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    Hey, I am a year 11 GCSE student and would like help with my English Literature and language. I am doing IGCSE edexcel and have been predicted a high A so hope to get an A*. Is there any advice anyone can give me in how to bump up my grade. What improvements can I make in the anthology and the language. I think that I specifically need to work on analysing the book (we're doing an inspector calls) so how can i do this? Also I didn't do as well in my end of year exams in the unseen comprehension as the question was about the structure. What would I need to look for next time? If you have any other advice or help then please tell me those as well. Thank you
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    I got an A* in both :-) I did AQA, and not iGCSE however. Main advice from me is, know your books! Well. Read them through I without analysing once. Then begin to analyse. Use spark notes, and every other resource. Other peoples ideas are amazing ways to spark your own. Be creative, when you hear a description of something to analyse really think about it. Think how the word sounds. Does it have plosives( p, b t) sounds to create a harsh effect? Liquid l's to create a fluid one, or s sounds, sibilants. And perhaps look how this affects the meaning of the sentence. Really dig deep in a word! The difference between an A and an A* is that the A* can zoom in on certain things and zoom out. So analyse something indepth and comment on the way it affects the mood of a poem or part of the book overall. For poetry, get the perfect notes! Use the web, and for your cluster get all A* notes and memorise it for your exam. Reading this level of analysis will really help your ideas start to flow. What books are you doing? If they are what I did I'd be more than willing to help out.
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    (Original post by AnkitKapoor)
    I got an A* in both :-) I did AQA, and not iGCSE however. Main advice from me is, know your books! Well. Read them through I without analysing once. Then begin to analyse. Use spark notes, and every other resource. Other peoples ideas are amazing ways to spark your own. Be creative, when you hear a description of something to analyse really think about it. Think how the word sounds. Does it have plosives( p, b t) sounds to create a harsh effect? Liquid l's to create a fluid one, or s sounds, sibilants. And perhaps look how this affects the meaning of the sentence. Really dig deep in a word! The difference between an A and an A* is that the A* can zoom in on certain things and zoom out. So analyse something indepth and comment on the way it affects the mood of a poem or part of the book overall. For poetry, get the perfect notes! Use the web, and for your cluster get all A* notes and memorise it for your exam. Reading this level of analysis will really help your ideas start to flow. What books are you doing? If they are what I did I'd be more than willing to help out.
    I am doing An Inspector Calls and To Kill a Mockingbird. And thank you for your help Do you have any advice about analysing unseen comprehension?
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    I did GCSE, not IGCSE and read Of Mice and Men & To Kill a Mockingbird + the two anthologies. Overall in GCSE English Literature I got an A*.

    My main advice is to annotate your books like mad! Think outside the box as you will only achieve the highest marks by writing about things people haven't thought up in class. Obviously it has to be relevant.

    The thing about English is that there is not distinct right or wrong answer and this is mainly the downfall of many people.

    Make loads of notes and read through help sheets your teacher gives you. Learn to develop a mindframe of seeing things not on the surface, as despite how annoying it may be, writers do not put things in by accident/no reason.

    Make sure as well your grammar and syntax is perfect as this was often my downfall during mock exams. You will get marked down if they aren't perfect despite writing an amazing piece of analysis.

    Read over your novel at least 2/3 times and be familiar will all characters and their purpose in the novel.

    Ask yourself "Why did the author choose to include this character?". Continuously ask yourself "So what?" whenever you make a point. Get into the habit of justifying yourself.

    Make mind maps of each of the characters of themes of the novel and explore it, every time pulling out quotes and making explanations for these quotes then linking them to the purpose/overall theme of the novel. Analyse language thoroughly.

    For the poetry unit look up 'Mr Bruff' on youtube. This guys helps a lot!!
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    I did IGCSE and got an A*

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    (Original post by Nerdy_girl)
    I did IGCSE and got an A*

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    Well Done! Have you got any advice?
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    (Original post by tcameron)
    I did GCSE, not IGCSE and read Of Mice and Men & To Kill a Mockingbird + the two anthologies. Overall in GCSE English Literature I got an A*.

