How do/did you revise English Literature AS?

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Dougieowner
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Hi everyone!

I'm currently in Year 12 and I've just finished my coursework for English Literature AS (AQA Specification B.) I believe after Christmas we're moving onto studying poetry (I'm not yet sure which poems), as well as 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini and 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I have York Notes for these novels which will be of great use, but how would you recommend I go about my revision? Some people on this forum will have already sat the exam (and probably did really well) so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance, hopefully your answers will help other people too; English is a hard subject to revise for...
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Student_27
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Last year I was in year 12 and did the English Literature spec B exam on AQA, along with the coursework.

I agree with you that English is a hard subject to revise for because it's not like Psychology or History etc where you have content you specifically need to know for the exam. Instead it's mainly focused and based on the quality of yoy writing and your knowledge of ehat you're writing about.

I found that the best method of revisiob for English lit is practice papers and questions; we did loads in our class and got them marked really quickly, the feedback helped us to improve each tine we did another one.

Practice papers emulate the formality of the exam and it's the closest you can get to the actual exam.

I also did revision cards on the poems and wrote down key notes such as the form, structure and language (which you need for the exam). You need a very good understanding of the poems too and in the exam you don't get to see your notes so the better you know the poems beforehand, the better you're likely to do!


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Dougieowner
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(Original post by Student_27)
Last year I was in year 12 and did the English Literature spec B exam on AQA, along with the coursework.

I agree with you that English is a hard subject to revise for because it's not like Psychology or History etc where you have content you specifically need to know for the exam. Instead it's mainly focused and based on the quality of yoy writing and your knowledge of ehat you're writing about.

I found that the best method of revisiob for English lit is practice papers and questions; we did loads in our class and got them marked really quickly, the feedback helped us to improve each tine we did another one.

Practice papers emulate the formality of the exam and it's the closest you can get to the actual exam.

I also did revision cards on the poems and wrote down key notes such as the form, structure and language (which you need for the exam). You need a very good understanding of the poems too and in the exam you don't get to see your notes so the better you know the poems beforehand, the better you're likely to do!


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Thank you! This was really helpful - I think we will begin doing practice papers in class once we begin studying the poems/novels. The revision card idea is great too, I might give that a go!
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Chihiro95
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Practice questions, memorising quotes, memorising the assessment objectives and making sure you meet each criterion for each question.
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Taliahart
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Hey! I took this exam last year and got a good mark, whereas lots in my class didn't. By no means am I cleverer than them all. The reason I got a good mark, despite some of them being better writers, is that I stuck to the assessment objectives! These are the same as what you had in your coursework. Simply:

AO1: how well you write
AO2: form, structure, language
AO3: 2 sides of the argument, and critics
AO4: historical context

You NEED TO GET ALL OF THESE INTO ANY ESSAY! My main tips are:

1) Memorise at least 5 critics for each text you do! AO3 is all about different opinions and the best way to do this is to cite critics in your exam. Be careful with the quotes you learn, don't make them too specific. Eg, Sarah Churchill described the Great Gatsby as being about "the decadent downside of the American Dream", which is a great one because whenever you're writing an essay about american dream, corruption, waste, the valley of ashes etc you can throw this one in.

2) Make little mind maps of the historical context of each text you are doing, because to hit the AO4 you will need to write about this. Research the Taliban, US migration, and racism in Afghanistan for The Kite Runner, and The Jazz Age for Gatsby.

3) Past paper questions - you don't need to write full on essays for all of them. Just bullet point what you would say/ how you would structure it. Maybe you will come up with things you can recycle in your exam.

4) Do write SOME essays though, to practise your timing and structure. Ask teacher for feedback.

5) READ AND REREAD YOUR TEXTS! you don't want to be rifling through them for quotes in the exam. I find if you read it enough times the perfect quote comes to you in the exam



The texts I did in the exam were: Tennyson poems, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Pride and Prejudice and Small Island. If you are doing any of these feel free to message me if you want to use my notes/ essays.
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StarryInk07
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I struggled most with learning the quotes. I know it's obvious, but start earlier rather than later. ^^" The week before the exam was awful because I'd left it until then to memorise them. Like Student_27, I'd recommend using revision cards - they really helped me! I don't know if mind maps work for you... but I prepared several mind maps, one for each theme, where I'd note down key quotes, critics' views, and ideas/ analysis. This way, you'll be ready for whatever question they throw at you! I found the information easier to digest when it was organised thematically as well.
I was on a different board (OCR), so I'm not sure how helpful this will be... But hey. Good luck. Hope it all goes well!
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ema97
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Hey im doing exactly the same as you, we've already done the kite runner and are slowly getting into the coursework but we had a stupid teacher who messed us about. i was just wondering what you did your courseowkr on? we're supposed to be doing it on Shakespeare
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_lifegoeson
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i did both the kite runner and the great gatsby last year, and managed to get an A on the exam. like others have said, i found revision cards were really helpful for me. for the novels, i'd make a card on each theme (so for kite runner i did one on redemption, family, war, identity, etc etc ) and made bullet points on key moments in the novel which exemplified these sorts of things, using short quotes where i could. i know it's an open book exam, but it makes it a lot easier when you know certain quotes or at least can remember where abouts they are in the book.

