need help studying english literature #ibeng_langlit

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leelydia04
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Hi
I'm in year 12 studying IB English A: language and literature SL (if you're not doing the IB don't runaway I need general English revision help!)
I'm currently studying the novel Fahrenheit 451 and looking for some useful resources or study tips for the literature exam(essay).
Please let me know any advice you have on English revision, this is my weakest subject and I really need help!!
thank you
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Lzq3R
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(Original post by leelydia04)
Hi
I'm in year 12 studying IB English A: language and literature SL (if you're not doing the IB don't runaway I need general English revision help!)
I'm currently studying the novel Fahrenheit 451 and looking for some useful resources or study tips for the literature exam(essay).
Please let me know any advice you have on English revision, this is my weakest subject and I really need help!!
thank you
Hi, English Pre-U (effectively a level) student here. I don’t do IB so I don’t know how helpful I can be, but in the absence of any other replies I’ll do what I can.

1. Exam Technique!!
You’ve probably heard this one a million times & it’s not just specific to English, but it is so important. It is undoubtedly the quickest way to improve your mark in pretty much any subject. Get to know the mark scheme; do you need to include critical quotations, what should the balance between linguistical and structural analysis be; do you get credit for contextual knowledge, extra reading etc.?

If you have access to any, read as many model answers as you can, or just look at essays that got good marks even if they aren’t perfect. I’m sure if your teacher hasn’t given you any you’ll be able to find some online, although do check they’re from a reputable source. Learn what the examiner is looking for because it makes it so much easier.


2. Read, read, read!
Not quite as exam specific, but read as much as you possibly can, be it fiction or non-fiction. I don’t know if the same is true for IB, but I know that I can get a reasonable amount of credit for mentioning relevant extracurricular reading. Eg. Something else by the author, a book from the same literary movement, a book that inspired it etc.

Also, even if you don’t mention it in the exam, reading is so important. The more books you read, the more you notice things about how they’re put together & the better your analysis. English is basically 70% reading from my experience.

I would also recommend reading non-fiction critical articles. I don’t know if you have access to Jstor, but it is possibly the greatest thing to exist. Literary criticism are so helpful though. They can develop your understanding of the ideas in the book, challenge your interpretation of scenes & quotes, and most of all they’re generally well-written. In other words, brilliant examples of essays, even if they’re not targeted to the mark scheme. I have read books & entirely changed my view on them after a few particularly genius articles.


3. Learn quotes. But not just the classic ones everyone uses, learn some original quotes. If there’s a paragraph you really like, or a line that entertains you, learn it. A unique comment on the book comes across well. And if you like a section of something then there’s probably a reason why, be that the descriptions, the way it sounds, the imagery, the characterisation, and if you can put your finger on why, then that’s your analysis sorted. Analysis is effectively saying what’s happening here & why does it work, and you can do that so much better if you think it actually does work. So let yourself enjoy the book where you can!


4. Learn terminology.
Okay this one is really not as exciting as some of the other points on the list it has to be said, but it is still very important. You cannot explain what technique is being used without knowing what the technique is called. I don’t know how you learn best, but if it is your sort of thing, then quizlet is generally a pretty good bet. (I might have a few I can send you if that would help?). Alternatively, flashcards or some sort of mind map would probably work fairly well for learning terms.


5. Understand your strengths & weaknesses.

Okay this one sounds so generic, but hear me out I promise I am going somewhere with it. I know there are somethings I am better with than others, eg. Prose>poetry, but the more valuable skill is knowing how to use that. For example, I also study history & I know that as an English scholar, close analysis is basically my specialism. So I’ve started incorporating primary sources into my essays & breaking them down. Obviously with something like that there’s always a risk of going too far from what the questions requires of you, but so far it’s increased my marks. The beauty of an essay is the fact that you can write whatever you want. In maths if you don’t know how to do algebra, there’s no way round it, you’re just not going to get the question right, but in English (and to be fair other humanity based subjects) if you don’t like a certain scene then you generally don’t have to talk about it. An essay is your chance to show off both your knowledge & skills, and so focus on those (as far as the mark scheme allows, obviously)


I’ve just realised quite how long this is, so I’m going to stop now, but if you do have any specific questions about anything I’ve mentioned them please feel free to ask & I’ll do my best.

Sorry there wasn’t more specific to either IB or Fahrenheit 451, it’s been so long since I’ve read it that I do feel like any comments I made on it would only be counterproductive because I really don’t know it that well anymore. (Although from what I remember it’s fairly political, right? So it might be worth looking into what was happening at the time & the author’s views to see some of the things that might have motivated that if you do need more contextual comments. But just in general asking the question ‘what is the author trying to do?’ is really helpful, be that with regards to context, the existence of the book itself, or close analysis of a passage/quote)

Anyway, good luck!
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leelydia04
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(Original post by Lzq3R)
Hi, English Pre-U (effectively a level) student here. I don’t do IB so I don’t know how helpful I can be, but in the absence of any other replies I’ll do what I can.

1. Exam Technique!!
You’ve probably heard this one a million times & it’s not just specific to English, but it is so important. It is undoubtedly the quickest way to improve your mark in pretty much any subject. Get to know the mark scheme; do you need to include critical quotations, what should the balance between linguistical and structural analysis be; do you get credit for contextual knowledge, extra reading etc.?

If you have access to any, read as many model answers as you can, or just look at essays that got good marks even if they aren’t perfect. I’m sure if your teacher hasn’t given you any you’ll be able to find some online, although do check they’re from a reputable source. Learn what the examiner is looking for because it makes it so much easier.