    My main advice is to annotate your books like mad! Think outside the box as you will only achieve the highest marks by writing about things people haven't thought up in class. Obviously it has to be relevant.

    The thing about English is that there is not distinct right or wrong answer and this is mainly the downfall of many people.

    Make loads of notes and read through help sheets your teacher gives you. Learn to develop a mindframe of seeing things not on the surface, as despite how annoying it may be, writers do not put things in by accident/no reason.

    Make sure as well your grammar and syntax is perfect as this was often my downfall during mock exams. You will get marked down if they aren't perfect despite writing an amazing piece of analysis.

    Read over your novel at least 2/3 times and be familiar will all characters and their purpose in the novel.

    Ask yourself "Why did the author choose to include this character?". Continuously ask yourself "So what?" whenever you make a point. Get into the habit of justifying yourself.

    Make mind maps of each of the characters of themes of the novel and explore it, every time pulling out quotes and making explanations for these quotes then linking them to the purpose/overall theme of the novel. Analyse language thoroughly.

    For the poetry unit look up 'Mr Bruff' on youtube. This guys helps a lot!!
    Could you maybe give me an example of an A* Point, analysis and explanation paragraph or an intorduction and conclusion as I am not confident in what to put?
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    I didn't do the same texts as you but what the IGCSE exam board love is reading around the text. The more you know historical context, author context, etc...you will be fine. As long as you keep hitting the AO's there won't be a problem. Most important one is AO2 which is close analysis. The more different interpretations you include the higher your grade.
    I did The Great Gatsby as my novel. My play was (can't remember) and my anthology was so diverse i can't remember that ahaha! All i will say is that make sure you know the text's inside out and don't follow my example of never reading the text! I hated the Great Gatsby when i first started it. But it's just reading the texts over and over. Doing essay after essay. Don't let the mocks trick you into thinking you'll get a good grade. I got a C in my mocks and came out with an A* so just because you got an A keep up that hard work! Are you going to carry it on at A Level?
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    There are two issues that you raise: a literature response and interpretation. For the moment lets leave interpretation on the back burner.

    One member suggested that you need original thought on the text. That would be wonderful, but not all of us are able to do that. However there are some basics that would certainly help.
    a) Do you know the text and have you actually read it? You might think that is a given, but you would be surprised how many have either not read the text or used a notes book to acquire their knowledge. It also helps to understand that "An Inspector Calls" is a play not a book.
    b) Make notes as you read through the text. Note down interesting ideas, interesting quotes, What is happening, What you feel about particular characters, Points you are not really sure about, And in the case of this play ensure you fully understand the time line. Don't expect these notes to make a great deal of sense as you are reading and studying the play. Most important, as you note down ideas make sure you also note down the page number. Trying to find that important point later when you have no idea where it is in the text is frustration of the highest level. I have lots of support material, but to get you started here is a little diagram describing Eval Smith's Time line.
    https://www.transferbigfiles.com/1ac...IojvISstWifsQ2

    c) Having read the book and made your notes, you now need to organise your ideas. It is at this point all those jumbled notes are brought into some sort of order. At this point what you think is important - or is not important - is a personal choice you make. There are no right and wrong answers: what is important is what you think. One of the issues is responsibility. Maybe that would be a good place to start. Maybe rank the responsibilities. Also what about hypocrisy - the play is full of that. Maybe jot down the positives and negatives of each character. By that point you are ready to think about theme. What do you think Priestley is getting at through this play.

    d) For many, if not all of these points, you need to link the idea with a quote from the play and the page number.