i also made them for each poem (i did browning and auden) which basically went over the structure and rhyme scheme of the poem, key motifs or images, themes - especially for auden, i found he covered a lot of the same themes in the poems we studied, such as the importance of time, mortality, realities of love, etc and it's useful making the links so that you can tie points in nicely when writing the essays.

when it comes to the AOs, the most important thing is remembering which question is being marked for which. in section a, part a is only on AO2, so be careful to not start talking about historical context or different interpretations, it won't get you any marks. part b in section a is on every AO but AO2, so don't talk about language form and structure in it. as far as i can remember, section a part b is the only one marked for AO4 so this is where you're going to want to put in anything about historical context. section b is marked on AO1, 2 and 3.

i found that reading the mark schemes for past papers was useful once you've answered them yourself, seeing what sort of things are marked and what the examiners are looking for. however, the most important part is nailing your timing and picking your questions wisely in the exam. you don't want to answer a question on the kite runner in section a, only to realise that the question in section b was the perfect question to use the kite runner in.

anyway i'll stop rambling haha, if you want to ask any questions about the novels, or the poetry if you end up doing either browning or auden, i'd be happy to (try and) help
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beinlondon
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(Original post by Taliahart)
Hey! I took this exam last year and got a good mark, whereas lots in my class didn't. By no means am I cleverer than them all. The reason I got a good mark, despite some of them being better writers, is that I stuck to the assessment objectives! These are the same as what you had in your coursework. Simply:

AO1: how well you write
AO2: form, structure, language
AO3: 2 sides of the argument, and critics
AO4: historical context

You NEED TO GET ALL OF THESE INTO ANY ESSAY! My main tips are:

1) Memorise at least 5 critics for each text you do! AO3 is all about different opinions and the best way to do this is to cite critics in your exam. Be careful with the quotes you learn, don't make them too specific. Eg, Sarah Churchill described the Great Gatsby as being about "the decadent downside of the American Dream", which is a great one because whenever you're writing an essay about american dream, corruption, waste, the valley of ashes etc you can throw this one in.

2) Make little mind maps of the historical context of each text you are doing, because to hit the AO4 you will need to write about this. Research the Taliban, US migration, and racism in Afghanistan for The Kite Runner, and The Jazz Age for Gatsby.

3) Past paper questions - you don't need to write full on essays for all of them. Just bullet point what you would say/ how you would structure it. Maybe you will come up with things you can recycle in your exam.

4) Do write SOME essays though, to practise your timing and structure. Ask teacher for feedback.

5) READ AND REREAD YOUR TEXTS! you don't want to be rifling through them for quotes in the exam. I find if you read it enough times the perfect quote comes to you in the exam



The texts I did in the exam were: Tennyson poems, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Pride and Prejudice and Small Island. If you are doing any of these feel free to message me if you want to use my notes/ essays.
Did you do passage based questions or just a question that talks about the book? Im doing cambridge literature.


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Taliahart
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I don't know much about cambridge lit - sorry.

The questions all talked about the entire book e.g.) How is the character X portrayed in Pride and Prejudice?
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Taliahart
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(Original post by beinlondon)
Did you do passage based questions or just a question that talks about the book? Im doing cambridge literature.


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sorry forgot to quote you ^
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SharminaSyeda
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I thought it was only for A2 where you had to memorise the quotes? And I'd definitely memorise the assessment objectives because different questions require certain assessment objectives and know the material well too
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alevel16
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(Original post by Taliahart)
Hey! I took this exam last year and got a good mark, whereas lots in my class didn't. By no means am I cleverer than them all. The reason I got a good mark, despite some of them being better writers, is that I stuck to the assessment objectives! These are the same as what you had in your coursework. Simply:

AO1: how well you write
AO2: form, structure, language
AO3: 2 sides of the argument, and critics
AO4: historical context

You NEED TO GET ALL OF THESE INTO ANY ESSAY! My main tips are:

1) Memorise at least 5 critics for each text you do! AO3 is all about different opinions and the best way to do this is to cite critics in your exam. Be careful with the quotes you learn, don't make them too specific. Eg, Sarah Churchill described the Great Gatsby as being about "the decadent downside of the American Dream", which is a great one because whenever you're writing an essay about american dream, corruption, waste, the valley of ashes etc you can throw this one in.

2) Make little mind maps of the historical context of each text you are doing, because to hit the AO4 you will need to write about this. Research the Taliban, US migration, and racism in Afghanistan for The Kite Runner, and The Jazz Age for Gatsby.

3) Past paper questions - you don't need to write full on essays for all of them. Just bullet point what you would say/ how you would structure it. Maybe you will come up with things you can recycle in your exam.

4) Do write SOME essays though, to practise your timing and structure. Ask teacher for feedback.

5) READ AND REREAD YOUR TEXTS! you don't want to be rifling through them for quotes in the exam. I find if you read it enough times the perfect quote comes to you in the exam



The texts I did in the exam were: Tennyson poems, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Pride and Prejudice and Small Island. If you are doing any of these feel free to message me if you want to use my notes/ essays.
What part came up for the rime of the ancient mariner in june 2013?
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Taliahart
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(Original post by alevel16)
What part came up for the rime of the ancient mariner in june 2013?
can't really remember, i think it was part 2
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Changing Skies
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(Original post by alevel16)
What part came up for the rime of the ancient mariner in june 2013?
(Original post by Taliahart)
can't really remember, i think it was part 2
Correct, it was

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