How to write a GCSE English Speech: Your 2025 Exams Guide

How to write a GCSE English Speech: Your 2025 Exams Guide

It’s a part of the GCSE English Language syllabus that fills most students with dread… public speaking. 

But preparing for your GCSE English speech shouldn’t be daunting! It’s generally only five minutes long, and you can normally speak about pretty much anything you want. Think of it as a chance to let your passion, interests and creativity shine.

With the right approach to writing your speech, you’ll deliver a powerful and engaging presentation. In this guide, we’ll talk you through the key steps to crafting an outstanding speech – drawing on our expert insights, official mark schemes and examiner preferences.

Ready? Let’s talk.

How do you write a good GCSE English speech?

Writing a fantastic GCSE English speech involves several important elements. You’ll have to think about your audience, choose a compelling topic and research it thoroughly. Once you’re writing, you should organise your arguments effectively and select appropriate yet impressive vocabulary to persuade your audience. 

So, how do I start writing my speech?

Let’s break down each of these components and how to start writing.

How to write a powerful speech: 8 top tips

1. Mind-map your ideas

Begin by jotting down all your ideas without worrying about order or relevance. Think about what interests you and what will capture your audience’s attention. 

Your teacher might give you a steer, but consider current events, personal experiences and topics you’re passionate about. This mind-mapping session will help you generate a pool of ideas.

2. Refine your topic

Once you have a list of ideas, narrow it down to one topic. If you’re passionate and well-informed, your enthusiasm will shine through and make your speech more convincing.

Ensure your topic is specific enough to be covered in the time allowed – but broad enough to provide substantial content.

3. Research thoroughly

Before creating an outline, gather some initial information on your chosen topic. Look for credible sources, interesting facts, real-life examples and diverse perspectives or quotes from experts. 

Only select the most compelling evidence to support your main points. This will help you understand the depth and scope of your topic and provide a solid foundation for your arguments.

4. Create an outline

Now it’s time to organise your ideas into a clear and logical outline. Decide on the main points you’ll cover and the evidence or examples you’ll use to support them. 

An outline serves as a roadmap for your speech, helping you cover all the necessary points in an order that makes sense. Typically, your speech should have an introduction, a body and a conclusion (we’ll cover structure in the next section).

5. Understand your audience

Adjust your language and examples to suit your peers and teachers. Consider their interests, experiences and what might resonate with them – and tailor your writing to match. For instance, you could use humour, emotional anecdotes, relatable stories or surprising facts to grab their attention.

6. Use persuasive language

By this, we mean plenty of rhetorical devices. You could use repetition and alliteration to emphasise key points, rhetorical questions to provoke thought, or hyperbole and emotive language to connect with your audience. 

A great speech is all about painting pictures with words. Just ensure your message is always clear, and avoid technical terms unless they’re absolutely essential and clearly explained.

7. Draft and revise

Write a complete first draft without worrying too much about perfection. Just focus on getting your ideas down.

Then it’s time for editing and polishing. Look for areas where you can improve clarity, coherence, and impact. Pay attention to grammar, punctuation and word choice – reading your speech aloud to catch any awkward phrasing.

8. Practise your delivery

Rehearse regularly in the weeks before your speech. Focus on your pacing, intonation and body language to make your delivery smooth and natural.

Perform your speech to friends or family and ask for constructive feedback. Teachers often appreciate a “TED Talk” delivery. So if you’re unsure what this means, watch a few videos on YouTube.

Essentially, you should focus on a clear, engaging and confident presentation. So use body language to your advantage. Your gestures, facial expressions and movements all enhance your speech. Engage your audience with plenty of eye contact and vary your voice. Think about switching up your pitch, pace and volume to maintain interest and emphasise points.

A note on assessment criteria..

As well as these general tips, it’s vital to understand the assessment criteria you’re working with. Thankfully, this is similar for all the main GCSE exam boards. You can find an example here.

In addition, AQA has published some super helpful notes and guidance. While these notes are aimed at teachers, they show what examiners look for in a speech – including your content, structure, delivery and responses to questions. For instance, they suggest a 1-5 marking scale for the following questions:

  • Did the start get your attention?
  • Was the purpose for the talk clear?
  • Were the examples/details relevant/interesting?
  • How well did they hold your attention?
  • Did they end well/clearly?
  • How effectively did they respond to questions?

If you’re preparing for GCSE exams, don’t miss our guides to grade boundaries and percentages, the GCSE grading system and your post-16 choices once you’ve finished exams.

How should you structure a GCSE English speech?

To deliver a powerful GCSE English speech, structuring your speech is essential. 

Start with a strong opening to capture your audience’s attention. This first sentence could be a powerful quote that relates to your topic, a startling fact that intrigues and provokes thought, or a personal anecdote that creates connection with your audience. 

Your opening sets the tone and primes your audience for what’s to come, so make it count.

When it comes to the rest of your speech, organise your content into three main sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Each section should flow smoothly into the next, guiding your audience through your argument.


In the introduction, greet your audience warmly. Clearly state your topic to set the context for your speech – and make sure you’ve nailed that opening line.

Provide a brief outline of the main points you’ll cover (just a couple of sentences will do), giving your audience a roadmap of what to expect. This helps them follow along and stay engaged throughout your speech.

The body

The body of your speech is where you present your main points in detail. Each point should be clearly defined and supported with solid evidence or relevant examples. 

Use clear transitions between points (such as furthermore, firstly, secondly etc.) to ensure your speech flows logically. This helps your audience understand and remember your argument.


In the conclusion, briefly summarise your key points to reinforce your message. Restate the importance of your topic, highlighting why it matters and what you hope your audience takes away from your speech. 

End with a memorable closing statement, such as a call to action, a thought-provoking question or a powerful quote. This ensures your speech leaves a lasting impact after you’ve finished speaking.

How do I end a GCSE English speech?

Ending your speech on a high is key to leaving a lasting impression on your audience. Here are some effective techniques to ensure your conclusion resonates.

  • Call to action: Encourage your listeners to take specific steps related to your topic (e.g., “Vote Green,” “Buy Fairtrade”). This not only reinforces your message but motivates your audience to engage with real-life issues.
  • Powerful quotes: Wrap up with a powerful quote summarising your main points. A memorable quote can leave a lasting impact and give your speech a thought-provoking finish.
  • Anecdotes: End with a personal anecdote related to your central theme. Sharing personal stories makes your speech more relatable and emotionally engaging, helping your audience connect on a deeper level.
  • Rhetorical questions: Consider leaving your listeners with a rhetorical question. A well-crafted, thought-provoking question can keep them thinking about your topic long after you’ve finished speaking.

Or what about all four? By combining these techniques in your final paragraph, you’ll craft a conclusion that really leaves your audience with something to remember.

How long should a GCSE English speech be?

A typical GCSE English speech is around 4-5 minutes long. This gives enough time to develop your points while keeping your audience engaged. From a practical perspective, it also lets everyone in the class give their speech without taking-up too many lessons!

If you surpass your allocated time, your teacher might remind you to wrap things up. To avoid rushing, practise your speech under timed conditions. Be 100% confident before you stand up, that you can give your speech within the timeframe.

Are you preparing for your GCSE English exams?

By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to writing and delivering an impressive GCSE English speech. Remember, practice and preparation are key. Good luck!

At Achieve Learning, we provide expert 1-1 tuition for GCSE English and Maths as well as academic coaching and reading support. Get in touch with our knowledgeable and friendly team today to discuss your academic goals.