xoxolucinda
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I'm currently doing English Language and English Literature, but for the past year we've been focusing on English Language. I've completed all assessments and currently have 60% A* in my back pocket, and I feel confident for the paper that I'm sitting in officially 2 weeks times, HOWEVER, my main concern is English Lit.
As I said, we haven't done anything on English Lit since year 10 (we've had 6 teachers in the past 3 years so we didn't cover much) and even then we did the complete opposite topics on which we're doing for our exam. My Unit 1 exam (Of Mice and Men and An Inspector Calls) is in 4 weeks, and my Unit 2 exam (Poetry) is in 4 and a half weeks. My teacher just keeps telling me not to worry when I express my concerns that I'm not going to do very well because I'm not the best essay writer and I don't know what I'm meant to do to get at least an A, and although I trust him, I'm still really worried.

Basically, my question is, does anyone have any good useful tips on how to structure essays, how to get the top marks and how to revise effectively?
Please, and thank you!
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Alex2599
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Hey xoxolucinda,
I find when I'm doing essays that re-reading the texts I'm studying really helps substantially. When I revise, I work on a schedule, so that I know everything I want to cover and achieve in a day, and to ensure I do a good 6 or 7 hours sometimes.
I have only done my controlled assessment for English lit currently, in which I achieved an A*, 40/40, however I am currently achieving A-A*s in my mock and practise essays.

When I'm doing practise poetry essays, my teacher always encourages me to start my paragraphs with "Both poems..." as this shows the examiner straight away that you are going to compare, which is where a lot of the marks obviously come from. I also find in the poetry exams that writing only about 3 points is the best way to achieve full marks, and spending the rest of the time completely analysing and comparing. I allocate whole separate paragraphs to comparing, and compare very small things, such as single words, and always make a structural point, however small. The best preparation I think you can do for your poetry exam is to know your poems inside out and plan or do lots of practise questions. Maybe give them to your teacher to mark for you? I'm assuming the type of questions you do start with "Compare the ways/methods/techniques..etc. the poet..."??

I am not actually studying 'Of Mice and Men', I'm studying 'To Kill A Mockingbird', but I would advise sites such as GCSEPod and 'sparknotes' that can tell you about so many things that you never realised where of such significant to the themes and messages of the book. They also offer a lot of cool stuff on the characters, even the lesser ones, and I find it really helps to gain a good knowledge of the book. I also researched the setting and time period to find out more about context etc.
For 'An Inspector Calls', I personally find that this is a matter of practising the questions over and over again, so that when you go into the exam, there's nothing really new, just a slightly varied question, to which format you are accustomed to achieving your desired grade. As this is a short book, I also went through the full thing highlighting and annotating anything I could, and it really makes you feel like you know the book better, and you can analyse almost anything that comes up.
Anyway, I hope this helped, and good luck for your exam!!!!
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