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Any advice of how best to revise A2 English lit?

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    I am literally stuffed for this exam on the 20th June...my memory for revising quotes is awful, and I am currently trying to write as many essays as I can, but I'm really struggling with the structuring of the essay.

    So basically my question is, how on earth does everyone else manage to cram enough quotes from 2 plays and 46 poems to cover anything an exam can throw at you, plus all the analysis, historical contexts and critics to do well in the exam?

    And does anyone have any exemplar essays, because I honestly do not know what I am doing, and want to cry every time I try and revise
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    Ugh, I wish I knew. I've spent so much time revising The Wife of Bath today that not talking in rhyming iambic couplets now seems unnatural.

    I don't know what exam board you're on, but WJEC have a few example essays HERE and on their website. They all seem to be for Blake poems though, which is rubbish for me cos The Wife of Bath is so different.

    At GCSE for quotes I managed to learn 40 different quotes on my English texts, and 20 for the Welsh Lit. exam, just by writing them down and sticking them 'round the house. Not sure I have enough time left to do that this year though.
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    (Original post by Brownie anyone?)
    I am literally stuffed for this exam on the 20th June...my memory for revising quotes is awful, and I am currently trying to write as many essays as I can, but I'm really struggling with the structuring of the essay.

    So basically my question is, how on earth does everyone else manage to cram enough quotes from 2 plays and 46 poems to cover anything an exam can throw at you, plus all the analysis, historical contexts and critics to do well in the exam?

    And does anyone have any exemplar essays, because I honestly do not know what I am doing, and want to cry every time I try and revise
    I'm just trying to learn key quotes.
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    (Original post by Dusty12)
    Ugh, I wish I knew. I've spent so much time revising The Wife of Bath today that not talking in rhyming iambic couplets now seems unnatural.

    I don't know what exam board you're on, but WJEC have a few example essays HERE and on their website. They all seem to be for Blake poems though, which is rubbish for me cos The Wife of Bath is so different.

    At GCSE for quotes I managed to learn 40 different quotes on my English texts, and 20 for the Welsh Lit. exam, just by writing them down and sticking them 'round the house. Not sure I have enough time left to do that this year though.

    That's actually great for me because I'm doing Blake haha. Yep on wjec so thank you

    I just read the D grade essay which is a million times better than anything I could write :/

    How are you learning your quotes though? I just feel like there is just Soooo much. I want to cry every time I revise it.
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    (Original post by Shehz94)
    I'm just trying to learn key quotes.
    But how do you know what a 'key quote' is? We don't know what question is going to come up!
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    (Original post by Brownie anyone?)
    That's actually great for me because I'm doing Blake haha. Yep on wjec so thank you

    I just read the D grade essay which is a million times better than anything I could write :/

    How are you learning your quotes though? I just feel like there is just Soooo much. I want to cry every time I revise it.
    That's good then.

    I know; I find example essays more depressing than anything. It is a really difficult exam though, and my teacher said that they recognize this so they don't expect everyone to write amaazing essays. Hopefully that's true.

    I'm mainly learning quotes through doing essay plans, reading essays and taking notes. You start remembering the quotes that keep appearing, and they're usually the most important ones. Also through a game I invented called 'Quote Showdown' where you and someone else who's doing the exam have to scream quotes from the texts at each other until someone runs out.
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    (Original post by Dusty12)
    That's good then.

    I know; I find example essays more depressing than anything. It is a really difficult exam though, and my teacher said that they recognize this so they don't expect everyone to write amaazing essays. Hopefully that's true.

    I'm mainly learning quotes through doing essay plans, reading essays and taking notes. You start remembering the quotes that keep appearing, and they're usually the most important ones. Also through a game I invented called 'Quote Showdown' where you and someone else who's doing the exam have to scream quotes from the texts at each other until someone runs out.
    Now, that's an idea!
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    (Original post by Brownie anyone?)
    But how do you know what a 'key quote' is? We don't know what question is going to come up!
    Learn quotes by theme? E.g. violence, power etc...Of course this is dependent on what texts you are studying.
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    (Original post by Brownie anyone?)
    I am literally stuffed for this exam on the 20th June...my memory for revising quotes is awful, and I am currently trying to write as many essays as I can, but I'm really struggling with the structuring of the essay.

    And does anyone have any exemplar essays, because I honestly do not know what I am doing, and want to cry every time I try and revise
    Hellooo - firstly which exam board are you?

