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    Hello, I got an A* at GCSE, this is just my subject... I just do it naturally - I thought.

    Been on steady Bs since september and accepted over time I'd earn an A.
    Now, 20% of this years grade is on Othello. I got it, I wrote an essay... D/E!

    So I cried, lost all confidence in my future aspirations and then wrote a new one.
    I think it's bloody good. But what is an A? Apparently AS is really 'hoop jumping' but I accept maybe my ability just isn't there.

    Please will someone read my essay and give their honest opinion?
    Unfortunately I can't post it for obvious reasons.

    Or any tips on what you would do.
    My teacher seems happier with this one - i.e had very little to complain about but won't give me a rough grade this time.

    I'd really appreciate it

    Seriously, just do your best. You can't have any regrets if you do your best work. Do millions of drafts if you have to, have a critical eye when reading over and over and over and over again, take regular breaks and just put a lot of effort into your choice of critics/comparisons. If you're so worried, someone else's compliments/feedback won't make too much of a difference, you have to like the work you have done yourself. So just do your very, very best and be confident.
    If you're still worried, show the work to another member of the English department at your school/college and ask them cheekily to give you an estimated grade? Although, if your tutor had 'very little to complain about' and you encouraged him to complain regardless, then you shouldn't be fretting too much.
    Good luck!

    Or any tips on what you would do
    Go on the website of whichever exam board your are sitting. Find the specification, read it, especially the mark scheme. Find examiners' reports/samples of previous coursework with moderators' comments.

    Think about how you are going to apply this to your texts. Go on amazon and search for critical approaches to your texts (York Notes Advanced is Ok as a starting point but probably not enough for an A, though quality varies from text to text). Once you have your essay title, order 2-3 books where the contents pages look appropriate.

    Plan your essay, with a word count per section. make sure that your sections have strong "theme/topic" sentences to signal the structure of your overall argument. Write the intro/conclusion last and try to make these as punchy as possible. Try to embed short quotes from the texts/critics rather than quoting at length. Continue to observe the GCSE rule about Point Example Explanation of effect.

    Sorry if this sounds patronising. I think every school should do this, but many do not.

    Good luck

    I'm currently studying A level English Literature Intensive which means the two year course into one. Now I know exactly how you feel considering I achieved an A grade for English Literature, assuming Language was my stronger point clearly was wrong. So I'm obviously putting much more effort this year but the teacher who teaches Othello (separate teachers for AS/A2) has dumbed down the whole specification and has handouts of work which I could easily get hold of myself.
    What I can advise you to do is to get your hands on the OCR English Literature Handbook (That's if you are taking OCR) If not then get a hold of all the Othello notes from websites and books (York notes and Spark is a nono if you want a higher grade)
    That's pretty much all I can advise you for right now.
    Good Luck!

    Look up the AO's, seriously they're all I refer to when I'm writing an essay (Assessment Objectives).

    They should be in the mark scheme. For example CCEA has four AO's, something along the lines of:

    AO1 - Communication
    AO2 - Textual knowledge
    AO3 - Comparison of given texts
    AO4 - Contextual knowledge and criticisms

    When your essay is being marked, all the examiner will do is read a line and say "Is this relevant to an AO?" If it is, you get a mark. If it's not, despite it being well-written, you don't get a mark. That's what it means when they say getting an AS in English means you have to jump through hoops. You just have to follow instructions!
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