Alevel English literature helpWatch
Hello, I was wondering what English lit lessons are like such as the content, atmosphere, style of teaching and homework type and difficulty. If you've done AS/A2 English literature I'd be very thankful for the advice
I love English so much. It, like all subjects, gets harder at A Level, but it is really worthwhile.
Content: Well, it depends on your exam board. I did AQA B. We studied two plays, a novel and the poetry anthology. You have to be able to weave quotations into your work, instead of using the rather rigid "Point Evidence Explain" (but you learn this on the course). You also look at some critical approaches to the work (respected critics, Marxist, feminist). Next year (y13) there will be coursework.
Atmosphere: Great, as we all discuss our ideas and do a lot of group work, so there is a great feel to the lessons. However, when the teacher stands at the front and talks too much, we zone out a bit.
Style of teaching: Depends. I have two teachers, and one is great and one isn't. The great one gets us doing interactive group activities and discussions, and the other one talks for a while (partly about what we're learning and partly about her cat or something) and then gives us some discussion points and about three minutes to dicuss them.
Homework type: Research homework (context etc., as context is important at A Level), essays of course, reading and some wider reading.
Difficulty: If you hit all the AOs, you can get an okay mark. To be honest, the difficulty depends a lot on your teacher. It can be pretty hard but, if you are willing to work, you can improve masses. And it is really worth it.
Overall, amazing - but be prepared to bury yourself away for hours with York notes if your teacher isn't great and learn quite a lot of quotes.
Any other questions just ask.
Homework: Our class didn't get much homework - some of my other subjects (Law and History) were much harsher. Our main homework was to read/analyse new poems and chapters of books, and we didn't get that many essays. That being said, we did have quite a few tests and timed essays in class, though, so we had to revise for those. One thing I would recommend is taking lots of notes in lessons and revising them at a later date.
Atmosphere/Teaching: Our classes were relaxed with a good teacher, and there were a lot of group discussions. For me this was a nice break from my other subjects (again, glaring at Law and History) as it's more relaxed and less pressured than them. But our teacher also talked and talked a lot from the front, which not everyone could learn from. So this depends on the teacher and how they structure the lesson. Some of my friends had bad teachers that didn't explain things well enough or know how to structure the lessons (though its a new syllabus/A level so it's new content) but my lessons were fine.
Content: Our first book was "A Streetcar Named Desire" which (in my opinion) is really nice to read, and has a lot of symbolism and interesting themes. Some of the characters are also fascinating to try to analyse and examine, but the book's also really short, which helps The other 2 books can vary. Your teachers will pick 2 to compare out of the texts Edexcel give you. Ours picked "The Handmaids' Tale" and "The War of The Worlds". However, a lot of other schools picked "Frankenstein" instead of "The War of The Worlds". Having read all of them, if you don't have to sit through "The War of the Worlds" you should be good - the other 2 books are really interesting.
The downside, in my opinion, is poetry. We had to study 28 poems but were given 2 in the exam. Out of the 2 poems, we had to pick 1 poem and then write an essay comparing it with another poem of our choosing. One especially long and confusing poem came up on our AS exam, which wasn't fun... But other poems are interesting and easy to understand.
Difficulty: Personally, this was the easiest out of my A levels - but this subject will take some work, and a lot of this depends on who your teacher is. They'll obviously set the homework and lesson structure and decide what books to compare, but they could also have different interpretations of the books and how to write a good essay. Most of the books are easy, but some of the poems can be very difficult. Even so, there's more notes and info out there for your year from other students, which always helps
EDIT: Now I've also got my AS exam back - some more advice: also keep an eye on your essay technique and don't just revise content - look up how the examiners want you to structure your answers, and do practice papers/sample papers as well