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The jump from GCSE to A-Level English Literature watch

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    I started year 12 in September all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed - I felt I could tackle the world after getting an A in English Lit at GCSE... Oh how wrong I could be?

    Don't get me wrong, I am really enjoying English Lit and all that comes with it, I love reading and analysing, but in every essay I've done so far I just can't seem to hit that criteria. I am really stuck in the GCSE mind set of each paragraph being point, evidence, analysis.

    All in all, I was just wondering if anyone in year 13 has any tips on how to crack the criteria and what you do to reach those top marks?
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    Find a new way to structure your essay.
    Either ask your teacher or check in the markscheme on how you should structure it.

    Also give many interpretations on what a certain quote could mean- examiners love that.
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    (Original post by HAnwar)
    Find a new way to structure your essay.
    Either ask your teacher or check in the markscheme on how you should structure it.

    Also give many interpretations on what a certain quote could mean- examiners love that.
    Yeah, I have a feeling it's all down to my structure being too apparent - in the sense that a PEA paragraph is evident. Would you have a key theme and then work around that in a paragraph, or...?

    Also, what am I including in my paragraphs? From what I can understand each paragraph / point / topic needs a point, quote, analysis of the quote with specific terminology, context and critical views?

    I have asked my teacher but she's not giving much away! I have a feeling that she's wanting us to figure out our own structures.
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    (Original post by mollylyons)
    Yeah, I have a feeling it's all down to my structure being too apparent - in the sense that a PEA paragraph is evident. Would you have a key theme and then work around that in a paragraph, or...?

    Also, what am I including in my paragraphs? From what I can understand each paragraph / point / topic needs a point, quote, analysis of the quote with specific terminology, context and critical views?

    I have asked my teacher but she's not giving much away! I have a feeling that she's wanting us to figure out our own structures.
    Firstly, what's your topic for English? You should be focusing on a particular theme this year right?

    Yeah that's pretty much what you have to do but in detail.

    She should be giving you guidance for this. The problem I had was that different teachers were telling me different ways to structure my essay, so I couldn't stick to one.
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    (Original post by HAnwar)
    Firstly, what's your topic for English? You should be focusing on a particular theme this year right?

    Yeah that's pretty much what you have to do but in detail.

    She should be giving you guidance for this. The problem I had was that different teachers were telling me different ways to structure my essay, so I couldn't stick to one.
    Our topic is World War 1 - so we're studying Birdsong as our main text and the Oxford Book of Poetry. The poetry is what my essays have been on.

    I know she should... I asked her today what I needed to do and she just said "change your structure" - I don't know what's going on. It could be the hard way of teaching us that we have to be more independent now that we're in sixth form etc, but I would say it's borderline being awkward. She also revealed today that she would not be writing any praise on our essays, only targets. If I knew what I had done well (if there was anything) I think I would feel better and more eager to get going on our next piece.
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    (Original post by mollylyons)
    Our topic is World War 1 - so we're studying Birdsong as our main text and the Oxford Book of Poetry. The poetry is what my essays have been on.

    I know she should... I asked her today what I needed to do and she just said "change your structure" - I don't know what's going on. It could be the hard way of teaching us that we have to be more independent now that we're in sixth form etc, but I would say it's borderline being awkward. She also revealed today that she would not be writing any praise on our essays, only targets. If I knew what I had done well (if there was anything) I think I would feel better and more eager to get going on our next piece.
    That's exactly what I did in year 12!
    I could send you notes and some of my old stuff I used.
    I got an average grade in the exam, retook it and got almost full marks.
    The first time I did the exam the question was weird, we had to analyse homosexual love between two guys in war, and our teacher had never covered that in class before lol
    Second time round paper was much better!

    She's so unhelpful.
    Yeah that would help you a lot.
    Just use the markscheme and specification as a guideline. Stick close to that and look at any model answers you can find in your textbook or wherever.
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    (Original post by HAnwar)
    That's exactly what I did in year 12!
    I could send you notes and some of my old stuff I used.
    I got an average grade in the exam, retook it and got almost full marks.
    The first time I did the exam the question was weird, we had to analyse homosexual love between two guys in war, and our teacher had never covered that in class before lol
    Second time round paper was much better!

    She's so unhelpful.
    Yeah that would help you a lot.
    Just use the markscheme and specification as a guideline. Stick close to that and look at any model answers you can find in your textbook or wherever.
    Birdsong is A M A Z I N G.

    That would be great - thank you! What text book did you use? We haven't been recommended any - only the novels themselves.

    And I know. I don't know what's up with her at the moment - she got me from a D to an A at GCSE and was the main reason I chose to do Lit at A2 - she's letting me down a bit to be honest!
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    (Original post by mollylyons)
    Birdsong is A M A Z I N G.

    That would be great - thank you! What text book did you use? We haven't been recommended any - only the novels themselves.

    And I know. I don't know what's up with her at the moment - she got me from a D to an A at GCSE and was the main reason I chose to do Lit at A2 - she's letting me down a bit to be honest!
    Yeah I loved that book too!

    Ah I can't remember because the teacher would only photocopy pages from it and give it to us. I'll get back to you on this.
    For Birdsong get the York notes book, it's really good.

    I guess it's all on you then.
    Make sure you're doing additional reading on WW1 novels and poetry, the more reading the better.
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    (Original post by mollylyons)
    I started year 12 in September all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed - I felt I could tackle the world after getting an A in English Lit at GCSE... Oh how wrong I could be?

    Don't get me wrong, I am really enjoying English Lit and all that comes with it, I love reading and analysing, but in every essay I've done so far I just can't seem to hit that criteria. I am really stuck in the GCSE mind set of each paragraph being point, evidence, analysis.

    All in all, I was just wondering if anyone in year 13 has any tips on how to crack the criteria and what you do to reach those top marks?
    GCSE is very focused on language analysis, analysing individual words in a phrase. For A Level, you need to be more subtle in how you express yourself. It shouldn't sound like you're trying to analyse the language, it should sound like you're trying to support your point. A level requires you to look at novels more broadly, rather than dealing with one or two quotes at a time, look for images which crop up again and again, and look how things change.

    You also need to analyse Form and Structure. Form is trickier, I reccomend you do a bit of reading on the forms of the novel's you're looking at. For Drama, an easy way to show awareness of form is dramatic terminology. Entrance, exit, dialogue, monologue, soliloquy, prop etc. Also consider staging, why are they positioned this way?

    Context can lead people astray. There is historical context, but don't forget about LITERARY CONTEXT. Look at how close or far the text is from the other texts in the period, is it typical of the era? Have a quick read of the literary contexts of your texts, then compare your texts to what you find.

    I think I did the modern literature option of your course, AQA A right? If you are, I have some advice I hope will help !

    Focus 70% of the essay on the passage, then 10% on poetry, play and prose. Work chronologically through the text, try and structure your essay so it follows the beginning ,idle and end of the passage. If you say begging, middle and end you are already doing structural analysis. I also used to tie analysis of tone into this, by saying ' the extract's tone changes towards the end' etc.

    I reccomend you write quite a few essays, aim for 2 a month for now, then maybe make it one a week after mocks. Send them to your teacher, and hopefully they'll give you very specific advise, so you know how to improve. Don't worry, it's the start of the year! I got 6/90 in my mock ( December ) and 87/90 in my exam.
 
 
 
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