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    Hey there, I'm Dan.

    Woohoo! First thread!

    Anyway, a short (relevant) background:

    I have took AS and A2 Literature for my A levels. Didn't do O levels, hence missed most of the preparatory years. As a side note, our Lit teacher is horrible, talks more about her private life than literature.

    I have done the AS exam and got a B. I therefore am retaking it this year, together with the A2 exam.

    I've written multiple essays throughout, consistently getting B's and high B's, which got me frustrated. I've researched all free websites available to improve my analysis skills and essay writing, etc, but non seem to help enough to get me to the A-A*.

    Hence I turn here, perhaps those people who actually do know how to do it well could give me some advice.

    I am studying "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde and "Twelfth Night" by Shakespeare and Mansfield's short stories for AS level. That, plus "Hamlet" and Marvel's poems.

    Any tip on how to:
    - analyse poems well (especially Marvel's specifically, the anthology in AS was much simpler, I actually got an A there), what important mentions should I look for (I mean, alliteration is less important than noticing and explaining a caesura, etc).
    - write essays (specifically for literature), how I should structure, how good should my vocabulary be, etc.
    - how to analyse shakespeare's plays, what important mentions should I point out for them, etc. (For example, mentioning that a disturbance in the iambic pentameter might signify the emotional distress in Hamlet, etc)
    - any other useful tip that you could give me, regarding anything that relates to literature.

    Thank you so much, whoever puts in the time and effort to contribute and help. I will highly appreciate any one who provides an answer. The more detailed, the better.


    When feature spotting, go for the basics - phonetics of language, word type, what type of text it is, juxtaposition etc rather than noticing more complex features such as stichomythia. Once you have the basics done, you kind of have all your bases covered, and you can start going for more complex ones, but make sure you know the basics first (in my AS retake, I managed to forget the term "symbol of x" and instead put "anthropomorphic representation of"... we'll see how that turns out in March).

    When you structure essays, go for the Point Evidence Analysis (PEA) structure - make a statement, provide your evidence and analyse your evidence. Make sure you analyse the language itself rather than the story - this is where you (should) get the majority of your marks from.

    As with everything else at A-level - LEARN THE MARK SCHEMES. Once you have the mark scheme done, you'll know exactly what to address and in what proportion. If a question asks you to address historical context and you just analyse the language, no matter how good your essay is you're still not going to get full marks.

    Also, my English teacher goes off on many tangents too I think that's a requirement for the job lol

    EDIT: If you'd like, I can look at one of your essays and point out where you can improve. While my exam grade doesn't look that good (I FAIL at English in an exam situation, fml), my coursework grade was like 93% at AS and my written work regularly gets graded A/A*.
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Updated: February 12, 2010

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