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Revising for Eng Lit

Hi,
I'm in Year 11 right now and all I'm worried about is English GCSe. Well I am worried about my other subjects but English is my main priority.
I did my fist mocks in Year 10 and my grades were absolutely bad for English.
Especially Eng Lit cuz I got a 5 and my predicted/target is AN 8. I tried to revise using a particular skill but it seems that it doesn't work. I don't really know how to write academically (that's what my teacher said) so I need to practice my essay skills.
Any tips on how to improve on this?

Thx :smile:
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 1
Definitely worth trying to memorise things like 'Gimme 5' or other such mnemonics: e.g. tone, single-word connotations, imagery, alternative interpretation.
If you're struggling with the general essay writing too it might be worth checking out structures like PEE, or the more complex ones. They might not get you to an 8 but will certainly get you up higher most of the time.
Another thing I'd recommend doing is checking out exemplar answers: there are loads on YouTube and the web. It's worth looking at these and seeing how they structure there arguments, what they're looking at, etc.: you can also find some really good ideas.
Having good quotes is vital. Depending on what books you're doing, there are some that can cover a wide range of themes/questions, but in memorising these and memorising your annotations you can really help your essays.
Also though, structuring your argument is really key which is why it helps to plan if you don't already. For example, you might consider 1 thing in paragraph 1, and another in paragraph 2: having different ideas to backup your argument is important. But you ought to link them together, for example 'Macbeth is also seen as bloodthirsty later in the play, where he...'
Other things that might you might already be doing but are really worth it if you're not include embedded quotations, putting in context (but make sure it links to the question) and just general use of connectives like furthermore, additionally, however, on the other hand... They really help to give you more structure.

Hope this helps! It's very admirable what you're aiming for, but remember not to push yourself too hard (it's not like, too, Literature is needed to go onto Sixth Form if you dislike it). Best of luck :biggrin:

P.S. again if you haven't already, check out Mr Salles Teaches English and Mr Bruff on YouTube, they have some really good videos: the former is good for exemplar answers and essay writing, the latter is good for strong analysis of books and poems :smile:
Reply 2
Original post by koolkhad
Hi,
I'm in Year 11 right now and all I'm worried about is English GCSe. Well I am worried about my other subjects but English is my main priority.
I did my fist mocks in Year 10 and my grades were absolutely bad for English.
Especially Eng Lit cuz I got a 5 and my predicted/target is AN 8. I tried to revise using a particular skill but it seems that it doesn't work. I don't really know how to write academically (that's what my teacher said) so I need to practice my essay skills.
Any tips on how to improve on this?

Thx :smile:



Split your essay into parts:

Introduction (write this last)

Main point 1

Main point 2

Main point 3 and so on.

Conclusion (don't add any new information here, just touch on the main points).

Depending on word count required; you will need to divide that up appropriately, here is an example.

2000 word essay (3 main points)

Intro 250 words

Each point 500 words

Conclusion 250 words

When writing academically...

Avoid references to self, such as, "I found..." and use, "During my examination of book X ..."

Avoid 'was' hunt down those and remove. Also, you can improve writing by getting rid of 'and' and replacing with a comma or semicolon (where possible). Look up split sentences online, learn to avoid them. Remmber 'and' is fine, just don't use it too much! Knowing the rule means when you break it there's more impact in a positive way.

Try not to use 'but', try using ';however,' 'Mr X approached Character A in a manner that is typical within the book; however, according to Academic B, this is not typical for the period the novels period setting.'

Be critical (thinking). There is an Iceberg, the tip is the novel, the rest, which is below the water, will be the context. Keep an open mind, be aware you and others will be incorrect; however, the information to hand is all you have. So, write about what you have available to refer too, don't make things up and don't express an opinion without being able to back it up. If you cannot provide evidence, just delete that opinion, move onto better examples where you can.

Check out the marking criteria/matrix. All you need to do is hit those marks. If I said, you get 3 marks for writing about the critical thinking paragraph here, those marks will be made up by talking about -
1: Iceberg
2: Open Mind
3: Evidence
I make 3 major points; all you need do in talk about those points. Start thinking like that.