2. Read, read, read!
Not quite as exam specific, but read as much as you possibly can, be it fiction or non-fiction. I don’t know if the same is true for IB, but I know that I can get a reasonable amount of credit for mentioning relevant extracurricular reading. Eg. Something else by the author, a book from the same literary movement, a book that inspired it etc.

Also, even if you don’t mention it in the exam, reading is so important. The more books you read, the more you notice things about how they’re put together & the better your analysis. English is basically 70% reading from my experience.

I would also recommend reading non-fiction critical articles. I don’t know if you have access to Jstor, but it is possibly the greatest thing to exist. Literary criticism are so helpful though. They can develop your understanding of the ideas in the book, challenge your interpretation of scenes & quotes, and most of all they’re generally well-written. In other words, brilliant examples of essays, even if they’re not targeted to the mark scheme. I have read books & entirely changed my view on them after a few particularly genius articles.


3. Learn quotes. But not just the classic ones everyone uses, learn some original quotes. If there’s a paragraph you really like, or a line that entertains you, learn it. A unique comment on the book comes across well. And if you like a section of something then there’s probably a reason why, be that the descriptions, the way it sounds, the imagery, the characterisation, and if you can put your finger on why, then that’s your analysis sorted. Analysis is effectively saying what’s happening here & why does it work, and you can do that so much better if you think it actually does work. So let yourself enjoy the book where you can!


4. Learn terminology.
Okay this one is really not as exciting as some of the other points on the list it has to be said, but it is still very important. You cannot explain what technique is being used without knowing what the technique is called. I don’t know how you learn best, but if it is your sort of thing, then quizlet is generally a pretty good bet. (I might have a few I can send you if that would help?). Alternatively, flashcards or some sort of mind map would probably work fairly well for learning terms.


5. Understand your strengths & weaknesses.

Okay this one sounds so generic, but hear me out I promise I am going somewhere with it. I know there are somethings I am better with than others, eg. Prose>poetry, but the more valuable skill is knowing how to use that. For example, I also study history & I know that as an English scholar, close analysis is basically my specialism. So I’ve started incorporating primary sources into my essays & breaking them down. Obviously with something like that there’s always a risk of going too far from what the questions requires of you, but so far it’s increased my marks. The beauty of an essay is the fact that you can write whatever you want. In maths if you don’t know how to do algebra, there’s no way round it, you’re just not going to get the question right, but in English (and to be fair other humanity based subjects) if you don’t like a certain scene then you generally don’t have to talk about it. An essay is your chance to show off both your knowledge & skills, and so focus on those (as far as the mark scheme allows, obviously)


I’ve just realised quite how long this is, so I’m going to stop now, but if you do have any specific questions about anything I’ve mentioned them please feel free to ask & I’ll do my best.

Sorry there wasn’t more specific to either IB or Fahrenheit 451, it’s been so long since I’ve read it that I do feel like any comments I made on it would only be counterproductive because I really don’t know it that well anymore. (Although from what I remember it’s fairly political, right? So it might be worth looking into what was happening at the time & the author’s views to see some of the things that might have motivated that if you do need more contextual comments. But just in general asking the question ‘what is the author trying to do?’ is really helpful, be that with regards to context, the existence of the book itself, or close analysis of a passage/quote)

Anyway, good luck!
Thank you so much for your thorough and kind answer! This is exactly the advice I needed!!
I really appreciate the tips and please don't worry about it not being specific to the IB or F451; I was struggling with revision and essay writing in general, so this is all extremely helpful. My teacher has suggested some literary criticism, but she never really mentioned how important it is. I'll definitely look into more of those too. If you wouldn't mind sharing it with me, the Quizlet study set would help me immensely with my English essay writing in general as in the IB we do non-literary text responses too. You are a honestly lifesaver thank you SO MUCH!!

ps Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel about mass media and censorship, definitely political as it was written in the 1950s and refers to McCarthyism and the Nazi book burning.
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Lzq3R
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(Original post by leelydia04)
Thank you so much for your thorough and kind answer! This is exactly the advice I needed!!
I really appreciate the tips and please don't worry about it not being specific to the IB or F451; I was struggling with revision and essay writing in general, so this is all extremely helpful. My teacher has suggested some literary criticism, but she never really mentioned how important it is. I'll definitely look into more of those too. If you wouldn't mind sharing it with me, the Quizlet study set would help me immensely with my English essay writing in general as in the IB we do non-literary text responses too. You are a honestly lifesaver thank you SO MUCH!!

ps Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel about mass media and censorship, definitely political as it was written in the 1950s and refers to McCarthyism and the Nazi book burning.
I’m really glad it helped!

It is somewhat subjective but I personally find literary criticism really helpful because it is effectively someone who knows the subject incredibly well explaining it & proposing different theories and interpretations of the analysis of key quotes and scenes, so there’s almost certainly something there you can learn from. At Pre-U you can actually get anywhere up to 25% of the marks for showing an understanding of critical interpretations and different views on the book & breaking down which ones you do & do not agree with and why, but I guess the importance does vary somewhat by exam board and qualification. Honestly it has to be admitted I do actually quite enjoy reading literary criticism, I think it’s so interesting!!

I’ll send you the quizlet now. It has to be said it’s not quite as good as I had remembered, but it’s definitely a useful starting point.

Ooh that’s really interesting, I might have to add it to the to read pile, I’ve been meaning to get around to it for ages because it is such a classic. If I do get around to reading it at some point & have any particularly interesting thoughts on analysis & essays I’ll let you know!
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