The Student Room Group

English Literature help!!!

hi!! this is a little late because the exam is in just over 2 weeks but I have been incredibly deep in denial and it's only setting in now lolol.

so anyway back in year 10 I was getting grade 9s in English lit and I really loved it as a subject !! (I still do, sort of.) But then my teacher left and we had a lot of staff shortage issues leaving my year group with no personalised feedback or help with improving our mock grades, especially for English which led to my grade falling. Now I am predicted a 6- which is still a decent grade, but I would love to at least get a 7 if I still have a chance. I have been making SO many mind maps for characters and themes but I'm not sure if this alone is effective or what else I can do. Any advice or reassurance would be appreciated, thank you!!! (AQA exam board, Texts are Romeo and Juliet, A Christmas Carol and An Inspector Calls.)
Original post by mapleyttd
hi!! this is a little late because the exam is in just over 2 weeks but I have been incredibly deep in denial and it's only setting in now lolol.
so anyway back in year 10 I was getting grade 9s in English lit and I really loved it as a subject !! (I still do, sort of.) But then my teacher left and we had a lot of staff shortage issues leaving my year group with no personalised feedback or help with improving our mock grades, especially for English which led to my grade falling. Now I am predicted a 6- which is still a decent grade, but I would love to at least get a 7 if I still have a chance. I have been making SO many mind maps for characters and themes but I'm not sure if this alone is effective or what else I can do. Any advice or reassurance would be appreciated, thank you!!! (AQA exam board, Texts are Romeo and Juliet, A Christmas Carol and An Inspector Calls.)

hey, i'm about to sit my IB english exam next week, firstly lots of people's predicted grades have gone down one as the boundaries for english are ridiculously high... But if you're wanting help for the literature exam where you write an essay based on two books you have read, genuinely just prepare lots of quotes and know the main themes of the books... I find that just knowing the quotes and mainly what happens along with themes means I can analyse the quotes in the exam.. hope this helps.
Original post by mapleyttd
hi!! this is a little late because the exam is in just over 2 weeks but I have been incredibly deep in denial and it's only setting in now lolol.
so anyway back in year 10 I was getting grade 9s in English lit and I really loved it as a subject !! (I still do, sort of.) But then my teacher left and we had a lot of staff shortage issues leaving my year group with no personalised feedback or help with improving our mock grades, especially for English which led to my grade falling. Now I am predicted a 6- which is still a decent grade, but I would love to at least get a 7 if I still have a chance. I have been making SO many mind maps for characters and themes but I'm not sure if this alone is effective or what else I can do. Any advice or reassurance would be appreciated, thank you!!! (AQA exam board, Texts are Romeo and Juliet, A Christmas Carol and An Inspector Calls.)

Don't worry, making mind maps is a great idea! You could also try planning some past questions and the structure you'll use to answer them. When making the mind maps, make sure you're including as many quotes as you can remember and all of the relevant context (which gets 6 marks per question I think). The chances are, you already know the language techniques to analyse the quotes with, but you might not write much about structural techniques. If you can revise them, you'll really impress the examiner. If you're struggling to remember the plots of any of the texts then Sparknotes might have some chapter summaries for you to read. Good luck!
character mind maps are great but you're running out of time. you need to start practicing essays. practice past papers, predicted questions, even make your own questions up and answer them. JUST PRACTICE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.

if you still don't have a teacher/have a bad teacher then go to your head of department for english or another teacher and ask them to mark your essays. it doesn't matter if they aren't your teacher, they're still there to help students SO USE THEM!

it's great if you get 25/30, 28/30 etc. but please don't stop doing essay questions. even if you get 30/30 keep practicing. you NEED to nail down your exam technique, your timing, your structure etc.

PLEASE TIME YOUR ESSAYS. timing is super important for english so try and complete your essays under time limit.

memorise quotes using flashcards and pick quotes THAT YOU KNOW HOW TO ANALYSE AND THE ONES THAT CONTAIN ANALYSIS THAT YOU ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND. please don't pick out quotes you can only analyse on surface level, you won't get the top grades. memorise quotes that you can analyse in depth and the ones that you know you can accurately link to context and the actual question. DON'T THROW IN QUOTES UNRELATED TO THE QUESTION!

here's the structure i use for my essays:

overarching statement/thesis statement - make it hooking and mention everything you're going to talk about in your essay here. if it's a 'how does X character change throughout the play/novel?' then briefly mention how they progress using an arc (start, middle, end). we both do an inspector calls so let me give you an example.

'how does sheila change throughout an inspector calls?'

