been added to the National 4 / National 5 page: 2017 National 5 (SQA): Critical Reading & RUAE .pdf 2017 National 5 (SQA): Marking Instructions .pdf 2016 National 5 (SQA): Critical Reading & RUAE .pdf 2016 National 5 (SQA): Marking Instructions .pdf

  6. RUAE – National 5 – Mrs Sutherland's English Classroom

    Resources for the RUAE unit National 5 CR Unit Types of Question Presentation purpose-and-audience a-craze-for-loombands-ruae n5_english_all_2014 n5_english_all_2015 Close Reading CR Prep Nat 5 PP Imagery new linking qs extra question-types Sentence Structure new Word Choice new Close Reading Revision Close Reading n5-ruae-types-of-question Imagery 2 Imagery 3 Imagery new Question Types S4 ...

  7. National 5 English 2016-17 SQA past papers with answers

    tesseract 5.0.0-beta-20210815 Ocr_detected_lang en Ocr_detected_lang_conf 1.0000 Ocr_detected_script Latin Ocr_detected_script_conf 0.9313 Ocr_module_version 0.0.13 Ocr_parameters-l eng Old_pallet IA-NS-2000440 Page_number_confidence 91.49 Pages 166 Partner Innodata Pdf_module_version 0.0.15 Ppi 360 Rcs_key 24143 Republisher_date 20210911194233 ...

  8. S4 National 5 Past Papers | English Department Website

    S4 National 5 Past Papers | English Department Website S1 Homework S2 Homework Higher for CfE Higher Past Paper Questions Higher Notes Critical Essay Miss Murphy – The Godfather Set Texts Men Should Weep The Cone Gatherers Extra Curricular Public Speaking Year- group Information S4 National 5 Past Papers

  9. rhsenglish.com

    National 5 English Exam: 2014. The National 5 English exam is on Wednesday 30th April 2014. There are two papers: Reading for Analysis and Evaluation 1 pm- 2 pm. Critical Reading 2.20 pm- 3.50 pm. I've updated some of the links on the S3/S4 page to provide more revision support; here's a selection of the new ones: