The Student Room Group

focusing for alevels - english lit especially

I’m currently in year 13 doing English lit (the first exam is in about 5 weeks!!) and have been getting A’s throughout, but I literally just cram. I think i’ve also been getting really frustrated with the subject having done it so long, and don’t really have the motivation like I did in year 12! i’ve started procrastinating WAY more. like, i sat down to do an Othello extract and just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I think i just get a bit in my head and then get upset for not being productive since I’ve been pretty productive for most of the easter holidays. Does anybody have any tips for focusing, especially in Eng lit, or how they broke their revision down to make it more manageable, or just focusing and writing essays? I’m doing Othello, Keats, Death of a salesman, then for p2 Wilde Crabbe and Browning poems, Atonement and Brighton Rock :smile:
Reply 1
Original post by caitlinmm
I’m currently in year 13 doing English lit (the first exam is in about 5 weeks!!) and have been getting A’s throughout, but I literally just cram. I think i’ve also been getting really frustrated with the subject having done it so long, and don’t really have the motivation like I did in year 12! i’ve started procrastinating WAY more. like, i sat down to do an Othello extract and just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I think i just get a bit in my head and then get upset for not being productive since I’ve been pretty productive for most of the easter holidays. Does anybody have any tips for focusing, especially in Eng lit, or how they broke their revision down to make it more manageable, or just focusing and writing essays? I’m doing Othello, Keats, Death of a salesman, then for p2 Wilde Crabbe and Browning poems, Atonement and Brighton Rock :smile:


I’d really like an A and was a little bit last minute with my coursework (though I did work really hard on it) but I’m just trying to avoid the stress of last minute work and not feeling like I did my best!!
Reply 2
Original post by caitlinmm
I’m currently in year 13 doing English lit (the first exam is in about 5 weeks!!) and have been getting A’s throughout, but I literally just cram. I think i’ve also been getting really frustrated with the subject having done it so long, and don’t really have the motivation like I did in year 12! i’ve started procrastinating WAY more. like, i sat down to do an Othello extract and just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I think i just get a bit in my head and then get upset for not being productive since I’ve been pretty productive for most of the easter holidays. Does anybody have any tips for focusing, especially in Eng lit, or how they broke their revision down to make it more manageable, or just focusing and writing essays? I’m doing Othello, Keats, Death of a salesman, then for p2 Wilde Crabbe and Browning poems, Atonement and Brighton Rock :smile:

Hiii! I'm doing English Lit too- but non of your texts haha. I'm doing Hamlet, Ibsen and Rossetti, Dracula and TBC. However, I can help with revision- I do a 'slow writing technique' for one of my methods, spending time on i.e. Shakespeare Hamlet Section A- critical appreciation, and slowly writing my chain of thoughts, really thinking about it has helped me to improve so much. I've gone from a solid B last year to an A*! I also write essay plan: so t.s for 3 points, and then 6 specific moments (for the comparisons). For Section B in Shakespeare- I, again, do the slow writing technique but heavily focussing on critics and seeing if I can agree and then disagree in regards to the question. I also read model answers and see if I can improve on them. And then yeah I just write essays and give them my teacher to mark- sometimes only doing one paragraph and sending it to them- the 'slow writing technique'. I hope this helps, and I also hope you do OCR... Or else I'm not sure that will all help haha.
Reply 3
Original post by mayland
Hiii! I'm doing English Lit too- but non of your texts haha. I'm doing Hamlet, Ibsen and Rossetti, Dracula and TBC. However, I can help with revision- I do a 'slow writing technique' for one of my methods, spending time on i.e. Shakespeare Hamlet Section A- critical appreciation, and slowly writing my chain of thoughts, really thinking about it has helped me to improve so much. I've gone from a solid B last year to an A*! I also write essay plan: so t.s for 3 points, and then 6 specific moments (for the comparisons). For Section B in Shakespeare- I, again, do the slow writing technique but heavily focussing on critics and seeing if I can agree and then disagree in regards to the question. I also read model answers and see if I can improve on them. And then yeah I just write essays and give them my teacher to mark- sometimes only doing one paragraph and sending it to them- the 'slow writing technique'. I hope this helps, and I also hope you do OCR... Or else I'm not sure that will all help haha.


pahah i do aqa unfortunately but thank you!! lit is the BANE of my existence - i did the bloody chamber for coursework and HATED it lol!
Reply 4
Original post by caitlinmm
pahah i do aqa unfortunately but thank you!! lit is the BANE of my existence - i did the bloody chamber for coursework and HATED it lol!

I'm sure they mostly apply though- slow writing techniques, essay planning, model answers. I'm sure if you give your teacher some essays to mark (not in timed conditions- so you can go in to depth abt it) then that will also help you feel more secure! Hahah, it also the bane of my existence... hence why I've applied for a degree in it...
Reply 5
Original post by mayland
I'm sure they mostly apply though- slow writing techniques, essay planning, model answers. I'm sure if you give your teacher some essays to mark (not in timed conditions- so you can go in to depth abt it) then that will also help you feel more secure! Hahah, it also the bane of my existence... hence why I've applied for a degree in it...


yeah I’ve given him a few, I’m gonna hopefully give him the ones i’ve done for my easter hw on monday - he always jokes I write way too much and it’s a pain to mark (just cos my writing is massive) but i guess it’s better than not enough💀
An A is great, do you have any revision tips?
Reply 7
Original post by MillieeM2
An A is great, do you have any revision tips?
A lot of it is unfortunately cramming like I said pahah but here’s some things that have helped me!

