The Student Room Group

English Alevel revision help

Hi. I have my first A level on May 1st and am stressing about remembering quotes and writing essays, particularly for William Blake songs of innocence and experience and Chaucer Merchants tale since it hasn't been assessed in a while. If anyone has any advice on how I should spend the next few weeks revising more effectively, I'd really appreciate it.

Also there is a choice between passage and whole text questions, and although I know I should plan for both, if there is a text that is very large or I'm not entirely confident on (such as McEwan's Atonement) would it be a sensible choice to plan and revise limiting myself to a passage based question?
Hi, what I am doing to help me remember quotes from long texts is:
1) Create a document
2) Summarise each chapter/scene in maybe a 100 words because this helps in remembering the context of especially extract based essay questions.
3) Keep adding quotes from the text on the doc as you are reading.
4) Colour coding the quotes depending on theme/character, etc really helps because most whole text questions are based on either a character or a theme. So you will be able to remember what quotes contribute to the relevant theme.

On deciding whether to do the extract based question or the whole text one, I would say that if you struggle to remember quotes or chapter numbers, etc., you should do the extract based one. The extract based one, however, requires you to know some context of where the extract is placed in the book (what happens before and after) and also most of these kinds require a stronger ability to analyse language and structure in depth. You are also restricted to that passage so if you are not able to recollect reading the extract given, it is hard. The whole text ones are more open and you can choose what points and scenes to include in your essay. As you are saying you are not entirely confident on the text, I would say you focus on analysing language and structure, i.e.. specific linguistic, narrative, dialogue, word classes, and figurative devices and techniques, which is what will help if you do decide to answer the extract based question. Also try to link the extract and themes presented the text as a whole and how the extract contributes to the overall play/novel, etc.

Hope this helps. All the best!!

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