    I'm AQA and doing the Gothic (Pardoner's Tale, White Devil and Bloody Chamber). I have a couple of exemplary essays which I could message to you if you like, as well as critical essays etc

    As for quotes:

    a) Choosing them - I made categories of position of women, religion, setting, imagery, horror/terror, supernatural etc etc (basically the features of the Gothic but if you're doing pastoral then features of the pastoral).

    b) Remembering them - If you get revision cards - A6 lined cards, then on the front write one memorable word of the quote and on the back the full quote (along with the poem/text/character it's from), then test yourself - I found this really effective, learnt my quotes in a couple of days.

    Also print off past questions and if nothing else just bullet point/plan answers to the questions - make your points quote led so that in the exam they're on the tip of your tongue. Or pen. whatever
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    Flash cards with quotes for different themes, characters, symbols etc usually work for me! I also find mind maps really useful, using colour and having a good knowledge of the text.
    These things made my A2 english lit exams this year go smoothly and I got full UMS last year so they do work (for me anyway ).
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    I was somehow lucky enough to get full marks on my A2 Lit exam; but unfortunately as much advice as any of us could give here, I feel it is very subjective and if another examiner had marked my paper I could have done a lot worse!

    However, my advice would be:

    - DON'T WORRY ABOUT QUOTES. I probably knew about 15 or 16 quotes when I walked into the exam - try and pick 3 or 4 'flexiquotes' from each text: a quote which contains several different things you could pick out e.g. something with alliteration AND imagery of blood etc.

    - You don't need loads of historical context; it isn't difficult. You just need to be aware that the text would have been received differently e.g. The Pardoner's Tale was written hundreds of years ago, when England was a much more Christian society. I don't think you really need to know anymore than that; it is about how you interpret it, and showing the awareness.

    - The same goes for different critics. I would often say 'from a feminist perspective...' or 'a marxist perspective may lead us to believe...'; again it is very lenient. You can interpret things for yourself, as long as you show there are different perspectives and you analyse them that's great. Make sure to pick out the strengths/weaknesses with different interpretations too.

    - The best thing you can do is essay plans... just write down a question and plan the structure and overall argument within 5 minutes. It's quick and easy, but is also really effective; probably more effective than just writing hundreds of essays in preparation.
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    (Original post by weetabixmonster)
    I was somehow lucky enough to get full marks on my A2 Lit exam; but unfortunately as much advice as any of us could give here, I feel it is very subjective and if another examiner had marked my paper I could have done a lot worse!

    However, my advice would be:

    - DON'T WORRY ABOUT QUOTES. I probably knew about 15 or 16 quotes when I walked into the exam - try and pick 3 or 4 'flexiquotes' from each text: a quote which contains several different things you could pick out e.g. something with alliteration AND imagery of blood etc.

    - You don't need loads of historical context; it isn't difficult. You just need to be aware that the text would have been received differently e.g. The Pardoner's Tale was written hundreds of years ago, when England was a much more Christian society. I don't think you really need to know anymore than that; it is about how you interpret it, and showing the awareness.

    - The same goes for different critics. I would often say 'from a feminist perspective...' or 'a marxist perspective may lead us to believe...'; again it is very lenient. You can interpret things for yourself, as long as you show there are different perspectives and you analyse them that's great. Make sure to pick out the strengths/weaknesses with different interpretations too.

    - The best thing you can do is essay plans... just write down a question and plan the structure and overall argument within 5 minutes. It's quick and easy, but is also really effective; probably more effective than just writing hundreds of essays in preparation.

    Thanks, this is really useful! I want to aim for full marks, have you got anymore words of wisdom? Haha also, what about the assessment objectives? I can never fully grasp them :/
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    (Original post by withersss)
    Thanks, this is really useful! I want to aim for full marks, have you got anymore words of wisdom? Haha also, what about the assessment objectives? I can never fully grasp them :/
    This is AQA AOs, should be very similar across boards:

    AO1 - Quality of Written Communication (this should come through without thinking about it, just your natural style.. grammar, punctuation, spelling, coherence, fluidity as an argument)

    AO2 - form: novel, play or poetry? How does this influence how we read the text? e.g. Canterbury Tales as a piece of poetry and part of the oral balladic tradition would have been read in groups, social situations, whereas novels give more opportunity for a more private, personal response to a text.

    language: Whenever you quote, don't dive straight into evaluation/how effective it is. Analyse stylistic and rhetorical features. If there is something simple like alliteration or assonance, don't skip over it or assume the examiner knows that you know it.

    structure: how is it set out? are there pre-ambles, post-ambles, exemplums, when does the main story begin? Think of beginnings and endings - why would the author choose to start/finish on these notes?

