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HELP!! A-level English Literature Edexcel (2024)

Hey, I'm in year 13 and currently doing A-level English Literature - my grades have not been great, not where I want them to be, I've been averaging a B throughout but recently got my final mocks back and got a C - which obviously isn't filing me with enthusiasm for the actual exam which is less than two months away. I'm really struggling just with how to revise and how to come up with good ideas in the exam, because my brain seems to just go blank. The exam is open book but I feel like I should be remembering like key quotes etc like we did at GCSE but its so much effort on top of everything else - so maybe any tips of how to get around this??? Just looking for advice, sorry for the length of this post but I am DESPERATE 🙏
hi what texts do you do and what board x
Original post by stunning-individ
hi what texts do you do and what board x
I'm doing Frankenstein and The Handmaid's Tale, Poems of the Decade and Keats and Streetcar and King Lear
hi so i also did poems of the decade and streetcar - and i think the main thing is knowing the key themes, symbolism and imagery used. track imagery throughout the novel and consider what the writer's intentions were. i went from a B to an A* last year so let me know if you would like a preview of my notes on the above xx good luck!
Original post by stunning-individ
hi so i also did poems of the decade and streetcar - and i think the main thing is knowing the key themes, symbolism and imagery used. track imagery throughout the novel and consider what the writer's intentions were. i went from a B to an A* last year so let me know if you would like a preview of my notes on the above xx good luck!

Hi, can i please get a preview of your notes please.
Original post by stunning-individ
hi so i also did poems of the decade and streetcar - and i think the main thing is knowing the key themes, symbolism and imagery used. track imagery throughout the novel and consider what the writer's intentions were. i went from a B to an A* last year so let me know if you would like a preview of my notes on the above xx good luck!

oh my gosh this would be amazing - thank you so much x
Original post by anonymous2980
Hey, I'm in year 13 and currently doing A-level English Literature - my grades have not been great, not where I want them to be, I've been averaging a B throughout but recently got my final mocks back and got a C - which obviously isn't filing me with enthusiasm for the actual exam which is less than two months away. I'm really struggling just with how to revise and how to come up with good ideas in the exam, because my brain seems to just go blank. The exam is open book but I feel like I should be remembering like key quotes etc like we did at GCSE but its so much effort on top of everything else - so maybe any tips of how to get around this??? Just looking for advice, sorry for the length of this post but I am DESPERATE 🙏

The best thing you could possibly do is practice, practice and practice. You'll find that you'll eventually be able to use and twist the same ideas and concepts you've used in your other essays in favour of an entirely new theme. It really comes down to how convincingly you can bend the question in your favour.

I sat Pearson English Literature last year and studied some of the same texts as you (Frankenstein and A Streetcar Named Desire). I still have the quote banks for them (A*), so I could send them over if you'd like.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by cephalothin
The best thing you could possibly do is practice, practice and practice. You'll find that you'll eventually be able to use and twist the same ideas and concepts you've used in your other essays in favour of an entirely new theme. It really comes down to how convincingly you can bend the question in your favour.
I sat Pearson English Literature last year and studied some of the same texts as you (Frankenstein and A Streetcar Named Desire). I still have the quote banks for them (A*), so I could send them over if you'd like.

oh my gosh that would be amazing if you could send over your quotation banks! and thank you so much for your response - I know how important practice is but I always feel a bit aimless doing it and can never finish a practice essay, though I am just going to try to power through. My email is [email protected] - thank you again!
Of course, I'll send them over now! I understand exactly what you mean about feeling aimless. I'd recommend collating a list of themes and tackling them one by one. This doesn't have to be an entire essay, just the skeleton of one, and you should eventually find points that you've made in previous themes are applicable (or can be twisted to be so) to other themes. This should help you sift through very important points to remember, marginally important points, and potentially important points.

I've answered similar questions about general tips for English Literature I've pasted my previous advice below.

Embrace Subjectivity in Language

It’s perfectly acceptable to have strong opinions (preferred, even), but take care that other points are considered and considered well. It helps to acknowledge counterarguments and summarily dismiss them.

Steer Clear of Sweeping Statements

Often, exam boards note that students who make sweeping statements often score less highly. For example, if a female character defies expectations for the era, she is commonly termed a 'protofeminist' without any consideration for the instances where she has conformed to her role as a woman.

