The Student Room Group

English Literature - Edexcel A LEVEL

Hiya, I'm currently studying Othello, A Streetcar Named Desire , A Handmaid's Tale for coursework and early 200's poetry. I am about to enter year 13 and I don't want to take any chances with my upcoming mocks. How could I best prepare for these. p.S I'm a student that tends to struggle with lack of motivation and procrastination, Is there any way I can implement any improvements into my routine that will help my studying? Thanks
Hi! I did an AQA English Lit A Level from 2020 - 2022 and studied both 'Othello' and 'The Handmaid's Tale' for mine, along with 'Death of a Salesman', 'The Kite Runner', William Blake poetry and John Keats poetry! And also 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' and Philip Larkin poetry for my NEA.

The best advice I can give you is to make sure you know the texts as well as possible to start off with. And then once you're familiar with them, perhaps have a look at past paper questions to see what kind of themes are mentioned, and then pull out certain scenes from the texts that you could use to answer those questions. I don't know how your exam board works, but we also had questions about specific characters, so I had to learn each character, with quotes, in detail as well. But I think that looking at scenes and characters from a thematic perspective helped me the most overall!
I'm also a history student, so it really helped me to map out the texts on a timeline, with specific quotes and events so that I could visualise it in my head. I had them up on the wall of my bedroom so I could always see them. But it really depends what helps you, personally, to revise.

I also struggled a lot of procrastination, particularly with my English A Level because I always found it the most difficult subject to revise, but I ended up using the 'Flora' app, where you can set a time for studying and it grows a flower, and if you pick your phone up during that time, then it kills the plant. So I used to revise in half an hour time slots to try and keep me motivated throughout. But, also, ten minutes of revision is better than nothing, so try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Sometimes it helped me to tell myself that I was just going to look at one chapter/scene for the day and I just made my way through the text slowly.
I hope this helps somewhat!
Original post by LoverOfBooks
Hi! I did an AQA English Lit A Level from 2020 - 2022 and studied both 'Othello' and 'The Handmaid's Tale' for mine, along with 'Death of a Salesman', 'The Kite Runner', William Blake poetry and John Keats poetry! And also 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' and Philip Larkin poetry for my NEA.

The best advice I can give you is to make sure you know the texts as well as possible to start off with. And then once you're familiar with them, perhaps have a look at past paper questions to see what kind of themes are mentioned, and then pull out certain scenes from the texts that you could use to answer those questions. I don't know how your exam board works, but we also had questions about specific characters, so I had to learn each character, with quotes, in detail as well. But I think that looking at scenes and characters from a thematic perspective helped me the most overall!
I'm also a history student, so it really helped me to map out the texts on a timeline, with specific quotes and events so that I could visualise it in my head. I had them up on the wall of my bedroom so I could always see them. But it really depends what helps you, personally, to revise.

I also struggled a lot of procrastination, particularly with my English A Level because I always found it the most difficult subject to revise, but I ended up using the 'Flora' app, where you can set a time for studying and it grows a flower, and if you pick your phone up during that time, then it kills the plant. So I used to revise in half an hour time slots to try and keep me motivated throughout. But, also, ten minutes of revision is better than nothing, so try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Sometimes it helped me to tell myself that I was just going to look at one chapter/scene for the day and I just made my way through the text slowly.
I hope this helps somewhat!


Hello, thank you very much.
What would you say is the best way to start motivating myself to read the texts and avoid short cutting ?
Sometimes it’s easier to motivate yourself if you’ve already seen tv shows or movies of the books because then you can actually visualise the events that are happening, which always made me more engaged.
For example, I’d watched ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ years before reading the book, and the first season is incredibly similar to the entirety of the book so it really helped me to picture the characters and events. There are some changes, but a lot of it is similar.

Even most Shakespeare plays have recordings or movies made about them, and they were especially helpful because Shakespeare can be really confusing , they may not be exact copies, but they tend to get the general idea across. And for the plays, they were made to be performed, not read, so it’s really important that you watch themas well because that is the way they were supposed to have been seen, they can feel really disjointed when reading, but when on stage they are often amazing! I think we ended up watching three different recorded versions of ‘Othello’, and they were all so different but still managed to maintain the characters and plot!

If you want to read the book first though, then I’d recommend taking it a chapter at a time and maybe finding a plot summary to talk it through chapter by chapter, just so you know exactly what’s going on. I always found that I was more likely to skim the book if I was confused.
Sometimes there are some animations of the plots of these books as well, which can be quite helpful.
Original post by enjoyable-exclus
Hiya, I'm currently studying Othello, A Streetcar Named Desire , A Handmaid's Tale for coursework and early 200's poetry. I am about to enter year 13 and I don't want to take any chances with my upcoming mocks. How could I best prepare for these. p.S I'm a student that tends to struggle with lack of motivation and procrastination, Is there any way I can implement any improvements into my routine that will help my studying? Thanks


Doing little activities such as making flashcards of key concepts e.g. tragic features. Making timelines or flashcards detailing key moments in the plot. Analysing important quotes. Looking at past Qs. I found motivating myself really hard too but you just have to remind yourself how important it is to you

Quick Reply

Latest