    e) Many people get tied up with who the Inspector is etc. It is an interesting debate, but I tend to ignore such an issue. The Inspector delivers the story line especially Eva Smith's time line and confronts the characters with their responsibility. The real characters of importance are the Birling family. And although the B&W movie is excellent, remember that Eva Smith is not a character in the play. The text of the play is the thing.

    f) By the end of this process you are beginning to come to a judgement. That is what the examiners are looking for: what is it that you think about this play and why. And equally important - and some consider to be most important - how has the play affected you? What have you learnt through this play? What parts meant the most to you and why? What you are showing through this aspect is your engagement with the text you have read. And that is something all examiners want to see.

    g) And at this point, you are now ready to answer a question. But that is for another day.
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    (Original post by sunnyrays07)
    Could you maybe give me an example of an A* Point, analysis and explanation paragraph or an intorduction and conclusion as I am not confident in what to put?
    Example of 'Of Mice and Men - looking at character of Slim' Introduction A*:

    “Of Mice and Men” is a 1930’s novella written by John Steinbeck. It depicts the struggles and harsh life that different people experienced during 1930’s America. This time was a period of great depression, where struggles were almost certain for ever class and position of people. Slim, the Jerkline Skinner, is one of the minor characters in the novel, his God-like personality will be presented and analysed during this essay. With eventually gaining knowledge of who Slim is and why Steinbeck chose to include him in the novel.

    Example of 'Of Mice and Men - looking at character of Slim' Conclusion A*:


    In conclusion, Slim is an almost accurate description of a character who believes ‘The American Dream’ is a myth, which is the idea Steinbeck is exploring in the novella. Nothing anyone ever does or aspires to do will necessarily happen. Steinbeck chose to include someone like Slim into the novel because on the outside to other people he may seem like perfection. Deep down though, he is just a simple, powerless man who cannot control what is going around him. He just adjusts to it. The American Dream on the exterior is projected to be able to be acquired by all. Something that will make people’s life’s perfect. The reality to it, what Steinbeck is trying to say, is that anything and everything goes wrong at some point. The best way to deal with it merely is to accept it, and move on.

    Example of 'Comaprion of Literary Heritage Poems and Romeo & Juliet A*:

    Passion is a device writers use to create effect, and it can take many forms. Religious passion is often used when death is explored. Death makes us question our religion and religious beliefs. Ben Jonson analyses this feeling though his poem ‘On my first Sonne’. During the poem, Jonson uses many religious references to outline his grief and despair over his son’s death. The references create an image of Jonson’s relationship with God, one that isn’t so strong. Jonson quotes, “O, could I loose all father, now.” The religious reference here is Jonson talking to God, the ‘father’, and it seems as if he is blaming God for the death of his son. He’s so quick to find fault in his faith and starts questioning God. This suggests that Jonson is clouded by misery over his son’s death that his priorities are being put into question, so therefore, this states to the reader Jonson’s stilted relationship with God.


    Juliet in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ also is clouded by her affections. Due to her love for Romeo, in Act 4 Scene 1, that she threatens to kill herself in a rash decision, “And with this knife I’ll help it presently. God joined my heart and Romeo’s, thou our hands,” Juliet being rapid and drastic thinks only death is the solution to her dilemma of not being able to be with Romeo and to be forced to marry Paris. ‘God joined my heart and Romeo’s’ this indicates her fear of displeasing God by getting married to Paris; her religious upbringing makes her very conscious of God and heaven due to her attitudes and actions in life. She knows it’s a sin to be married to more than one man, which is the situation she is being forced to do. Although, Juliet completely contradicts herself in this latter section of this quote, before she professes ‘and with this knife…’ threatening to kill herself. Killing herself will put her in the afterlife in an even more predicament for suicide- hell. Shakespeare could have structured this in such a way to show Juliet’s naivety. The reader could gain knowledge from here that Juliet truly doesn’t understand the way things are anymore; this could be due to her young age, or her overpowering love for Romeo that her relationship with God has suffered.


