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    Help!

    I really want an A* in English Literature but, for some reason, cannot achieve any higher than a C in practice exams. I somehow gained an A in English Language with around a B for coursework and D's on my practice tests.

    My teacher always goes on about SMILER and PEA but I still don't get how it works. I am fine with the poems, I could talk for ages about alternative meanings and stuff (just make it up really) and my knowledge of To Kill A Mockingbird is alright. I just can't seem to apply it in the exams.

    I am doing the AQA course. I am studying the Pre 1914, Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy poems as well as To Kill A Mockingbird.
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    read the a* sample answers on the aqa website, that really helped me and i got an a* in the end. it also depends alot on the quality of notes your teacher gives you..ask your teacher HOW you can improve
    good luck
    http://store.aqa.org.uk/qual/gcse/qp...12-H-W-CEX.PDF
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    Thanks, do you have any more tips? Also, my handwriting is terrible, will that matter much?
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    If you have the option of 2 questions, taking the "less popular" question - it should be obvious when you open the exam paper, shouldn't be, but might be marked more favourably as the examiners won't have as many comparisons.

    Backup any quotes made, make sure spelling/punctuation is good. As for handwriting, just practice I guess? >_< You might be able to request a laptop/computer to do your exam on if it's THAT bad, though it's quite unlikely I think.

    Also, plan out how long you'll spend on each question so you actually finish!
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    (Original post by 786girl)
    read the a* sample answers on the aqa website, that really helped me and i got an a* in the end. it also depends alot on the quality of notes your teacher gives you..ask your teacher HOW you can improve
    good luck
    http://store.aqa.org.uk/qual/gcse/qp...12-H-W-CEX.PDF
    which ones are A* pieces there are like 5 there??
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    (Original post by Joseppea)
    Backup any quotes made, make sure spelling/punctuation is good.
    Also, plan out how long you'll spend on each question so you actually finish!
    I think my spelling and punctuation are generally good and I understand the timing, what do you mean by backing up quotes?
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    eeermm, don't give a quote and then start a new sentence etc. Link it to what you're saying rather than just chucking a quote in there. Common sense I know, but our english teacher wouldn't shut up about it xD
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    Okay, I still am struggling to see how to get an A* in the exam. I thought my mock was alright then my teacher gave it a D........ I really don't understand how to answer the questions. How do you guys do it?
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    The main thing is to get all the points, down the language, language techniques used what a certain word does to produce a certain effect, as well as proper quoting what it's trying to convey. Writing is important, try to be concise, use good vocabulary, but writing is hard to teach as like everyone says you need flair which can't really be taught, the best is to read everything, newspapers and stuff and write loads of essays if possible if you could get you're teacher or someone to check and look into depth with you regularly.
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    (Original post by george..)
    Help!

    I really want an A* in English Literature but, for some reason, cannot achieve any higher than a C in practice exams. I somehow gained an A in English Language with around a B for coursework and D's on my practice tests.

    My teacher always goes on about SMILER and PEA but I still don't get how it works. I am fine with the poems, I could talk for ages about alternative meanings and stuff (just make it up really) and my knowledge of To Kill A Mockingbird is alright. I just can't seem to apply it in the exams.

    I am doing the AQA course. I am studying the Pre 1914, Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy poems as well as To Kill A Mockingbird.
    I was is a similar situation to you, till i had a "breakthrough" I just thought im sick of getting Bs so i sat down and spent about 25 hours on a 4500 word coursework over a half term and since then it was easy. For the exam I ended up doing about 20 past papers. It paid off as I ended up with an A* in lang and an A* in lit.
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    My teacher won't allow me to redo coursework, which is a shame because it was around a B, not an A*... My only hope is the exam which I am really struggling with. I can write well, I can write essays, stories, articles or speeches easily but there is something about poetry questions that I can't do. I know the poems, I could tell you so many different meanings without looking at them but I just don't know how to get that down in the exam.
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    Well, you go through the poem in order, what exactly are you struggling with?
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    (Original post by scireamortente)
    Well, you go through the poem in order, what exactly are you struggling with?
    How to answer the whole question.

    How do I structure my answer?
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    lol i got Cs in all the practise exams and then fluked an A*. I genuinely do not know how it happened but i remember writing plans for everything before i wrote my essays so that probobly helped.
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    (Original post by george..)
    How to answer the whole question.

    How do I structure my answer?
    Don't you just go through the poem from beginning to end and use point evidence and explain. You just use a lot of language and content quotes to answer what the question asks. What it wants to convey first, how it does this, and the effect it gets, basically explain. At the end remember to state clearly the point you want to make to it and maybe leave something for the conclusion.
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    (Original post by scireamortente)
    Don't you just go through the poem from beginning to end and use point evidence and explain. You just use a lot of language and content quotes to answer what the question asks. What it wants to convey first, how it does this, and the effect it gets, basically explain. At the end remember to state clearly the point you want to make to it and maybe leave something for the conclusion.
    I thought you did but I have had 3 different teachers for the course and they all say different things. I just can't do it, is there a specific way that gives you the best chance of getting an A*?
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    I'll be doing the English Lit paper this summer as well.

    My teacher says that for the poems, you have to compare four poems shortly in the opening paragraph and the at least two of them in great details using FLIT (Form, Language, Imagery, Tone) and then conclude with my response to the poems, which one is most effective etc.

