orchids.ade
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I've just finished my AS english literature course and was hoping that someone could give any advice on how to achieve a good grade in English literature A2?
Or maybe what you'd have done differently in hindsight, as i'm feeling a little anxious about the coming year as I hope to study English at university. I've just completed LITA1B AQA Spec A (which seems to be quite an unpopular choice) and will begin LITA3 on Monday which has the title 'Love through the ages'.
The main things i'd like advice on are,
how big of a step up from AS is it? (I know they'll be a lot more reading involved this year )
What sorts of things did you/are you doing to improve and keep up with the subject?
and just any general advice at all, maybe even anything you used alongside your a level that helped considerably? (Like memberships, books ect.)
thankyou!
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The Empire Odyssey
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It is a HUGE step up, like massively! Also the texts are harder for coursework as you're not reading things that were written in one period such as Victorian Lit and WW1, so you have to look for similarities/differences between texts that were written at various stages which means the social, historical and political contexts of the texts will be varied. For coursework you will be introduced to literary criticism which isn't fun.. However, it's quite alright unless you use the traditional ones from 18th century! (But this depends on what texts you study).

I had to improve my essay skills for the exam and also, remembering quotes. I would honestly do this over your 6 weeks. My teacher told us this... I never listened because I couldn't be bothered to work in my summer holiday. But I would defo get your quotes for the exam as soon as possible because in the Nov-March stage it gets hard trying to read novels/plays/poetry when you are in the stages of preparing for your summer exams in your other subjects.

I wouldn't recommend any books for revision or writing technique as most will be for Undergraduate level and there are written in a dense, complicated matter - used specifically for undergrads. One thing that you should do if you wish to improve on your writing technique is practise, practise, practise!! I did a practice paper before my exam the day before and it helped so much... I only wish I could have been bothered to do it earlier on!
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gheorghew
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Was about to give a load of tips hahah bit then I realised that you did Literature A, I did Literature B haha :') but the poster above's advice looks sound and detailed, generally with AQA the skills you need for A2 are usually extensions of the ones you learn at AS.

For example, in AS for LITB, the year was focused on narrative devices and aspects of constructing a text, and then in A2 the exam was focused even further with how writers use these methods not just to create narratives but to create narratives of a specific genre (in my case the Gothic genre), so although that isn't directly applicable to your case, my advice would be to remember that A2 is the next step from AS, so don't throw out all your notes from the first year because you might end up needing them at some point!

Hope that helps, if not ignore it hahah
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orchids.ade
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(Original post by Cool_JordH)
It is a HUGE step up, like massively! Also the texts are harder for coursework as you're not reading things that were written in one period such as Victorian Lit and WW1, so you have to look for similarities/differences between texts that were written at various stages which means the social, historical and political contexts of the texts will be varied. For coursework you will be introduced to literary criticism which isn't fun.. However, it's quite alright unless you use the traditional ones from 18th century! (But this depends on what texts you study).

I had to improve my essay skills for the exam and also, remembering quotes. I would honestly do this over your 6 weeks. My teacher told us this... I never listened because I couldn't be bothered to work in my summer holiday. But I would defo get your quotes for the exam as soon as possible because in the Nov-March stage it gets hard trying to read novels/plays/poetry when you are in the stages of preparing for your summer exams in your other subjects.

I wouldn't recommend any books for revision or writing technique as most will be for Undergraduate level and there are written in a dense, complicated matter - used specifically for undergrads. One thing that you should do if you wish to improve on your writing technique is practise, practise, practise!! I did a practice paper before my exam the day before and it helped so much... I only wish I could have been bothered to do it earlier on!
Is criticism and outside opinions more import at A2? I think we touched upon it a little at AS with our coursework. I've read two of the books we'll be studying next/this year, do you think it would be a good idea to start getting notes from critics soon?

I think me working in the summer holidays is going to be a given anyway, do you suggest grouping quotes as early as then or just having a decent amount?

Thank-you for your response! Put my mind at rest. I think strong links was my struggle at AS level as the content was good, but I struggled with them so I think this year i'm going to have to know the texts inside out, which is good because I prefer older/classical literature more

(Original post by gheorghew)
Was about to give a load of tips hahah bit then I realised that you did Literature A, I did Literature B haha :') but the poster above's advice looks sound and detailed, generally with AQA the skills you need for A2 are usually extensions of the ones you learn at AS.

For example, in AS for LITB, the year was focused on narrative devices and aspects of constructing a text, and then in A2 the exam was focused even further with how writers use these methods not just to create narratives but to create narratives of a specific genre (in my case the Gothic genre), so although that isn't directly applicable to your case, my advice would be to remember that A2 is the next step from AS, so don't throw out all your notes from the first year because you might end up needing them at some point!