'Booper used the iceberg metaphor to describe critical thinking. In Booper's discussion ...etc.'

When doing research into how to write academically, use that critical thinking. There will be common points, they are the best to focus on. If everyone mentions the same things, that is essentially academic observation, it won't mean it is correct, it will mean it is the popular opinion that can be discussed and compared with other ideas and methods.

Good luck!
Reply 3
Original post by {Moss}
Definitely worth trying to memorise things like 'Gimme 5' or other such mnemonics: e.g. tone, single-word connotations, imagery, alternative interpretation.
If you're struggling with the general essay writing too it might be worth checking out structures like PEE, or the more complex ones. They might not get you to an 8 but will certainly get you up higher most of the time.
Another thing I'd recommend doing is checking out exemplar answers: there are loads on YouTube and the web. It's worth looking at these and seeing how they structure there arguments, what they're looking at, etc.: you can also find some really good ideas.
Having good quotes is vital. Depending on what books you're doing, there are some that can cover a wide range of themes/questions, but in memorising these and memorising your annotations you can really help your essays.
Also though, structuring your argument is really key which is why it helps to plan if you don't already. For example, you might consider 1 thing in paragraph 1, and another in paragraph 2: having different ideas to backup your argument is important. But you ought to link them together, for example 'Macbeth is also seen as bloodthirsty later in the play, where he...'
Other things that might you might already be doing but are really worth it if you're not include embedded quotations, putting in context (but make sure it links to the question) and just general use of connectives like furthermore, additionally, however, on the other hand... They really help to give you more structure.

Hope this helps! It's very admirable what you're aiming for, but remember not to push yourself too hard (it's not like, too, Literature is needed to go onto Sixth Form if you dislike it). Best of luck :biggrin:

P.S. again if you haven't already, check out Mr Salles Teaches English and Mr Bruff on YouTube, they have some really good videos: the former is good for exemplar answers and essay writing, the latter is good for strong analysis of books and poems :smile:


Thanks for all the tips :smile:. I just want to ask what is 'Gimme 5' ?
Reply 4
Original post by koolkhad
Thanks for all the tips :smile:. I just want to ask what is 'Gimme 5' ?


Hey, no problem! So it was something my old teacher used to do that they'd say to memorise for each 'finger' in order to get good analysis of a quote. Can't find anything online annoyingly but it was something like this:
Tone/Atmosphere Created
Single-word connotations
Imagery
Method (e.g. metaphor, simile, personification... you might also consider things like the metre, for example in Macbeth Lady Macbeth sometimes speaks in Trochaic Tetrametre like the Witches, which foreshadows her evil: that's a two in one, too!)
Alternative Interpretations



You don't need to use all of them for 1 quote, but it's definitely worth remembering to include them in your answer overall. Especially if you use them just for one quote, it really shows how deeply you're analysing it which is important for the higher marks :smile:
Also somethings I forgot to mention (again you may be doing this already) is that it's important to use different words for your analysis, e.g. connotes, displays, shows, portrays...
And also that to unlock higher marks it's vital to speak about form: for example, in Sign of the Four Conan Doyle's use of the gloomy atmosphere links with the crime genre ...
Best of luck again, let me know if you have any more questions!
Original post by koolkhad
Hi,
I'm in Year 11 right now and all I'm worried about is English GCSe. Well I am worried about my other subjects but English is my main priority.
I did my fist mocks in Year 10 and my grades were absolutely bad for English.
Especially Eng Lit cuz I got a 5 and my predicted/target is AN 8. I tried to revise using a particular skill but it seems that it doesn't work. I don't really know how to write academically (that's what my teacher said) so I need to practice my essay skills.
Any tips on how to improve on this?

