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A-Level English literature essays

Hi there
I'm in Year 13 studying English Literature on the Eduqas exam board. As part of my revision, I'm planning various essays for my texts (Eliot-Hardy, Chaucer, Loot-Revenger's, King Lear), and I was wondering if it would be okay if I only had two points in my essays? This is more about the drama essays as I find the poetry paper a bit easier, but I've been struggling with having under developed points, and was thinking whether I would be punished by the markers fo only having two points, which hopefully would be more developed. I'm aiming for a B in the final exams.
hello! I'm also in Year 13 doing English Lit with Eduqas, though my texts are The Tempest, Doctor Faustus and Enron for the drama, and Blake, Plath and Hughes for the poetry. in my non-expert opinion, I think having two well-developed points is fine, especially if you're aiming for a B and especially talking about the drama essays. I believe two good points could get you an A or an A* as well.

if you look at the mark schemes on the WJEC website, covering the whole play and/or writing loads isn't a requirement for the 45 mark Shakespeare question: '...Band 3 work should demonstrate a well-organised and detailed discussion with well chosen, convincing support and clear engagement with the implications of characters’ words and actions. Bands 4 and 5 should demonstrate increasingly perceptive analysis and, at the top, sophisticated evaluation.' (taken from the 2022 mark scheme for King Lear). it just mentions your AO2 should be clear, detailed and perceptive but doesn't mention anything about length or the number of points you make.
in my mock exam in January, which was a full Component 2/drama paper, I only did two points for my part ii Shakespeare essay, and I got 36/45, or 80%. my points weren't very detailed because I spent too long on the part i/extract question, and my crit was underdeveloped (I got 6/10 for AO5), but even with these shortcomings, two points was enough for a good mark.

for the 60 mark drama question, two points where both of the plays are covered would definitely be enough. to be clear, if the question was about morality in both plays for my texts, I would write one point about how both Doctor Faustus and Enron show their protagonists transgressing moral boundaries, and write another point about how both plays show their protagonists ultimately paying the price for their violation of moral codes. this is what my English teacher advised we do, because if your points are sufficiently detailed, you probably wouldn't have time to tackle a third point anyway. if you think about the 60 marker as being a comparative essay, two points like I mentioned above would be like writing four short points (one for each essay) with additional AO4 writing explicitly about the similarities and differences between the two plays, which is definitely enough.
in the same January mock, I actually only did one point (across multiple paragraphs) about how Christopher Marlowe presents the religious/moral boundaries in the world of Faustus as being baseless and less justified than the boundaries in Enron, which I argued Lucy Prebble presents as being necessary. I got 53/60 on this essay, which is about 88%. my single point was very detailed and I did end up writing quite a lot, but in my essay planning I'm trying to stick to doing two points for the 60 markers.

to summarise, yes, in my opinion two points for the essays is totally fine! it's what I'm planning to do for my drama paper and possibly for the poetry as well. good luck for your English exams 🤞🍀 x
Reply 2
Original post by pre-raphaelite
hello! I'm also in Year 13 doing English Lit with Eduqas, though my texts are The Tempest, Doctor Faustus and Enron for the drama, and Blake, Plath and Hughes for the poetry. in my non-expert opinion, I think having two well-developed points is fine, especially if you're aiming for a B and especially talking about the drama essays. I believe two good points could get you an A or an A* as well.
if you look at the mark schemes on the WJEC website, covering the whole play and/or writing loads isn't a requirement for the 45 mark Shakespeare question: '...Band 3 work should demonstrate a well-organised and detailed discussion with well chosen, convincing support and clear engagement with the implications of characters’ words and actions. Bands 4 and 5 should demonstrate increasingly perceptive analysis and, at the top, sophisticated evaluation.' (taken from the 2022 mark scheme for King Lear). it just mentions your AO2 should be clear, detailed and perceptive but doesn't mention anything about length or the number of points you make.
in my mock exam in January, which was a full Component 2/drama paper, I only did two points for my part ii Shakespeare essay, and I got 36/45, or 80%. my points weren't very detailed because I spent too long on the part i/extract question, and my crit was underdeveloped (I got 6/10 for AO5), but even with these shortcomings, two points was enough for a good mark.
for the 60 mark drama question, two points where both of the plays are covered would definitely be enough. to be clear, if the question was about morality in both plays for my texts, I would write one point about how both Doctor Faustus and Enron show their protagonists transgressing moral boundaries, and write another point about how both plays show their protagonists ultimately paying the price for their violation of moral codes. this is what my English teacher advised we do, because if your points are sufficiently detailed, you probably wouldn't have time to tackle a third point anyway. if you think about the 60 marker as being a comparative essay, two points like I mentioned above would be like writing four short points (one for each essay) with additional AO4 writing explicitly about the similarities and differences between the two plays, which is definitely enough.
in the same January mock, I actually only did one point (across multiple paragraphs) about how Christopher Marlowe presents the religious/moral boundaries in the world of Faustus as being baseless and less justified than the boundaries in Enron, which I argued Lucy Prebble presents as being necessary. I got 53/60 on this essay, which is about 88%. my single point was very detailed and I did end up writing quite a lot, but in my essay planning I'm trying to stick to doing two points for the 60 markers.
to summarise, yes, in my opinion two points for the essays is totally fine! it's what I'm planning to do for my drama paper and possibly for the poetry as well. good luck for your English exams 🤞🍀 x