Hope that helps, if not ignore it hahah
Thank-you for responding! I am sure the advice is pretty interchangeable if it is in a general sense.
I think in terms of content the years will be different, but I need to brush up a little bit with the more technical side of literature which is why I've just bought a literary dictionary which will - hopefully - come in use this year. And yes, I wanted to make sure I had a heads up before I properly started because I always panic that I'm not quite doing as well as I should be, but I didn't struggle with the step-up from GCSE and I know my luck will probably run out this year with how difficult it will most likely be.

How was English literature for both of you by the way? Did you enjoy it?
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by s-hardayjade)
Is criticism and outside opinions more import at A2? I think we touched upon it a little at AS with our coursework. I've read two of the books we'll be studying next/this year, do you think it would be a good idea to start getting notes from critics soon?

I think me working in the summer holidays is going to be a given anyway, do you suggest grouping quotes as early as then or just having a decent amount?

How was English literature for both of you by the way? Did you enjoy it?
Criticism is more important in A2 because you get credited for it, and you NEED literary criticism in your coursework anyway, it's part of the coursework requirement. What two books have you read? No, don't get critics now because you need to know your EXACT focus on your coursework. For example, from the start I wanted to do morality, but I needed more focus such as how consequences of morality is done etc. Once I knew my title was something surrounding "explore corruption of morality and it's consequences" I then found criticisms for corruption, morality and how it plays a consequence to the characters downfall. Then got the Norton Critical edition to Dorian Gray and actually found a really good quote from Wilde: ‘I am quite incapable of understanding how any work of art can be criticised from a moral standpoint’. This was beauty! So perhaps get texts that have introductions and notes and stuff. It was £7-8 just for the text but came in handy!

Well, I would just read widely for pleasure. If you like classical literature try Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, The Rover, Volpone, the list goes on! Get quotes that explore love in every shape or form; married, unrequited, illicit, homosexual love, etc. Oh, a weird one that came up in the paper I just did in Q2 was "explore how proposals are presented in these two extracts"... It was such an odd question because they always ask you something like "explore strong emotions" or "explore how separation", so perhaps look at proposals. What came up was Dancing at Lughnasa and Our Mutual Friend (I think) but P&P, Ruth by Gaskell, a lot of Vic/Regency Era texts are good for proposals.
Depends what you fancy, I quite like exploring homosexual and illicit (forbidden) love so I read Lolita (pedophilia), so you must have a strong mind for that, Maurice (gay), The Well of Loneliness (lesbian), etc. So find themes you like to read about first. Read a lot of dramas and poetry too! However don't go overboard with Wider Reading, as it's only worth 30% of marks, whilst the 70% is with comparing extracts in the exam.

I found it hard, not the hardest out of my A-levels but yeah. The texts I really didn't enjoy for WR exam in class or coursework (we did WH, Enduring Love and Othello). I liked Othello but hated EL and WH. So I swapped WH for Dorian Gray, I cba with reading another prose at short time. Funnily enough, I loved AS English Lang, hated AS Lit. But I hated(still hate) A2 English Lang, and love A2 Lit, so much I've applied for English Lit and Classics at uni. Hopefully you will maintain your passion, but don't be surprised if it goes (A-level does that to a lot, if not all students).

(sorry for long post) feel free to ask anymore questions
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orchids.ade
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(Original post by Cool_JordH)
Criticism is more important in A2 because you get credited for it, and you NEED literary criticism in your coursework anyway, it's part of the coursework requirement. What two books have you read? No, don't get critics now because you need to know your EXACT focus on your coursework. For example, from the start I wanted to do morality, but I needed more focus such as how consequences of morality is done etc. Once I knew my title was something surrounding "explore corruption of morality and it's consequences" I then found criticisms for corruption, morality and how it plays a consequence to the characters downfall. Then got the Norton Critical edition to Dorian Gray and actually found a really good quote from Wilde: ‘I am quite incapable of understanding how any work of art can be criticised from a moral standpoint’. This was beauty! So perhaps get texts that have introductions and notes and stuff. It was £7-8 just for the text but came in handy!

Well, I would just read widely for pleasure. If you like classical literature try Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, The Rover, Volpone, the list goes on! Get quotes that explore love in every shape or form; married, unrequited, illicit, homosexual love, etc. Oh, a weird one that came up in the paper I just did in Q2 was "explore how proposals are presented in these two extracts"... It was such an odd question because they always ask you something like "explore strong emotions" or "explore how separation", so perhaps look at proposals. What came up was Dancing at Lughnasa and Our Mutual Friend (I think) but P&P, Ruth by Gaskell, a lot of Vic/Regency Era texts are good for proposals.
Depends what you fancy, I quite like exploring homosexual and illicit (forbidden) love so I read Lolita (pedophilia), so you must have a strong mind for that, Maurice (gay), The Well of Loneliness (lesbian), etc. So find themes you like to read about first. Read a lot of dramas and poetry too! However don't go overboard with Wider Reading, as it's only worth 30% of marks, whilst the 70% is with comparing extracts in the exam.