Thx :smile:


Hi I’m in year 12 rn and I was in the exact same position as you last year!! I was able to go from a 4 to a 9 between my Y11 December mocks and the real exams. I did exam board AQA so my advice will be specific to that, hoping you do AQA too but if not hopefully some of this should still be helpful. Here’s some of what I did

- Revise the following: plot, characters, themes, quotes, context, writer’s techniques (metaphors etc). Make mind maps/flashcards etc for each
- Study mark schemes and assessment objectives, ensure you understand all the key skills you are being assessed on and everything you need to include.
- https://pmt.physicsandmathstutor.com/download/English-Literature/GCSE/Notes/AQA/An-Inspector-Calls/Exam-Preparation/How%20to%20plan%20and%20write%20a%20top%20mark%20essay.pdf - this document outlines exactly how to write an essay in order to hit top grades - AQA and Edexcel. Towards the end it has a section where it explains exactly how to structure your intro, main paragraphs and conclusion in order to hit all the assessment objectives. I could not recommend using this more I’d say this is the main thing that helped me
- Use YouTube - Mr Salles Teaches English, Mr Bruff and Mr Everything English. Mr Salles was always my favourite; lots of extremely helpful tutorials on how to write your essays for both the texts and poems. Also he does quotation videos where he gives the only quotes you need to know that you can apply in any essay (example title: ‘Top 20 quotes in Macbeth’). I made flashcards using these, quote on one side and analysis he gives on the other. Make sure you include writer’s techniques, context etc (basically everything listed in my first point). However Mr Salles specifically does AQA so if you do another board some of it may not be so useful, I did AQA and don’t know much about other boards so I couldn’t say. If you make your own quote flashcards ensure they cover all the themes and characters and you want as few as possible (10-20 per I’d say is ideal, plus 3-5 per poem. One quote can cover more than one theme/ character)
- Other resources I used: Physics & maths tutor - lots of good notes and practise questions, Seneca, CGP revsion guides and flashcards
- Practice essays and plans. You can use past papers or find practise questions online. Start by doing untimed, with access to your notes, quote flashcards and following the PMT essay guide. Go through your quote flashcards and pull out the ones that are relevant to the question you are answering, then apply them in your essay plan. You don’t always need to write out full essays, just make detailed plans which cover everything you’d include in your essay, but practise writing will definitely help. Over time, once you’ve begun to get used to writing essays and learning the content, start timing yourself according to how long you’d have in exams and without access to your notes etc. Get your teacher to mark some of them
if you can.
- You must practise SPAG if you need to. You may be able to purchase a workbook for this if you feel you need it. Try learning and using more complex terminology and find better and more formal words e.g instead of ‘this shows’ you could use ‘implies’, ‘illustrates’, ’demonstrates’ etc. I also found this difficult at first; you could make a sheet with lots of alternative words on. This is definitely key to help you write more academically.

I hope this makes sense and feel free to ask questions if you have any :smile:
(edited 5 months ago)
Reply 6
Ok, so I have decided to develop and focus on different sections bit by bit so I am writing an introduction for one of the past papers on Macbeth.
I tried to be concise with it Here is the question:

Starting with this speech, explore how Shakespeare presents ambition in Macbeth.
Write about:
how Shakespeare presents ambition in this speech
how Shakespeare presents ambition in the play as a whole


I wrote:
To have ambition is to have desire and determination in order to reach a goal. It is normally depicted as a good trait for characters to possess which audiences usually praises. However, in the play 'Macbeth', Shakespeare utilises the idea of ambition in an extremist way causing it to have terrible consequences on characters like Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Please can you tell me on how I could improve it more.
Reply 7
Original post by koolkhad
Hi,
I'm in Year 11 right now and all I'm worried about is English GCSe. Well I am worried about my other subjects but English is my main priority.
I did my fist mocks in Year 10 and my grades were absolutely bad for English.
Especially Eng Lit cuz I got a 5 and my predicted/target is AN 8. I tried to revise using a particular skill but it seems that it doesn't work. I don't really know how to write academically (that's what my teacher said) so I need to practice my essay skills.
Any tips on how to improve on this?

Thx :smile:


https://open.substack.com/pub/thelamenewsletter/p/how-i-achieved-full-marks-160160?r=1tmrcj&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post

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