The play commences with Sheila Birling depicted as naive and immature. She has no understanding of the suffering the working class go through and initially portrays childlike behaviour when referring to her parents at the start of the play. Gradually, she begins to develop and become more assertive and confident, standing up for herself, especially when confronting Gerald about his affair with Daisy and voicing her opinions throughout the questioning while the Inspector is around. Slowly, she starts understanding the cruel conditions the working class live in, and what people like Eva experience. Through this, she begins to become more understanding of real-world struggles and towards the end of the play she takes responsibility for her actions and is more aware. Her character is cleverly employed by Priestley to convey his opinions on socialism. Using Sheila, he highlights the differences between the older and younger generation's response to the Inspector's warning, as Sheila takes responsibility for her actions while her parents don't and is hopeful for society to execute a more socialist view.


okay it's a bit long, it could be a bit more specific but ii think what you get what i mean by the arc (hopefully).
use fancy words (employs, constructs etc.) when talking about how the writer uses the characters to convey something.
notice how i didn't start with 'Sheila changes in An Inspector Calls by...' THAT'S BORING. The examiner is going to read hundreds of essays with the exact same beginning. make yours STAND OUT. make it INTERESTING and capture the examiner's interest.

paragraph 1 - on extract and normally i use the structure:
point
embed quote
sometimes basic analysis (verb, noun)
complex analysis (metaphor, juxtaposition) and writer's intention (what ideas are created? why? etc.)
if possible connotations of a word so basically zoom in
and an alternative interpretation to my quote
CONTEXT THAT RELATES TO THE QUESTION
and link back.

paragraph 2 - should still be on extract (if we aren't talking about inspector calls)

paragraph 3 - referring to whole text (if we aren't talking about inspector calls)

paragraph 4 - referring to whole text (if we aren't talking about inspector calls)

conclusion - this doesn't get you more marks but it rounds off your essay and impresses the examiner so please please finish with a well written conclusion.

write more paragraphs if you have time and you don't have to do 2 on the extract and 2 on the whole text but it's how i prefer to do it.

good luck!

(i hate romeo and juliet sorry just had to put it out there).
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 4
Original post by AliTobitt
Don't worry, making mind maps is a great idea! You could also try planning some past questions and the structure you'll use to answer them. When making the mind maps, make sure you're including as many quotes as you can remember and all of the relevant context (which gets 6 marks per question I think). The chances are, you already know the language techniques to analyse the quotes with, but you might not write much about structural techniques. If you can revise them, you'll really impress the examiner. If you're struggling to remember the plots of any of the texts then Sparknotes might have some chapter summaries for you to read. Good luck!

thank you so much!!!!! you're right in thinking I don't write much on structural techniques haha it's my biggest literature weakness!!! I will go and revise them as much as I can before the 13th !!!
Reply 5
Original post by Moonakitty
character mind maps are great but you're running out of time. you need to start practicing essays. practice past papers, predicted questions, even make your own questions up and answer them. JUST PRACTICE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.
if you still don't have a teacher/have a bad teacher then go to your head of department for english or another teacher and ask them to mark your essays. it doesn't matter if they aren't your teacher, they're still there to help students SO USE THEM!
it's great if you get 25/30, 28/30 etc. but please don't stop doing essay questions. even if you get 30/30 keep practicing. you NEED to nail down your exam technique, your timing, your structure etc.
PLEASE TIME YOUR ESSAYS. timing is super important for english so try and complete your essays under time limit.
memorise quotes using flashcards and pick quotes THAT YOU KNOW HOW TO ANALYSE AND THE ONES THAT CONTAIN ANALYSIS THAT YOU ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND. please don't pick out quotes you can only analyse on surface level, you won't get the top grades. memorise quotes that you can analyse in depth and the ones that you know you can accurately link to context and the actual question. DON'T THROW IN QUOTES UNRELATED TO THE QUESTION!
here's the structure i use for my essays:
overarching statement/thesis statement - make it hooking and mention everything you're going to talk about in your essay here. if it's a 'how does X character change throughout the play/novel?' then briefly mention how they progress using an arc (start, middle, end). we both do an inspector calls so let me give you an example.
'how does sheila change throughout an inspector calls?'
The play commences with Sheila Birling depicted as naive and immature. She has no understanding of the suffering the working class go through and initially portrays childlike behaviour when referring to her parents at the start of the play. Gradually, she begins to develop and become more assertive and confident, standing up for herself, especially when confronting Gerald about his affair with Daisy and voicing her opinions throughout the questioning while the Inspector is around. Slowly, she starts understanding the cruel conditions the working class live in, and what people like Eva experience. Through this, she begins to become more understanding of real-world struggles and towards the end of the play she takes responsibility for her actions and is more aware. Her character is cleverly employed by Priestley to convey his opinions on socialism. Using Sheila, he highlights the differences between the older and younger generation's response to the Inspector's warning, as Sheila takes responsibility for her actions while her parents don't and is hopeful for society to execute a more socialist view.
okay it's a bit long, it could be a bit more specific but ii think what you get what i mean by the arc (hopefully).
use fancy words (employs, constructs etc.) when talking about how the writer uses the characters to convey something.
notice how i didn't start with 'Sheila changes in An Inspector Calls by...' THAT'S BORING. The examiner is going to read hundreds of essays with the exact same beginning. make yours STAND OUT. make it INTERESTING and capture the examiner's interest.
paragraph 1 - on extract and normally i use the structure:
point
embed quotesometimes basic analysis (verb, noun)
complex analysis (metaphor, juxtaposition) and writer's intention (what ideas are created? why? etc.)if possible connotations of a word so basically zoom in
and an alternative interpretation to my quote
CONTEXT THAT RELATES TO THE QUESTION
and link back.paragraph 2 - should still be on extract (if we aren't talking about inspector calls)
paragraph 3 - referring to whole text (if we aren't talking about inspector calls)
paragraph 4 - referring to whole text (if we aren't talking about inspector calls)
conclusion - this doesn't get you more marks but it rounds off your essay and impresses the examiner so please please finish with a well written conclusion.
write more paragraphs if you have time and you don't have to do 2 on the extract and 2 on the whole text but it's how i prefer to do it.
good luck!
(i hate romeo and juliet sorry just had to put it out there).

