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hi i was wondering if anyone did/is doing the following a levels and were able to give me any advice/opinions on how they found them please?
psychology
sociology
english lit
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tea.michelle
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Helloo, I studied English literature and I (in retrospect) love it! I didn't enjoy it at GCSE all that much but I liked reading and analysing so I thought I'd give it a go. What I liked about it was that it felt a lot more "grown up" at A level (as they all do) and it's more independent. I wasn't a fan of all works I had to study but I came to find them not quite so bad after analysing them!

Retrospectively, I loved working on my coursework! It felt like hell at the time and I hit a brick wall several times but I was really proud of what I wrote. For coursework, we read two novels and compared a common theme in the two novels (e.g. journeys, rebellion, etc.). I didn't get a choice of which novels as they were chosen by my college but some colleges to allow you to choose. We read both novels as a class every lesson and made notes on the text throughout. I didn't initially like the novels at all but eventually came to appreciate them because the more I analysed, the more thoughtfully written they seemed. I really liked writing my coursework because you have all your notes with you, months to write and several redrafts to improve. It really felt like I was improving my writing and I was producing something I was really proud of!

The thing with English literature that I found hard was the exams. Your exam format and content will depend on your exam board. My drama paper was closed book and was on three plays: King Lear, The Duchess of Malfi and A Streetcar Named Desire. It consisted of an extract analysis on Lear, an essay question on Lear then another essay question comparing Duchess and Streetcar. Trying to remember quotes from all of them was a nightmare. You have to start early these things but I just didn't until it was too late so that paper did not go well. My poetry paper was open book and consisted of an extract analysis on Chaucer, an essay question of Chaucer, then I had to compare two poems by Larkin with two poems by Duffy. It's an awful lot to do in 2 hours so I struggled a lot and did really badly. We also had an unseen paper which consisted of a large unseen extract followed by an essay question on it and then we had to do an analysis of an unseen poem. This was my favourite paper--it's the easiest to prepare for because you kind of just don't..? I love analysing and hate memorising quotes so this paper was an absolute dream! Sometime unseen papers can be daunting but as long as you know what to look out for, you'll be fine. I found analysing at A level much more "zoomed in" than at GCSE in the sense that you really have to look at each word or line carefully to look for the sound and rhythm they make or how they juxtapose with other words/lines rather than just looking at metaphors or similes like you would at GCSE.

You definitely have to prepare an awful lot for English lit exams. My advice to you would be to try to do essay plans on different themes/characters/poems whenever you can--practice essays are even better! Make sure you know what to look out for when analysing and know their effect--dramatic devices, meter, plosives, fricatives, sibilance, poetic devices and the such. If you have closed book exams, it's never too early to start remembering quotes especially since it's likely that you'll have to remember quotes from several works.

I didn't do well in two exams but did well in the last and did very well in my coursework so it all levelled out to an A! You don't have to be great at memorising, just be great at analysing and you'll be set! All in all, I really enjoyed the A level!

(...Or it may just be the rose tinted glasses )

(p.s. sorry for the mega answer!)
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(Original post by tea.michelle)
Helloo, I studied English literature and I (in retrospect) love it! I didn't enjoy it at GCSE all that much but I liked reading and analysing so I thought I'd give it a go. What I liked about it was that it felt a lot more "grown up" at A level (as they all do) and it's more independent. I wasn't a fan of all works I had to study but I came to find them not quite so bad after analysing them!

Retrospectively, I loved working on my coursework! It felt like hell at the time and I hit a brick wall several times but I was really proud of what I wrote. For coursework, we read two novels and compared a common theme in the two novels (e.g. journeys, rebellion, etc.). I didn't get a choice of which novels as they were chosen by my college but some colleges to allow you to choose. We read both novels as a class every lesson and made notes on the text throughout. I didn't initially like the novels at all but eventually came to appreciate them because the more I analysed, the more thoughtfully written they seemed. I really liked writing my coursework because you have all your notes with you, months to write and several redrafts to improve. It really felt like I was improving my writing and I was producing something I was really proud of!

The thing with English literature that I found hard was the exams. Your exam format and content will depend on your exam board. My drama paper was closed book and was on three plays: King Lear, The Duchess of Malfi and A Streetcar Named Desire. It consisted of an extract analysis on Lear, an essay question on Lear then another essay question comparing Duchess and Streetcar. Trying to remember quotes from all of them was a nightmare. You have to start early these things but I just didn't until it was too late so that paper did not go well. My poetry paper was open book and consisted of an extract analysis on Chaucer, an essay question of Chaucer, then I had to compare two poems by Larkin with two poems by Duffy. It's an awful lot to do in 2 hours so I struggled a lot and did really badly. We also had an unseen paper which consisted of a large unseen extract followed by an essay question on it and then we had to do an analysis of an unseen poem. This was my favourite paper--it's the easiest to prepare for because you kind of just don't..? I love analysing and hate memorising quotes so this paper was an absolute dream! Sometime unseen papers can be daunting but as long as you know what to look out for, you'll be fine. I found analysing at A level much more "zoomed in" than at GCSE in the sense that you really have to look at each word or line carefully to look for the sound and rhythm they make or how they juxtapose with other words/lines rather than just looking at metaphors or similes like you would at GCSE.

You definitely have to prepare an awful lot for English lit exams. My advice to you would be to try to do essay plans on different themes/characters/poems whenever you can--practice essays are even better! Make sure you know what to look out for when analysing and know their effect--dramatic devices, meter, plosives, fricatives, sibilance, poetic devices and the such. If you have closed book exams, it's never too early to start remembering quotes especially since it's likely that you'll have to remember quotes from several works.

I didn't do well in two exams but did well in the last and did very well in my coursework so it all levelled out to an A! You don't have to be great at memorising, just be great at analysing and you'll be set! All in all, I really enjoyed the A level!

(...Or it may just be the rose tinted glasses )

(p.s. sorry for the mega answer!)
thank you, i really appreciate your answer! i was wondering how you organised your revison/classwork? also what other subjects did you take alongside english lit?
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tea.michelle
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(Original post by hhhum)
thank you, i really appreciate your answer! i was wondering how you organised your revison/classwork? also what other subjects did you take alongside english lit?
No worries! I had a lot of notes that I wrote in class and a lot of really thick handouts so I kept them all inside ringbinders--one for each text unless I had to compare two of them in which case I'd keep the work for both of them together in one--so I ended up with about 6 of them..? Aside from English lit, I also took maths and physics
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