Thank you so much for the reply! That's reassuring to hear, and thank you for explaining how you wrote your essays, that's very helpful. Good luck with your exams too!
Reply 3
Original post by pjf1215
Hi there
I'm in Year 13 studying English Literature on the Eduqas exam board. As part of my revision, I'm planning various essays for my texts (Eliot-Hardy, Chaucer, Loot-Revenger's, King Lear), and I was wondering if it would be okay if I only had two points in my essays? This is more about the drama essays as I find the poetry paper a bit easier, but I've been struggling with having under developed points, and was thinking whether I would be punished by the markers fo only having two points, which hopefully would be more developed. I'm aiming for a B in the final exams.
Hey i am currently doing King Lear with Eduqas - I always write two points for the king lear question and if you do it in enough detail you can’t loose marks! My teacher has given me 42/45 for an essay with only two points so it is definitely possible!!
Original post by pjf1215
Hi there
I'm in Year 13 studying English Literature on the Eduqas exam board. As part of my revision, I'm planning various essays for my texts (Eliot-Hardy, Chaucer, Loot-Revenger's, King Lear), and I was wondering if it would be okay if I only had two points in my essays? This is more about the drama essays as I find the poetry paper a bit easier, but I've been struggling with having under developed points, and was thinking whether I would be punished by the markers fo only having two points, which hopefully would be more developed. I'm aiming for a B in the final exams.

Yeah, I always forget to do more points and I’m predicted an A* so I’m sure you’ll be fine. Just make sure you explore the beginning and ends of the plays within your points.
Original post by pjf1215
Hi there
I'm in Year 13 studying English Literature on the Eduqas exam board. As part of my revision, I'm planning various essays for my texts (Eliot-Hardy, Chaucer, Loot-Revenger's, King Lear), and I was wondering if it would be okay if I only had two points in my essays? This is more about the drama essays as I find the poetry paper a bit easier, but I've been struggling with having under developed points, and was thinking whether I would be punished by the markers fo only having two points, which hopefully would be more developed. I'm aiming for a B in the final exams.

Hi, I don't know how useful this is as I'm with CCEA exam board, but I'm predicted a high B or A and can maybe try to provide some general help! I try to get as much down as possible In the time frame. I usually just quickly write things down as bullet points and plan my essay for the first 10 mins. Not sure if yours is the same but in my exam, it's closed book but were given an extract so I begin with analysing it after my intro and making points to support my argument, then move on to wider text, finishing with my counter-argument and conclusion. Typically my essays are about 3 pages double-sided and I use themes and characters as points.

I study King Lear too, so my wider text may be about the theme of disorder, madness, and blindness depending on the question, then move on to other themes that relate but maybe are not the main theme such as disorder being shown through the judicial system whereby you can then bring in the theme of justice and injustice to give a greater range and depth to your points. The most recent class test I got 45/50 and the question was something along the lines of 'the disorder in the play overwhelms the order' The extract was Lear out in the storm and I argued that the storm encompasses all the different types of disorder (Judicial, familial, nature, hierarchy, the state, and Lear's mind) which helps in setting out my argument as I cover all these different themes about disorder in the extract and wider text as well as bringing in contextual info of tragedy - Interlink all themes as long as you can argue it and it is relevant to the question that will allow you to either expand and develop your points or get more points in.

Our exam is mainly driven by argument but methods and context are required to get above a c. If you studied any other Shakespeare tragedies then bringing them in briefly can really help get you marks, I studied Macbeth at GCSE and I brought in the disorder in the nation and nature (The horses eating each other) to emphasise how disorder is a crucial element of tragedy. Also, recommend looking at C.J. Sisson or A.C. Bradley if you haven't already, you can paraphrase some things they wrote like Sission saying that the logic of tragedy doesn't follow the logic of justice, my teacher is an examiner (For CCEA) and she says that when she sees things like this it gives the impression that you know what you're talking about and increases marks in context, knowledge, and application.

CCEA exam has us focus only on King Lear, while our poetry is a different paper with our coursework done throughout the year, again I'm not familiar with Eduqas exams so I'm not sure how much detail and points you really need to get a B or if you are writing more than one essay during your exam (Last year we had our play and poetry together but novel separate, and my course isn't linear like Eduqas or AQA meaning what grade we got last year will be added to the one we get this year and I don't have to do an exam on last years material - wish all exam boards where like this cuz sociology is killing me with the amount I have to revise lol) Hope anything I said here was helpful and not complete waffle, good luck with exams <3
(edited 4 days ago)

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