The Student Room Group

A-level english literature notes or not

Should I make no english literature a-level notes and just basically learn the revision guides really well (advanced york notes for each book)?
(edited 5 months ago)
Make notes in your own words as the process of writing things down helps with retention, and translating it in your own words helps develop genuine understanding and essay writing skills.

Revision guides only cover the surface. To reach high-level, insightful inferences, you need to take the time to think for yourself - you won't regret it!
Original post by NestleCrunch
Make notes in your own words as the process of writing things down helps with retention, and translating it in your own words helps develop genuine understanding and essay writing skills.

Revision guides only cover the surface. To reach high-level, insightful inferences, you need to take the time to think for yourself - you won't regret it!


thanks---i was just thinking i could do summary notes (like key points from rev guide) and analysis ideas on the revision guide directly via posticks........in terms of notes for each text- i do plan and have started summarizing each chapter along with my ideas.....and in class my folder has notes-messy ones but they do exist......what do u think?
(edited 5 months ago)
Original post by Chickenunicorn17
thanks---i was just thinking i could do summary notes (like key points from rev guide) and analysis ideas on the revision guide directly via posticks........in terms of notes for each text- i do plan and have started summarizing each chapter along with my ideas.....and in class my folder has notes-messy ones but they do exist......what do u think?

I like the thought process but you will end up with your ideas in 3 separate places. Here's a step-by-step of what I would do:
1. Shorten class notes to the absolute bare minimum so it should fit half a page. No paragraphs, just bullet-points.
2. Below this copy key points, quotes, themes, etc. from the revision guide, again in bullet-points.
3. Below this, write the ideas for analysis.
4. Optional: Create a mindmap that answers a specific question [e.g. the portrayal of the American Dream in Great Gatsby]. From there I would branch out at least 4 of my ideas for analysis [e.g. the hollowness of the upper class]. From there I would branch out again with quotes and relevant context.

By step 3 you will have something that is easy to revise from and I do recommend you practice active recall method. But by step 4 you will have your own essay plan with everything already split up logically. This helps you memorise essays which is crucial as the UK educational system is mostly a memory game.

This setup got me an A in English Lit & Lang, my only regret is not doing active recall method! Let me know if you need more help.
Original post by NestleCrunch
I like the thought process but you will end up with your ideas in 3 separate places. Here's a step-by-step of what I would do:
1. Shorten class notes to the absolute bare minimum so it should fit half a page. No paragraphs, just bullet-points.
2. Below this copy key points, quotes, themes, etc. from the revision guide, again in bullet-points.
3. Below this, write the ideas for analysis.
4. Optional: Create a mindmap that answers a specific question [e.g. the portrayal of the American Dream in Great Gatsby]. From there I would branch out at least 4 of my ideas for analysis [e.g. the hollowness of the upper class]. From there I would branch out again with quotes and relevant context.

By step 3 you will have something that is easy to revise from and I do recommend you practice active recall method. But by step 4 you will have your own essay plan with everything already split up logically. This helps you memorise essays which is crucial as the UK educational system is mostly a memory game.

This setup got me an A in English Lit & Lang, my only regret is not doing active recall method! Let me know if you need more help.


thanks so much...i will def use ur advise...i appreciate that and ill make an eng lit rev plan hopefully today or tmrw and if u dont mind i would like to have ur opinion on how effective and doable it sounds--i am going to adjust using ur help----its the end of hols now and i am going into y13---i aim to finish most of the notes this term....for the texts i havent done fully in class -less/some but the ones i am doing/done-all....i wouldve done it earlier but i didnt know how to go about it---which was dum of me--especially as i have a lot to do now....
Original post by Chickenunicorn17
thanks so much...i will def use ur advise...i appreciate that and ill make an eng lit rev plan hopefully today or tmrw and if u dont mind i would like to have ur opinion on how effective and doable it sounds--i am going to adjust using ur help----its the end of hols now and i am going into y13---i aim to finish most of the notes this term....for the texts i havent done fully in class -less/some but the ones i am doing/done-all....i wouldve done it earlier but i didnt know how to go about it---which was dum of me--especially as i have a lot to do now....

Just to clarify, you want to re-write notes, analysis and important info from the revision guide for each text? If this is correct then I like your plan and it's something all English A-level students should do, but it's more effective if you use the method I described.

However in Year 13, you still learn new content so it's important not to fall behind. For the classes that you will soon start, you need to do your write-ups as soon as possible to leave time for the active recall method to work.

I would create a little timetable to stick to - block off your revision time and time to consolidate what you're currently learning in class. The way I would split it up is I would prioritise my time at Sith Form doing the Year 12 write-ups during my frees (start with the topics you don't know much about to remove gaps in your knowledge). Then for my study time at home, at least 1hr daily, I would do the new Year 13 content and on weekends too.

I think this video might be of interest to you: https://youtu.be/dsvlCgXXrGU?si=xVd9nl96I0guYlYw (p.s. he ended up going to Oxford for English!)

I won't sugar-coat it - this is a lot of work! But it's doable if you're serious and committed to getting the grades you deserve. You need to make sure you stick to the timetable you made for yourself and stay away from people who just like talk during revision sessions. If you do this properly, you will finish all the Year 12 write-ups way before the Winter Mock exams.

Don't feel like you're dumb! It's difficult to find the revision method that works best for you, and the fact that you asked for help shows that you're someone with a lot of smarts and initiative. I'm sure you will make yourself proud by Results Day :smile:

Quick Reply

Latest