Tips for getting an A/A* in A Level Eng Lit

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Coral_xo
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Hey!

I'm currently in year 12 and doing one of my A-Levels in English Literature. I'm currently getting B grades, but most of my desired Universities want A/A*this has been kinda stressful for me as I've never gotten that high on an exam yet and my teacher gives little feedback/ways to improve or revise better.

So I was hoping to find some tips from people working at A/A* or people that have achieved A/A* in English Lit.

My exam board is Edexcel, and the texts I study (for exams) are:
- A Streetcar Named Desire
- A Handmaids Tale compared to Frankenstein
- Othello
- Poetry of the decade and Romantic Poetry

Any help or motivation would be appreciated! Thank you so much in advance : )
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14gfinch
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Hi - I'm a year 13 student working at around A/A* (although I'm no expert ahah).
I study AQA so I'm not sure how similar our courses are, however I do study Othello as a text and so can recommend a few bits for that.

  • One of the best things to do is complete some wider reading - if you look at the British Library website there is plenty of articles specific to Othello as a play, but also Shakespeare and context of the Elizabethan (when it was written) and Jacobean (when it was first performed) society. It'll help you find some wider arguments and ideas to bring into any essays. I'm sure there's some articles about the other texts you are studying also!
  • Another way to boost marks is to mention literary critics, so for Othello this could be A.C Bradley and F.R Leavis.
  • SparkNotes has a section of their website called 'No Fear Shakespeare' where you can find some info and a modified version of Othello to be written in modern hand (if you find yourself struggling with any of the language - I definitely did at first)
  • It could also help to watch a live production of the play as it helps when framing your argument and using links to the wider play.

Hope this helps, I can try and help more but not sure how much I can offer with studying a different exam board. The only thing I can say is that although it takes time wider reading can really help - read past exam papers and responses, articles, reviews etc. It's a fab way to find little gems of concepts and specific context that can be woven into an argument, especially as most of the articles on the British Library can be degree level.
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Coral_xo
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(Original post by 14gfinch)
Hi - I'm a year 13 student working at around A/A* (although I'm no expert ahah).
I study AQA so I'm not sure how similar our courses are, however I do study Othello as a text and so can recommend a few bits for that.

  • One of the best things to do is complete some wider reading - if you look at the British Library website there is plenty of articles specific to Othello as a play, but also Shakespeare and context of the Elizabethan (when it was written) and Jacobean (when it was first performed) society. It'll help you find some wider arguments and ideas to bring into any essays. I'm sure there's some articles about the other texts you are studying also!
  • Another way to boost marks is to mention literary critics, so for Othello this could be A.C Bradley and F.R Leavis.
  • SparkNotes has a section of their website called 'No Fear Shakespeare' where you can find some info and a modified version of Othello to be written in modern hand (if you find yourself struggling with any of the language - I definitely did at first)
  • It could also help to watch a live production of the play as it helps when framing your argument and using links to the wider play.

Hope this helps, I can try and help more but not sure how much I can offer with studying a different exam board. The only thing I can say is that although it takes time wider reading can really help - read past exam papers and responses, articles, reviews etc. It's a fab way to find little gems of concepts and specific context that can be woven into an argument, especially as most of the articles on the British Library can be degree level.
Thank you !! this is really handy
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