Asked by AshEnglish 🇬🇧

How can I improve my grades in English Literature?

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Bushra Ahmed

Qualified English teacher & Entrance Exam Coach (7+|8+|11+)

Know your texts - create a plot summary. Be familiar with themes - track these and include quotes. Ensure you are comfortable with terminology. Have a strategy for comparative answers - depends on which exam board you’re with, but if required, ensure you can find similarities and differences (particularly for poetry). Practice writing your paragraphs - keep an eye on timings. Most students don’t write quick enough! Having a qualified English teacher to support you can also have a huge impact. Feedback is key when it comes to improving the quality of your writing.

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Mary Ogundamisi

I’m passionate about teaching + giving support to those who may need extra help.

All the answers so far are very valid! Another thing I would recommend is paying attention to the mark scheme. Spend time looking at exactly what they’re asking you for, write your own simplified condensed version and making sure in your writing you’re ticking every box. I’d also recommend practicing many past questions. The likelihood is that the question that will come up will have some relevance to questions you’ve already done and by practicing loads you already have an idea of what you’re going to say in the real exam. Every time you write an essay get a teacher to look at it. They can identify your weaknesses so you know where to focus your revision.

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Ikraan Binyusuf

Dedicated tutor and undergraduate at University College London (UCL)

The best thing you can do to improve your grade is by identifying your weaknesses. By doing this you’ll be able to directly focus on the areas you can improve. Also, by looking at examiner reports published by your exam board, you’ll be able to see what students generally do really well in exams and where they can improve this will allow you to approach and prepare for exams better. Ultimately, your marked against an exam criteria which is broken into assessment objectives. If you understand what each assessment objective requires and ensure you can apply them effectively, you are most likely to see a significant improvement in your grades! Hope that helps.

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Jordan Gill

Qualified teacher and examiner of English GCSEs.

There are a huge amount of things you can do to improve your grade in literature. Firstly, if you have the money, working with a qualified English tutor is the best thing you can do! Especially one that has taught the texts you’re studying. I would also recommend getting revision guides for your texts. There are plenty available on Amazon and other sites. YouTube has an excellent selection of videos from Mr Bruff and other tutors and teachers for free that analyse all the texts and poetry you’ll be studying in detail. If you could combine all of these you’ll do great! I’d also recommend re-reading key sections of the texts you’re studying and ask your teacher/tutor to provide you with sample questions or past papers you can practice at home. Try timing your answers for a real challenge and to improve your skills! The exam board are looking for perceptive, insightful reading and comprehension as well as critical analysis of the texts, so the more in depth you can go in your PEE paragraphs, the better. Your explanations needs to be in depth, and insightful. That’s where the best students get their high grades. Also, don’t feel you have to stick to the PEE structure your school gives you. The top students structure their paragraphs in interesting ways and don’t just rely on the formulaic approach of PEE paragraphs. You can also create a revision plan so that every week you study a different part of a text. For example in week 1 you could study a theme, in week 2 a key character etc. There is no substitute for getting a good tutor though, so if you can afford it, go for it! Ideally get a qualified teacher that has taught your texts and knows them inside out! Even better if you get a qualified examiner too! There’s plenty you can do on your own though, and attend after school revision sessions if your school offers them. Even if you didn’t spend any money at all, you can find excellent free resources on YouTube and your teacher should be more than happy to supply you with revision packs and sample questions. I hope that helps! Jordan (a qualified English teacher, GCSE examiner and tutor of over 6 years experience).

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Auguste Daukseviciute

I’ve worked at a tutoring centre for over a year now, teaching children Maths

I would say re-read the book and make flash cards with all the relevant quotes, also try and learn some which can link to different themes throughout the book. Also learn some context so you can get the AO3 in. I’d also recommend the website ