Honestly: How to get an A/A* in English Lit? Watch

LSE1996
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As above, can someone who got an A or A* just give me a few tips? ONLY STUDENTS WHO HAVE ALREDY DONE IT PLEASE...


THANK YOU!
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LSE1996
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astrodr
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A2 or GCSE?
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GoneSailing
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I got an A* last year for A-level, so hopefully I can help - here's some tips off the top of my head.

Know the AOs inside out and make sure you address them in every essay, or the examiner simply can't give you the marks. Get into this habit when you write practice essays, so that you can do it easily in the real exam and work harder on any of the AOs that you know you tend to be weak on.

Learn key quotes. Many of the A2 exams are closed-book and you need quotes to back up your points and develop arguments. You need to have enough at your disposal to select the ones that are actually relevant, but it's also the case that one quote used for several different essay topics, so be clever with the ones you learn. When you learn a quote as part of your revision, make sure you have thought about how you might use it or analyse it.

Make sure you know your texts - pretty self-explanatory really.

Do TIMED practice essays and get your teacher/s to mark them if possible. This helps you to work out where you're at in terms of achievement, to practice timings and to think about essay ideas. Don't leave this all until the last minute, but do it throughout the year if your teachers aren't making you already. Essay plans can be helpful as part of revision as you can test yourself a bit without taking as much time as you might otherwise.

Have good exam technique - timing, working under pressure, reading the question properly, addressing all the texts/AOs in the right way etc

Do well on your coursework if possible.
This can be the most interesting bit of the course and is a good way of getting some high marks 'stored up' early on.
Try and take an interest - if you enjoy the subject, doing well is much easier. Try also to understand some of the context of your texts if you haven't done that already. For example, we did Blake last year and one piece of work I did was a presentation on his religious beliefs, as that was particularly pertinent to the texts we were studying. Knowing stuff like this is essential to getting good marks and gives you a deeper understanding of the texts. It also meant that I knew the kind of angle that I might usually approach the Blake texts from, because religion was what interested me the most. It can help sometimes to have favourite stories/poems/themes/quotes/ideas from what you study, as long as that doesn't exclude everything else you need to know.

Good luck with your exam preparation and revision. Hope this helps you get the mark you want!
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Chihiro95
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The list above is your checklist. However, in order to score high you need to prove to your teachers and the examiners your knowledge. This is easier done if you are dedicated to literature. Love your classes and you'll find writing that three thousand word essay isn't a chore. Try to be different. If most of your group has chosen prose for the comparative essay, choose poetry. In addition, when analysing a text, come up with two or more interpretations as it shows you have a sense of debate. Most of all, try to enjoy yourself.
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LSE1996
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(Original post by GoneSailing)
I got an A* last year for A-level, so hopefully I can help - here's some tips off the top of my head.

Know the AOs inside out and make sure you address them in every essay, or the examiner simply can't give you the marks. Get into this habit when you write practice essays, so that you can do it easily in the real exam and work harder on any of the AOs that you know you tend to be weak on.

Learn key quotes. Many of the A2 exams are closed-book and you need quotes to back up your points and develop arguments. You need to have enough at your disposal to select the ones that are actually relevant, but it's also the case that one quote used for several different essay topics, so be clever with the ones you learn. When you learn a quote as part of your revision, make sure you have thought about how you might use it or analyse it.

Make sure you know your texts - pretty self-explanatory really.

Do TIMED practice essays and get your teacher/s to mark them if possible. This helps you to work out where you're at in terms of achievement, to practice timings and to think about essay ideas. Don't leave this all until the last minute, but do it throughout the year if your teachers aren't making you already. Essay plans can be helpful as part of revision as you can test yourself a bit without taking as much time as you might otherwise.

Have good exam technique - timing, working under pressure, reading the question properly, addressing all the texts/AOs in the right way etc

Do well on your coursework if possible.
This can be the most interesting bit of the course and is a good way of getting some high marks 'stored up' early on.
Try and take an interest - if you enjoy the subject, doing well is much easier. Try also to understand some of the context of your texts if you haven't done that already. For example, we did Blake last year and one piece of work I did was a presentation on his religious beliefs, as that was particularly pertinent to the texts we were studying. Knowing stuff like this is essential to getting good marks and gives you a deeper understanding of the texts. It also meant that I knew the kind of angle that I might usually approach the Blake texts from, because religion was what interested me the most. It can help sometimes to have favourite stories/poems/themes/quotes/ideas from what you study, as long as that doesn't exclude everything else you need to know.

Good luck with your exam preparation and revision. Hope this helps you get the mark you want!

Thank you! This actually makes a lot of sense... it's just so difficult to gauge exactly what they want out of an essay...
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LSE1996
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(Original post by Chihiro95)
The list above is your checklist. However, in order to score high you need to prove to your teachers and the examiners your knowledge. This is easier done if you are dedicated to literature. Love your classes and you'll find writing that three thousand word essay isn't a chore. Try to be different. If most of your group has chosen prose for the comparative essay, choose poetry. In addition, when analysing a text, come up with two or more interpretations as it shows you have a sense of debate. Most of all, try to enjoy yourself.

Can you expand on your 'debate' point please.. I think this can be very important and differentiate my essays
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GoneSailing
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(Original post by LSE1996)
Can you expand on your 'debate' point please.. I think this can be very important and differentiate my essays
It wasn't me that said this, so I may be wrong, but it's important that you show in your answer that there are different possible points of view by maybe bringing some of those in, or assessing some weaknesses of your own argument. Obviously in an exam, space and time can be limited, but giving some sense of discussion in your answers helps a lot - if you show that you have some understanding of other viewpoints then you probably have a deeper understanding of your own.

Also, as both of us have pointed out - enjoy the subject. As far as is possible try and write something that goes beyond merely fitting the mark scheme. Aim to be the best you can be, not just for a grade on a bit of paper and you'll likely find that the grade comes too.
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LSE1996
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(Original post by GoneSailing)
It wasn't me that said this, so I may be wrong, but it's important that you show in your answer that there are different possible points of view by maybe bringing some of those in, or assessing some weaknesses of your own argument. Obviously in an exam, space and time can be limited, but giving some sense of discussion in your answers helps a lot - if you show that you have some understanding of other viewpoints then you probably have a deeper understanding of your own.

Also, as both of us have pointed out - enjoy the subject. As far as is possible try and write something that goes beyond merely fitting the mark scheme. Aim to be the best you can be, not just for a grade on a bit of paper and you'll likely find that the grade comes too.
You guys have inspired me. I really do enjoy literature and love to read so I think you've inspired me to change my approach.
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