thank you!!!!!!!!!!!! the layout plan of each paragraph is so useful and I will make sure to put in a conclusion (I do usually try to anyway but they can be difficult to write)

I also am not the biggest fan of romeo and juliet I would've rather done Macbeth but it's grown on me a little
Original post by mapleyttd
thank you!!!!!!!!!!!! the layout plan of each paragraph is so useful and I will make sure to put in a conclusion (I do usually try to anyway but they can be difficult to write)
I also am not the biggest fan of romeo and juliet I would've rather done Macbeth but it's grown on me a little

Yeah I'm still struggling with timings 😭 I do Macbeth, Jane Eyre (literally no one here does it I swear it's a stupid novel really) and An Inspector Calls. I wish I did Jekyll & Hyde or A Christmas Carol or something instead of Jane Eyre.
Reply 7
Original post by Moonakitty
Yeah I'm still struggling with timings 😭 I do Macbeth, Jane Eyre (literally no one here does it I swear it's a stupid novel really) and An Inspector Calls. I wish I did Jekyll & Hyde or A Christmas Carol or something instead of Jane Eyre.

i didnt even realise jane eyre was an option 😅 that's how rare it is clearly lol !!! acc is kind of boring but the right teacher (or the muppets movie adaptation) can make it so much better thank god
Original post by mapleyttd
i didnt even realise jane eyre was an option 😅 that's how rare it is clearly lol !!! acc is kind of boring but the right teacher (or the muppets movie adaptation) can make it so much better thank god

jane eyre is about a girl (jane) who is an orphan and disliked by her aunt, humiliated at school, becomes a governess and falls in love with her boss who's 40 (she's 19) and he makes her jealous by flirting with another woman and plays with her feelings then they make up and are about to get married, she finds out he has a wife he stored in the attic because she's crazy, she knows bigamy is a sin so she runs away, ends up homeless and almost dying, a guy finds her and lets her into his house, he has 2 sisters, turns out all of them are cousins, turns out she has lots of money left from her dead uncle, she splits it between the 4 of them, the guy cousin proposes to jane (more like forces her into to become a missionary's wife so they can go to india together even though he doesn't love her), she hears her boss calling out her name, she goes back to where he lived is this grand place called Thornfield and it's burnt down because of his locked up wife in the attic and she jumped off the building, she finds out he's staying at this farmhouse, she goes to him, he victimises himself and pushes her away, they are still in love with each other and get married and have a baby.

take of the story what you will.
Reply 9
Original post by Moonakitty
jane eyre is about a girl (jane) who is an orphan and disliked by her aunt, humiliated at school, becomes a governess and falls in love with her boss who's 40 (she's 19) and he makes her jealous by flirting with another woman and plays with her feelings then they make up and are about to get married, she finds out he has a wife he stored in the attic because she's crazy, she knows bigamy is a sin so she runs away, ends up homeless and almost dying, a guy finds her and lets her into his house, he has 2 sisters, turns out all of them are cousins, turns out she has lots of money left from her dead uncle, she splits it between the 4 of them, the guy cousin proposes to jane (more like forces her into to become a missionary's wife so they can go to india together even though he doesn't love her), she hears her boss calling out her name, she goes back to where he lived is this grand place called Thornfield and it's burnt down because of his locked up wife in the attic and she jumped off the building, she finds out he's staying at this farmhouse, she goes to him, he victimises himself and pushes her away, they are still in love with each other and get married and have a baby.
take of the story what you will.

oh my god that is so. what is the context behind this what are the themes . was the author . okay.??????? im crying

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