    Apparently, evaluating, as in saying why the technique is effective is an A and the interpreting the lines is an A*.
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    (Original post by george..)
    My teacher won't allow me to redo coursework, which is a shame because it was around a B, not an A*... My only hope is the exam which I am really struggling with. I can write well, I can write essays, stories, articles or speeches easily but there is something about poetry questions that I can't do. I know the poems, I could tell you so many different meanings without looking at them but I just don't know how to get that down in the exam.
    I can write decent essays on poetry. If you want a good mark on essays use a formula like PCQE:
    1. Point
    2. Comment
    3. Quotation
    4. Explain


    Point = opening sentence, your statement
    Comment = just some context of the text, little info so you can use your quotation
    Quotation = use evidence to back-up your point
    Explain = what does the quotation mean? what significance does it have on text? answer your statement

    That's a general formula for writing essays, and I'm sure your teacher has one. For poetry try and do this:

    evidence --> denotation (literal meaning) --> connotation (effect on context)

    For example:
    The lady is a rose. --> rose suggests beauty, love...etc --> the lady is beautiful

    I'll do an example paragraph:

    The feminist poet highlights women's pulchritude during the renaissance. Throughout the poem it is prevalent that women are, indeed, aesthetically appealing. As such, it is said that the "lady is a rose". It can be said that "rose" suggests beauty: thus, the lady is beautiful. Therefore, the poet believes that women, during the renaissance, were especially superior when it came to aesthetics.

    The question could have been:

    Write about a poem in which feminist ideas are put forth. Go on to discuss how it affects your appreciation of the text.


    The thing is, if you answer the question adequately, I doubt you could get anything below a B. You just need to improve your content and understanding: always remember that texts were written at a certain time-period of history or someone's life, and thus it has a significant meaning that is not bluntly depicted in the text. It's great to talk about the text on essays, but the writer has already done a great job of writing the story which will be undeniably better; but, the writer has not written about the meanings, which are hidden.

    I use the last sentence to have a personal response, as I talk about a 'hidden' meaning of the text. I answer my opening sentence, too. So if you take away everything in-between the first and last sentence, it makes total sense. That last sentence is significantly important in answering the essay question: everything else, as you see, was context or analysis.

    The first sentence of the question is basically the context and analysis, and the second sentence is the personal response (the 'hidden' meaning).

    If you want help on essays please do PM me: I can check, edit and improve.
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    Btw, do you get marks for planning as I see ticks on the AQA link provided above?
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    (Original post by george..)
    How to answer the whole question.

    How do I structure my answer?
    One of my major gripes with the GCSE English course was the fact that, seemingly, your actual points were more or less worthless. Most of the marks in the exam will come from how you structure your essay as opposed to the content. Hopefully some of this will be useful to you, though I'm really tired right now so apologies for godawful examples of sentences!! =P

    Firstly read over the question and pick out the most important words. Character names, themes, particular literary devices etc that you've been asked to focus on. All through your essay, remember that this is what you're focussing on. No matter how interesting your point is on another part of the text, if it's not relevant then don't include it.

    You'll almost certainly get some kind of argument question to write. Something like "character x in Jack Smith's 1999 novel, 'Novel', is a monstrous man who only brings misery to those around him". Structure your essay in the following way:

    1= Introduction
    -Briefly write your initial thoughts on the key words you identified and outline the essay. This shouldn't really be more than 5 or 6 lines, but I'm infamous for writing lengthy introductions and I've never been penalised for it.

    2= Point for
    -Write one sentence that makes your point and shows how it's relevant to the theme. Try to get the author name into this if you can, for some reason that gets you marks I seem to recall. (e.g. "Jack Smith's use of similes mean that character x may be viewed as a monstrous man.")
    -Elaborate on this sentence very slightly, making your point with reference to the text. Then introduce a quote (e.g. "Before he speaks to his elderly neighbour, character x is described in the following manner:")
    -Quote. Preferably not more than a couple of lines long. Make sure you pick one that shows off your point well.
    -Analysis. Talk about use of language, themes, characters, plot etc. Pick out individual words or phrases and say why you find them effective. Remember to keep your focus on answering the question. (e.g. "The word 'stabbing' seems harsh and cruel, with connotations of violence which may make the reader feel unconfortable, and as such makes character x seem monstrous.)
    -Wrap it up. This is very important for the A* grade. Sum up your paragraph briefly by relating it back to the title again. Then include a short sentence that says how effective this was compared to the text as a whole. (e.g. "This is the most monstrous moment of the novel, as the author's use of violent imagery in the simile is truly chilling.)

    3= Point against
    Same as the above, but for the reverse point of view. Remember to always link to the title!

    Repeat 2 and 3 for as many points as necessary

    4= Conclusion Tie up your essay by stating your point of view on the question. (e.g. in the example I gave, say whether you felt more strongly for or against the provided statement.)

    And that's really all there is to it, if it's the same as when I did the GCSE. Just a few pointers to remember:
    -Points of view. Examiners like it if you can show how the text can be interpreted in different ways. Try to include at least one reference to this, e.g. by showing how a sentence is ambiguous and can be interpreted as being either one thing or the other.
    -The Author. As previously mentioned, they seem to like it if you constantly refer to the author.
    -How it makes you feel as a reader. A big key to getting an A*. Always think about how a certain word/phrase/character etc. makes you feel and write about this. This is all about your response to the texts, which is one of the main things you're being examined on.

    Well, I hope some of that was a little bit helpful! I wish you the best of luck!! :3
 
 
 
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