How to Revise for A Level English Literature

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Hi! I'm going to be a Year 12 student in September and I'm curious to know people's best or recommended ways to revise for the English Literature exams, i.e. methods, whether to revise throughout the two years or nearer to the exam. Thanks!


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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by iE2000)
Hi! I'm going to be a Year 12 student in September and I'm curious to know people's best or recommended ways to revise for the English Literature exams, i.e. methods, whether to revise throughout the two years or nearer to the exam. Thanks!


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There's no universal way of being "successful" at revising for literature, or arguably, for any subjects really.

You should really try and figure out what works for you. For example, no matter the subject or topic, mindmaps just do not work for me at all. I wish it did, but it doesn't because I have a short-term memory.

For me, I have to read something, write it down and look at how accurate I was from the original text. I keep doing this until I know it word for word. That's how I revise. Sort like "look, cover, spell, check" thing. It works for me, but not might not work for you. I did this for lit when remembering quotes. But usually i just read and reread quotes over and over again cause it's short so i can remember it that way. When it's big contents i do the above method.

I think defo practise your exam technique. I don't regret not doing this, but it would of helped me cause it wasn't until the exam I sat there saying "I have everything, the quotes and everything" but i just didn't know how to write my ideas. So maybe practise doing the planning stage during your 15 minutes prep stage in the exam.

Try and get short quotes that explain a lot. Don't try to remember longer quotes cause it might not fit your whole sentence if it's too long. It's always better to quote sentences that's usually 5-8 words long. Anything over 12 words is far too long for exams.

Throughout the two years, make sure you read your texts and get quotes as soon as you read them. Don't try to go over the and reread the texts nearer the exams. For instance, you should at least read two of your texts now which would prepare you for Sept. And over your breaks reread the texts. That way when it comes to Jan of the last year, you won't be scrambling to reread the texts cause half of your 2nd year will be all coursework. Then from Jan it's usually revision and you won't have time to try and reread 6 texts. So reread them throughout the 2 years.

Do you know what texts you'll be studying?
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(Original post by The Empire Odyssey)
There's no universal way of being "successful" at revising for literature, or arguably, for any subjects really.

You should really try and figure out what works for you. For example, no matter the subject or topic, mindmaps just do not work for me at all. I wish it did, but it doesn't because I have a short-term memory.

For me, I have to read something, write it down and look at how accurate I was from the original text. I keep doing this until I know it word for word. That's how I revise. Sort like "look, cover, spell, check" thing. It works for me, but not might not work for you. I did this for lit when remembering quotes. But usually i just read and reread quotes over and over again cause it's short so i can remember it that way. When it's big contents i do the above method.

I think defo practise your exam technique. I don't regret not doing this, but it would of helped me cause it wasn't until the exam I sat there saying "I have everything, the quotes and everything" but i just didn't know how to write my ideas. So maybe practise doing the planning stage during your 15 minutes prep stage in the exam.

Try and get short quotes that explain a lot. Don't try to remember longer quotes cause it might not fit your whole sentence if it's too long. It's always better to quote sentences that's usually 5-8 words long. Anything over 12 words is far too long for exams.

Throughout the two years, make sure you read your texts and get quotes as soon as you read them. Don't try to go over the and reread the texts nearer the exams. For instance, you should at least read two of your texts now which would prepare you for Sept. And over your breaks reread the texts. That way when it comes to Jan of the last year, you won't be scrambling to reread the texts cause half of your 2nd year will be all coursework. Then from Jan it's usually revision and you won't have time to try and reread 6 texts. So reread them throughout the 2 years.

Do you know what texts you'll be studying?
Hi, thanks so much for the informative reply! I'm so grateful.

I know of one text I'll be reading ('Emma' by Jane Austen?). I never thought to ask for a comprehensive list.


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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by iE2000)
Hi, thanks so much for the informative reply! I'm so grateful.

I know of one text I'll be reading ('Emma' by Jane Austen?). I never thought to ask for a comprehensive list.


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Oh gosh, not Jane Austen. You poor thing.

I'm not familiar with Emma being on OCR, Edexcel. You're probably doing AQA B, which in that case, good luck hunny! :flutter:
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(Original post by The Empire Odyssey)
Oh gosh, not Jane Austen. You poor thing.

I'm not familiar with Emma being on OCR, Edexcel. You're probably doing AQA B, which in that case, good luck hunny! :flutter:
What's so bad about Jane Austen? :3 I just remembered, a play we're studying is 'Hamlet'. I don't know any more lol


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(Original post by iE2000)
What's so bad about Jane Austen? :3 I just remembered, a play we're studying is 'Hamlet'. I don't know any more lol


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I tried to read Pride and Prejudice and I just failed - twice! I also had an unseen prose text during my A2 exam which ****ed up my exam. So I will eternally hate her until my dying day!

Oh right, Hamlet is one of Shakespeare's longest plays. Good luck with that!

PS: Emma isn't an option for any of the exam boards AQA, Edexcel, OCR, Eduqas. Are you Welsh (maybe you'e doing WJEC?) If not, then you are doing either CCEA or CIE. In either case that's a tough break!
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(Original post by The Empire Odyssey)
I tried to read Pride and Prejudice and I just failed - twice! I also had an unseen prose text during my A2 exam which ****ed up my exam. So I will eternally hate her until my dying day!

Oh right, Hamlet is one of Shakespeare's longest plays. Good luck with that!

PS: Emma isn't an option for any of the exam boards AQA, Edexcel, OCR, Eduqas. Are you Welsh (maybe you'e doing WJEC?) If not, then you are doing either CCEA or CIE. In either case that's a tough break!
Wow, you're super knowledgeable about this stuff. Cooooooool. I'm taking CIE. It's actually a Pre U, but meh it's equivalent to A Level, and most would go, "What's that?", hence why I'm not being technically correct

Also, in what way would it be tough specifically? In terms of workload or how interesting the texts are or what exactly?


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(Original post by iE2000)
Wow, you're super knowledgeable about this stuff. Cooooooool. I'm taking CIE. It's actually a Pre U, but meh it's equivalent to A Level, and most would go, "What's that?", hence why I'm not being technically correct

Also, in what way would it be tough specifically? In terms of workload or how interesting the texts are or what exactly?


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There's scarce resources online for CIE and the spec is very hard to write for and mark too. It's not a popular board to go with.

There's a lot of "toughness" to studying it; Literature A-level (or the equivalent) is hard as a lot find the step up from GCSE very overwhelming and of course it makes it so much more difficult if you really detest any book. I like my AS books pretty much all of it apart from Black Adder Goes Forth. And I hated all A2 texts apart from 2 plays we did.

So I say be prepared!
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TeddyBear86
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How about starting revision from February onwards and that way your brain will remember more information as its been consolidated into long term memory.

I also find of it helps to clearly label all of your notes with the week and date, so when it comes to revision you have a clear guide to entire two years.


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(Original post by TeddyBear86)
How about starting revision from February onwards and that way your brain will remember more information as its been consolidated into long term memory.

I also find of it helps to clearly label all of your notes with the week and date, so when it comes to revision you have a clear guide to entire two years.


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Thank you! Is there any reason in particular why you recommend starting from February?
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