Blurting the key quotes/ scenes eg each scene of Othello. My teacher makes us every week take 5 mins to look at a quote sheet for whatever text we’re revising for it (eg could be all quotes on Brighton Rock) and then 5 minutes to write. Its kind of like a competition but it does motivate you to recall more, and is really really effective!! I'd recommend that, defo - little and often. it's helped me write up to 65 quotes for one text in 5 mins!

Making character studies - keep them brief tho! There can be so many characters in the course that I think this only really applies if you start doing it in year 12. Also I'd write a few brief plot studies, especially page numbers and events if youre doing AQA since paper 2 is open book. Eg key page numbers in Atonement, so then you don't have to waste time looking through the books in the exam.

Reread the texts! Honestly it helps SO much - it defo filled in any gaps I had in understanding eg Keats poems.

Before my mock, my friends and I planned out some past questions we had from a question bank - was mega helpful! Just decoding the question and understanding it is crucial


I’d mainly focus on recall recall recall of quotes, and grouping them into different themes/ characters - eg have a quote bank for Desdemona, Iago, Othello for Othello as a text to start with (if you’re on AQA of course) it makes it so much easier to differentiate the content. And rewriting key quotes onto one single page has helped me in terms of cramming lol - having all the best info on one page to look at before the exam. My teacher makes us always try to identify the best evidence, which often comes in patterns- eg motifs, semantic fields, transitions. Apparently the exam board like patterns as it shows more depth if you pair multiple quotes rather than just one, since it shows more understanding (thats what we got told)

Sorry if this was a bit wordy!! Id just say blurting quotes is key, and decoding questions! Also remembering the elements for each paper - eg if you do AQA revise the dramatic methods for Othello so you can better apply them in an extract, and remember tragic aspects etc so you can understand them quickly if they come up in a question - just ways of easily saving time.
Original post by caitlinmm
A lot of it is unfortunately cramming like I said pahah but here’s some things that have helped me!

Blurting the key quotes/ scenes eg each scene of Othello. My teacher makes us every week take 5 mins to look at a quote sheet for whatever text we’re revising for it (eg could be all quotes on Brighton Rock) and then 5 minutes to write. Its kind of like a competition but it does motivate you to recall more, and is really really effective!! I'd recommend that, defo - little and often. it's helped me write up to 65 quotes for one text in 5 mins!

Making character studies - keep them brief tho! There can be so many characters in the course that I think this only really applies if you start doing it in year 12. Also I'd write a few brief plot studies, especially page numbers and events if youre doing AQA since paper 2 is open book. Eg key page numbers in Atonement, so then you don't have to waste time looking through the books in the exam.

Reread the texts! Honestly it helps SO much - it defo filled in any gaps I had in understanding eg Keats poems.

Before my mock, my friends and I planned out some past questions we had from a question bank - was mega helpful! Just decoding the question and understanding it is crucial


I’d mainly focus on recall recall recall of quotes, and grouping them into different themes/ characters - eg have a quote bank for Desdemona, Iago, Othello for Othello as a text to start with (if you’re on AQA of course) it makes it so much easier to differentiate the content. And rewriting key quotes onto one single page has helped me in terms of cramming lol - having all the best info on one page to look at before the exam. My teacher makes us always try to identify the best evidence, which often comes in patterns- eg motifs, semantic fields, transitions. Apparently the exam board like patterns as it shows more depth if you pair multiple quotes rather than just one, since it shows more understanding (thats what we got told)
Sorry if this was a bit wordy!! Id just say blurting quotes is key, and decoding questions! Also remembering the elements for each paper - eg if you do AQA revise the dramatic methods for Othello so you can better apply them in an extract, and remember tragic aspects etc so you can understand them quickly if they come up in a question - just ways of easily saving time.


Thank you so much, it really helps 😌
Original post by caitlinmm
I’m currently in year 13 doing English lit (the first exam is in about 5 weeks!!) and have been getting A’s throughout, but I literally just cram. I think i’ve also been getting really frustrated with the subject having done it so long, and don’t really have the motivation like I did in year 12! i’ve started procrastinating WAY more. like, i sat down to do an Othello extract and just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I think i just get a bit in my head and then get upset for not being productive since I’ve been pretty productive for most of the easter holidays. Does anybody have any tips for focusing, especially in Eng lit, or how they broke their revision down to make it more manageable, or just focusing and writing essays? I’m doing Othello, Keats, Death of a salesman, then for p2 Wilde Crabbe and Browning poems, Atonement and Brighton Rock :smile:

heyy im sorry cant help but i also do othello, keats and death of salesman ( tragedy ) and u said u were getting As- i would love to see any essay you have ?

many thanks 🙂 im also in yr 13
Reply 10
Original post by spygirl123
heyy im sorry cant help but i also do othello, keats and death of salesman ( tragedy ) and u said u were getting As- i would love to see any essay you have ?
many thanks 🙂 im also in yr 13


ofc! i’ll try and remember tomorrow and dig a few out if possible :smile:
Original post by caitlinmm
ofc! i’ll try and remember tomorrow and dig a few out if possible :smile:

thankss :smile:) please pm me !!
Reply 12
Original post by spygirl123
thankss :smile:) please pm me !!


ahh sorry i’ve been a bit busy i forgot i apologise - i’ll defo try and find some essays over the weekend or friday and send you them for sure :smile:

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