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How can I get an A/A* in A Level English Literature?

Hi,

I'm currently in Year 12 and aiming for UCL English. I am eligible for contextual offers, so I need ABB. My only issue is I need at least an A in English and whilst I am working at ABB now, the A is not in English.

I am doing plenty of exam questions and lots of practice and it just feels like I am consistently stuck on a B. A B is good, don't get me wrong, but I really am set on UCL. Please give me some advice on getting my English grade up :smile:
What is your exam board?
Reply 2
Original post by dianna3007
What is your exam board?


AQA B, elements of crime writing + elements of tragedy. Sorry, I forgot to include this in the original post!
Original post by may_g
AQA B, elements of crime writing + elements of tragedy. Sorry, I forgot to include this in the original post!


Ah, I don't do AQA so I can't really give specific advice. But I would say one thing that really helped was reading model answers, it showed me the correct structure to use. Also you probably already know this but figuring out the correct balance of AO's really helps. Also, when I was in year 12 I was consistently achieving B's but I have managed to move up to getting A's in all my essays now and am predicted an A so you should be fine. Good luck:smile:
Original post by may_g
Hi,

I'm currently in Year 12 and aiming for UCL English. I am eligible for contextual offers, so I need ABB. My only issue is I need at least an A in English and whilst I am working at ABB now, the A is not in English.

I am doing plenty of exam questions and lots of practice and it just feels like I am consistently stuck on a B. A B is good, don't get me wrong, but I really am set on UCL. Please give me some advice on getting my English grade up :smile:

Heya!
Personally I haven't done english lit but perhaps you will find this article useful (linked here). I think the key takeaway from it is to learn to plan your essay first whether its a mind map or paper essay plan :h: You can learn to do that by doing past papers!

I hope this helps!
Milena
UCL PFE
Study Mind
I did OCR English Literature at A-Level and I did not do crime writing. But I can give some general writing advice as a BA Literature student.
I find writing comes very naturally to me, so my style is usually distinct and flows a lot nicer than most model essays (in my head, at least!) Use model answers as a guide at the very least; what I have found is that learning the basic structure for a question is pretty much all you need. I therefore personally don't recommend repeatedly doing exam questions. I recommend gathering a workable amount of content for each text you study, make a Google doc or something with a) key quotes b) contextual facts (specific and general) and c) critics. Do not underestimate critics. A-Level tutors aren't looking for critics to overwhelm your work but do engage with the critic. Agree/disagree to a certain extent with them and make it fit your argument.

I'd say in terms of essay writing, this is the most important thing, and it isn't specific for English, but is nonetheless v. important. You must know your argument before you write an essay. This sounds obvious, but you must state it clearly in your introduction, link back to it in each paragraph by signposting (use the literal wording of your argument consistently) and of course in the conclusion.

I'm guessing you're set a question to respond to and will have to write an intro, 3 ish paragraphs and a conclusion. I always did 2 paras in support of my own argument and then 1 para which goes against my argument HOWEVER link this paragraph at the end to why your argument is still correct in spite of this. Just make sure your argument is consistent, and clear throughout. This is genuinely the most important thing.

This is a broad overview, I'm aware, and more focused on the essays rather than content. Do you know what you want to improve on specifically?
Reply 6
Original post by ArcticChimera
I did OCR English Literature at A-Level and I did not do crime writing. But I can give some general writing advice as a BA Literature student.
I find writing comes very naturally to me, so my style is usually distinct and flows a lot nicer than most model essays (in my head, at least!) Use model answers as a guide at the very least; what I have found is that learning the basic structure for a question is pretty much all you need. I therefore personally don't recommend repeatedly doing exam questions. I recommend gathering a workable amount of content for each text you study, make a Google doc or something with a) key quotes b) contextual facts (specific and general) and c) critics. Do not underestimate critics. A-Level tutors aren't looking for critics to overwhelm your work but do engage with the critic. Agree/disagree to a certain extent with them and make it fit your argument.

I'd say in terms of essay writing, this is the most important thing, and it isn't specific for English, but is nonetheless v. important. You must know your argument before you write an essay. This sounds obvious, but you must state it clearly in your introduction, link back to it in each paragraph by signposting (use the literal wording of your argument consistently) and of course in the conclusion.

I'm guessing you're set a question to respond to and will have to write an intro, 3 ish paragraphs and a conclusion. I always did 2 paras in support of my own argument and then 1 para which goes against my argument HOWEVER link this paragraph at the end to why your argument is still correct in spite of this. Just make sure your argument is consistent, and clear throughout. This is genuinely the most important thing.

This is a broad overview, I'm aware, and more focused on the essays rather than content. Do you know what you want to improve on specifically?

I don't think I have anything specific to focus on, but thank you so much for the advice. I'm pretty okay with remembering content so it's just the essay writing and structure I struggle with :smile:

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