    AO3 - Aspects of Gothic/Pastoral. If your exam is themed, always link back to the theme. If something is shocking, say whether it is pronounced enough to make it 'Gothic'. Does a text being set in an urban area make it not pastoral? This AO includes your ability to weigh up arguments and use critical analysis (looking from contemporary, modern, Marxist, Feminist, psychoanalytical perspectives)

    AO4 - contexts of reception and production. Some examples: the importance of religion in medieval/renaissance period as opposed to the more secular modern-day reader. The way the text would have been read/seen (e.g. a play offers a wider scope for ambiguity and interpretation because of actor interpretation). Position of women in time period (e.g. the 1970s as a feminist movement, breaking of 'glass ceiling' - do we have equality today?)



    As a side note - if the question asks about, say, setting or position of women and in one of your texts there is a distinct lack of women (such as no physical women in Pardoner's Tale), then it's perfectly ok to comment on the significance of this. Why is the setting not as pronounced in X as in Y? It's not a comparison exam but you want to show some awareness of each text in relation to each other.
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    (Original post by withersss)
    Thanks, this is really useful! I want to aim for full marks, have you got anymore words of wisdom? Haha also, what about the assessment objectives? I can never fully grasp them :/
    I'm so sorry! I've only just seen this! I'm glad I could be of service. I can't remember the mark scheme off the top of my head, but what I would do is structure the essay around them. So, I would start off discussing language, form and structure. Do a short paragraph for each maybe; all you have to do is say what it adds to the text. Then work through to historical context and the other AOs. I really didn't spend much time on historical context - it's not that necessary. For different interpretations, (I think that was AO3? correct me if I'm wrong) I would contrast two different interpretations e.g. a religious interpretation vs. a feminist interpretation... then say which one I thought was stronger stronger. I think this is a really crucial thing to do - it's easy to discuss different interpretations, but adding your own critical touch is what impresses the examiners, I think

    Good luck everybody, you'll do great I'm sure!
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    (Original post by withersss)
    Thanks, this is really useful! I want to aim for full marks, have you got anymore words of wisdom? Haha also, what about the assessment objectives? I can never fully grasp them :/
    ALSO. I know a lot of people don't like doing this, but use the 'buzzwords' in the mark scheme. When you're discussing language, for example, say something like 'when critically assessing the language used in...'. However interesting your point may be, the examiner doesn't really care. By using the words in the mark scheme it provides a little mental tick to the examiner that you are definitely fulfilling the criteria. Otherwise, it is much more subjective and disputable whether or not you are actually assessing and evaluating language / form /structure / etc. I hated making it so obvious, but I think it's necessary with English Lit A level!
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    We're doing the aqa syllabus, and studying elements of the pastoral: tess, as you like it and post 1945 poetry.
    I'm finding it difficult to link the 3 together for the section B.
    So far, I've tried to theme the texts, eg love, and revise it like that.
    Then I hope to write essay plans.
    I've found a good way to learn quotes is by writing them on sticky notes and putting them around the house- on the outside of the shower is brilliant.
    good luck!
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    Does anyone know how the whole A level adds up together? On my college website it says the exam is worth 120UMS but on a sheet of paper that my teacher gave me it said only 80UMS because section A and section B are only worth 40 each? I'm so confused
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    Is anyone else on AQA? If so, do we have to use critical opinions in the exam? I used them in coursework, but didn't think we needed them in this time....
    Also Why is everyone on about gothic/pastorl? We aren't doing a theme......
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    (Original post by withersss)
    Does anyone know how the whole A level adds up together? On my college website it says the exam is worth 120UMS but on a sheet of paper that my teacher gave me it said only 80UMS because section A and section B are only worth 40 each? I'm so confused
    If this is AQA, the exam is worth 120 UMS, but 80 raw marks with an even split between the two questions, so maybe that was an error on the sheet.
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    (Original post by confused dot com)
    If this is AQA, the exam is worth 120 UMS, but 80 raw marks with an even split between the two questions, so maybe that was an error on the sheet.
    YEah it's AQA. What's the difference between UMS and raw marks?

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