    Juliet’s overpowering love for Romeo is voiced throughout the whole play. They truly are in love and would sacrifice anything for each other. The reader is told from the start they are “A pair of star-cross’d lovers.” Fourteenth century Verona was a time when many were certain that their destiny was determined by the stars in the sky. Romeo and Juliet, being ‘star cross’d lovers’ relationship therefore doomed from the start, as told by the Prologue, and fate is not on their side. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony, since the audience knows Juliet and Romeo are never going to be together happily, yet they are not aware of their fate. Juliet does however fight for her love for Romeo, “Or bid me go into a new-made grave and hide me with a dead man in his shroud.” Juliet here, is professing she would rather be buried in a tomb with a dead man than to marry Paris and leave her love, Romeo. The reader can see her bravery and determination shown at this time; she’s determined to fight for Romeo and will put herself through gruelling things than marry someone else that isn’t her love. She will sacrifice herself to be with him, showing her maturity and awareness of life and true love has grown ever since she’s met Romeo.

    Example of Comparison in 'Ghazal' and 'The Farmer's Bride' A*:

    Mimi Khalvati explores the theme of longing in her ten stanza Ghazal, ‘Ghazal.’ Semantic fields of nature and constant refrain help express out the central themes of the poem. Likewise, ‘The Farmer’s Bride’ by Charlotte Mew uses structure and natural imagery to explore the theme of wanting and imbalance in the relationship she presents in her poem.

    ‘Ghazal’ uses contrast to ambiguously suggest the unlikelihood of a relationship between the speaker and her lover. Juxtaposition of the ‘iron fist in the velvet glove’ is presented to suggest the contrast between the two. An ‘iron’ is a cold and hard substance, whereas a ‘velvet glove’ is a soft and gentle substance. This then implies that they do not belong together, and early on the speaker is aware of this, but continues to peruse her lover, in hope that they’ll soon be together over the progression of the poem. The juxtaposition of the ‘iron fist’ and ‘velvet glove’ does however give a suggestion of the term that ‘opposites attract’. The pair are unlikely but they still possess this nature of wanting despite their differences. This could be used by Khalvati as a representation of the different sides of love; it isn’t just a soft and sensual feeling, it is also hard and difficult. This could be used as an indication that the speaker is not naïve about what she longs for, she understands the implications and repercussions of the relationship she is longing to get into. It could further be inferred that the speaker longs to subdue her lover into wanting her as much as she wants him, the ‘fist’ inside the ‘glove’ is suggestive of the speakers pining to have him just-where-she-wants. This brings about a disturbing feel, that she speaker is not just longing to have him as her lover because she is strongly in love, she could want him because she is yearning to have someone with her.

    Likewise, in ‘The Famer’s Bride’ the unlikelihood of a successful relationship between the farmer and his wife is evident through the structure of the poem. The stanzas of various lengths represents and imbalance in the relationship, and this is represented throughout the course of the poem, with only the last stanza which is presented in a stair-way format subtly suggesting progression in the relationship, as the farmer is now accepting of the ‘poor maid’ and possibly regretful of the animalistic manner he treated her throughout. His sympathy for her is shown through, suggesting his willingness to try and build the marriage they have. This is a contrast to ‘Ghazal’ where by the final stanza there isn't presented to be any progress made in the speaker quenching her unrequited love. The refrain of ‘to me’ is repeated in the end line, this brings a sense of individuality as it is always ‘me’, emphasising her unrequited status. Despite the speakers yearning throughout the Ghazal, progress hasn't been made, indicating the speaker could be giving up.

    This is all my personal work. Read through it and please try not to copy notice the way I write and try to pick out the points, quotes, explanations and language analysis.

    - Sorry for no examples on 'To Kill a Mockingbird', it wasn't my favourite of books and I have no essays on it left saved on my computer.

    - Notice the historical content information I included during the 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Of Mice and Men'

    Sorry this is so long haha.
 
 
 
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