Recognise Characters as Constructs

Again, exam boards report that candidates often speak of the characters or plot as though they truly exist or have occurred in reality. It’s essential to recognise that the play and its characters are mere constructs (take this as an opportunity to discuss any potential social or historical commentaries).

Engage in Essay Practice

Make a list of themes and either write out an essay in its entirety or make an essay plan writing a point, quote and short analysis. With practice, you should be able to tackle most themes with relative ease, regardless of whether it was one directly rehearsed.

Depart from Essay Structures

Whilst having a general outline of your points is good, structuring essays rigidly with methods like PEEL, PEAL, or PETAL is restrictive and obvious; it tends to spoil the cohesiveness of the essay. Having a distinct academic style will be looked upon favourably if done intelligently.

Utilise Exemplars' and Examiners' Reports

Reading exemplars allows you to steal points from former high-scoring candidates and gives you a general idea of how marks were rewarded. The examiner's reports can go into vivid detail and explicitly distinguish a strong answer from a weak one.

Examiners' Reports:
AQA Examiners Reports
Pearson Edexcel Examiners' Reports
OCR Examiners' Reports
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by cephalothin
Of course, I'll send them over now! I understand exactly what you mean about feeling aimless. I'd recommend collating a list of themes and tackling them one by one. This doesn't have to be an entire essay, just the skeleton of one, and you should eventually find points that you've made in previous themes are applicable (or can be twisted to be so) to other themes. This should help you sift through very important points to remember, marginally important points, and potentially important points.
I've answered similar questions about general tips for English Literature I've pasted my previous advice below.

Embrace Subjectivity in Language

It’s perfectly acceptable to have strong opinions (preferred, even), but take care that other points are considered and considered well. It helps to acknowledge counterarguments and summarily dismiss them.

Steer Clear of Sweeping Statements

Often, exam boards note that students who make sweeping statements often score less highly. For example, if a female character defies expectations for the era, she is commonly termed a 'protofeminist' without any consideration for the instances where she has conformed to her role as a woman.

Recognise Characters as Constructs

Again, exam boards report that candidates often speak of the characters or plot as though they truly exist or have occurred in reality. It’s essential to recognise that the play and its characters are mere constructs (take this as an opportunity to discuss any potential social or historical commentaries).

Engage in Essay Practice

Make a list of themes and either write out an essay in its entirety or make an essay plan writing a point, quote and short analysis. With practice, you should be able to tackle most themes with relative ease, regardless of whether it was one directly rehearsed.

Depart from Essay Structures

Whilst having a general outline of your points is good, structuring essays rigidly with methods like PEEL, PEAL, or PETAL is restrictive and obvious; it tends to spoil the cohesiveness of the essay. Having a distinct academic style will be looked upon favourably if done intelligently.

Utilise Exemplars' and Examiners' Reports

Reading exemplars allows you to steal points from former high-scoring candidates and gives you a general idea of how marks were rewarded. The examiner's reports can go into vivid detail and explicitly distinguish a strong answer from a weak one.
Examiners' Reports:
AQA Examiners Reports
Pearson Edexcel Examiners' Reports
OCR Examiners' Reports

Thank you so much for your advice as well as your email - it's soooo appreciated!!!
Original post by anonymous2980
I'm doing Frankenstein and The Handmaid's Tale, Poems of the Decade and Keats and Streetcar and King Lear


I do the same books I hate English tbh I used to like it more back in gcse I just get bad grades on the exam
Original post by Hxsna_st
I do the same books I hate English tbh I used to like it more back in gcse I just get bad grades on the exam


literally same, A-level english is on a different level and i cannot anymore
Original post by anonymous2980
Thank you so much for your advice as well as your email - it's soooo appreciated!!!

Of course! Best of luck to you. :smile:
Original post by stunning-individ
hi so i also did poems of the decade and streetcar - and i think the main thing is knowing the key themes, symbolism and imagery used. track imagery throughout the novel and consider what the writer's intentions were. i went from a B to an A* last year so let me know if you would like a preview of my notes on the above xx good luck!

Hi there, could I get a preview of your notes please on Streetcar and Poems of the Decade?

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