I found it hard, not the hardest out of my A-levels but yeah. The texts I really didn't enjoy for WR exam in class or coursework (we did WH, Enduring Love and Othello). I liked Othello but hated EL and WH. So I swapped WH for Dorian Gray, I cba with reading another prose at short time. Funnily enough, I loved AS English Lang, hated AS Lit. But I hated(still hate) A2 English Lang, and love A2 Lit, so much I've applied for English Lit and Classics at uni. Hopefully you will maintain your passion, but don't be surprised if it goes (A-level does that to a lot, if not all students).

(sorry for long post) feel free to ask anymore questions

Haha it's fine! The more information I have, the better!
Well i've read Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice this week, and now i'm going to read a little Shakespeare as we only read Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing at GCSE.
Thank you for the tip! I'll ask my teacher tomorrow what texts we'll be studying and try and do a little research in the holidays. Yes I was going to say Pride and Prejudice would perhaps be a good one to talk about as there seems to be no end to proposals towards the end.
So it is similar to AS then in terms of the weighting of unseen questions?
I like the sound of studying different types of love that are stereotypical and did I have actually tried reading Lolita before but I was a little younger then and perhaps didn't appreciate it as much as I would do now.
I find English Literature such a strange subject, at GCSE I had straight A*'s and all my life have been very good at English but I think at the start of the year I used that as a rest to not do so much work and was getting B's which was quite a hard thing to come to terms with, but it's always been the subject that I have wanted to study at university. I've only just really started to read in my spare time, though, and I think I'll be at a slight disadvantage to others wishing to study it right now.
That's awesome! I hope you don't mind me asking but what grade do you hope to get in English? And what university are you planning to study at? Right now my dream would be Durham but I know how competitive the course is so my acceptance is highly unlikely!

I only have one final question, can you recommend any poetry books/anthologies and plays to me? I've been reading widely in terms of books, but I really want to branch out a bit more and don't really know where to start haha
Thank you so much! You have been a great help to me!!
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by s-hardayjade)
So it is similar to AS then in terms of the weighting of unseen questions?
I find English Literature such a strange subject, at GCSE I had straight A*'s and all my life have been very good at English but I think at the start of the year I used that as a rest to not do so much work and was getting B's which was quite a hard thing to come to terms with, but it's always been the subject that I have wanted to study at university. I've only just really started to read in my spare time, though, and I think I'll be at a slight disadvantage to others wishing to study it right now.
That's awesome! I hope you don't mind me asking but what grade do you hope to get in English? And what university are you planning to study at? Right now my dream would be Durham but I know how competitive the course is so my acceptance is highly unlikely!

I only have one final question, can you recommend any poetry books/anthologies and plays to me? I've been reading widely in terms of books, but I really want to branch out a bit more and don't really know where to start haha
Thank you so much! You have been a great help to me!!
I'm not sure about AS and we didn't get told about the weightings until A2 so I'm not sure how the weightings work at AS.
Well a lot of A*-A grade students think like that. They think it will be a breeze because they have an A next to their subject at GCSE. A-levels are not like that. A* at GCSE isn't equivalent to a grade B at A-level and neither is B at GCSE a grade D at A-level, etc. If you work hard, you'll get the grade at A-level, that's all there is. I never did Lit at GCSE, but I managed to do alright at hoping for a B but due to personal circumstances, I will likely get a C. Also could get an A in Lang, but again most likely I shall get a B due to personal circumstances. However, I have never used this as an excuse. I still work hard and I know that I did because English is the subject I fell in love with at the end of Year 11. I applied to Swansea. I was was predicted ABB but again, unforeseen circumstances happened in October, so teachers thought it best to drop them down as it would lead to unnecessary pressure and stress on me when I didn't need it. I'm happy with my decision. Even if I was predicted ABB or higher, I would have still applied to Swansea as other unis that do English and Classics don't have the option to study Language/Linguistics and that's so unfortunate. Also Classics in RG unis seem to be more about just reading Classical texts and not actually looking into how they lives by using art, architecture, politics and etc which is all Swansea offers plus literature too.
In terms of uni choices, just make sure you like the course and the uni itself, not because of league tables. However, I've noticed that RG unis are more traditional in terms of texts - to me they don't seem varied which would make Lit boring and modern lit is just as important as classical literature.

Erm, Penguins Poem's for Love (2010 ed) is really good! I think there's like 16 sections of different types of love such as; madness, separation, the morning after (this one came up in Q1 and with two poems from this anthology)! Plays, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia is really good, anything from Tennessee Williams; Streetcar, A Woman of No Importance, Cloud 9, Volpone, Oedipus Rex (both former and latter deal with incest), Equus is really good, All My Sons and A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller and anything from Shakespeare. But I think read one Shakey play and another from Elizabethan era or Jacobean era just to get a different interpretation on how was perceived during the time (A04 you need at A2 so badly in the exam). Also try looking at Romantic Poetry (Wordsworth, Coleridge) and Metaphysical Poems!!
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