The Student Room Group

A-level help - politics, English and textiles

Hi everyone,

Hope you are feeling okay about exams! I thought I would come on here to share some advice and help anyone with anything they might be struggling with.

I studied government and politics, English combined and textiles at A-Level so feel free to ask me any questions you may have. It can be anything from revision tips to coping with exam stress!

Good Luck :smile:
-Grace (Kingston Rep)
Original post by Kingston Reps
Hi everyone,
Hope you are feeling okay about exams! I thought I would come on here to share some advice and help anyone with anything they might be struggling with.
I studied government and politics, English combined and textiles at A-Level so feel free to ask me any questions you may have. It can be anything from revision tips to coping with exam stress!
Good Luck :smile:
-Grace (Kingston Rep)

Hi there Grace!
I was wondering whether you have any tips for English Language IAL? Like, I'm aiming to get a B+, but I'm currently really struggling on all papers; I can't get past C, and I can't seem to structure my writing into neat, coherent expressions like they do in the model answers and the mark schemes. Compared to their analyzations, my writing seems so amateur and generalised; I can't narrow down my response down to be specific. If you have any advice for things like efficiently selecting phrases to analyse and write about, or phrasing a response in a way that seems professional, or even just completing the test on time, it would be really helpful and well appreciated!
Thanks in advance.
Original post by feathersOfebony
Hi there Grace!
I was wondering whether you have any tips for English Language IAL? Like, I'm aiming to get a B+, but I'm currently really struggling on all papers; I can't get past C, and I can't seem to structure my writing into neat, coherent expressions like they do in the model answers and the mark schemes. Compared to their analyzations, my writing seems so amateur and generalised; I can't narrow down my response down to be specific. If you have any advice for things like efficiently selecting phrases to analyse and write about, or phrasing a response in a way that seems professional, or even just completing the test on time, it would be really helpful and well appreciated!
Thanks in advance.

Hi @feathersOfebony

This is definitely something I struggled with at first, especially having to write so quickly I would worry that I could have found a better quote or done a better analysis. But not to worry, there is definitely some ways to improve this! Timed practice questions are of course very helpful to get use to the timings, planning and writing quickly, however I found this very time consuming so I focused more on creating practice question plans. I used previous questions or just made up my own, to make sure I covered as many themes as I could, and then created plans briefly of what quotes I would use and the points that I would make. Sometimes I would do this timed as in the exam you will probably have enough time for a 5/10 minute plan depending on the question.

It might also then be useful to turn you essay plans into flashcards, I used Quizlet so that I could look through them on the bus and refresh myself on the quotes and points to make.

I also created flashcards for theories and terms that I could use in my analysis. For example for each text I would have a set of flashcards for common terms that are useful when analysing that text, like for A Handmaids Tale I would have terms like aptronym and then the meaning on the other side so I could start to become familiar and comfortable with using the terms in analysis.

I also did this for the different language levels, I don't know if this is taught everywhere but for us there where 6 different levels and we where encouraged in an essay to try and analyse using something from each. They would be like level 1 was lexis and semantics and then level 6 was discourse. So if you have this then again getting familiar with the terms makes it then easier to use them.

When it comes to selecting phrases I think this links to having the essay plans, learn good quotes for each theme that can be used in a range of different answers and themes.

I hope this helps and isn't too confusing 🙂 If you have any questions feel free to ask!
-Grace (Kingston Rep)
Thanks a lot for the advice! In fact, inventing my own questions is something I haven't thought about, so that's an idea I've definitely got to try. As for A Handmaid's Tale or books like that, I actually haven't studied those yet because I think that they belong to English Literature and not English Language... I'm not so sure, since maybe it's taught at other syllabuses(I'm doing Edexcel). But anyways, thanks again 😊
Original post by feathersOfebony
Thanks a lot for the advice! In fact, inventing my own questions is something I haven't thought about, so that's an idea I've definitely got to try. As for A Handmaid's Tale or books like that, I actually haven't studied those yet because I think that they belong to English Literature and not English Language... I'm not so sure, since maybe it's taught at other syllabuses(I'm doing Edexcel). But anyways, thanks again 😊

Hi @feathersOfebony

I'm glad it was helpful! And yes I studied English Language and Literature, not English Language so it probably is different texts and books :smile:

-Grace (Kingston Rep)
Reply 5
Original post by Kingston Reps
Hi everyone,
Hope you are feeling okay about exams! I thought I would come on here to share some advice and help anyone with anything they might be struggling with.
I studied government and politics, English combined and textiles at A-Level so feel free to ask me any questions you may have. It can be anything from revision tips to coping with exam stress!
Good Luck :smile:
-Grace (Kingston Rep)

how did you revise for politics? I can write the essays well. But they've given us the questions all year so we could develop our writing and now I don't know how to prepare for an unseen one 😭😭😭
My mocks are in two weeks and I don't know what or how to cover content. The textbooks go on and on I don't know what to prioritize
Original post by Ajhdhd
how did you revise for politics? I can write the essays well. But they've given us the questions all year so we could develop our writing and now I don't know how to prepare for an unseen one 😭😭😭
My mocks are in two weeks and I don't know what or how to cover content. The textbooks go on and on I don't know what to prioritize

Hi @Ajhdhd

It can be so overwhelming as there is just so much. First think about what you need to focus on the most, for me it was the quotes I needed to know what quotes I could use for each topic, so I did practice essay plans and flashcards to help with this and focusing on case studies in the text book. It's good you have identified already that you know the structure and now just need a refresh of the content.

Maybe key debates would be a good to focus on in the textbooks as that is really what the questions are. Of course prioritise which ever paper is first and I don't know if you are doing the A-level were you compare UK and US but if you are of course it is great to focus on UK and have strong knowledge on those topics as it is in both.

The best thing to do is work back from you exam dates and plan what topic/themes you are going to revise each week/day. And try and be as realistic as possible with how much you can get done before the exam. Planning and prioritising can really help break up the content and making it seem less overwhelming, as the work is then spread over the weeks/days. I would start with the topics you struggle with the most.

Sometimes for me going through the questions on the last pages of each topic in the text book and seeing if I could write an essay plan for them would help me see where there were gaps in my knowledge.

For example you have two weeks so that's 14 days, I think there was 12 topics in paper one so maybe it's that you look over the questions of one of those topics a day and then on the last two days look over key things or quotes. And then move on to paper two, or maybe it's that some days you need to do two topics if you have paper two soon after. The mocks are really about learning to manage your time and are great practice.

As long as you have a general idea of the topic and know some good quotes you should be able to write great essays :smile:

I also have another post I will link about revision techniques Revision Techniques That Helped Me - The Student Room, this might just give you some ideas or inspiration.

I hope this helps and good luck!
-Grace (Kingston Rep)
Original post by Ajhdhd
how did you revise for politics? I can write the essays well. But they've given us the questions all year so we could develop our writing and now I don't know how to prepare for an unseen one 😭😭😭
My mocks are in two weeks and I don't know what or how to cover content. The textbooks go on and on I don't know what to prioritize

@Ajhdhd
I also forgot to mention making up your own question can be really useful to help prepare for unseen questions!

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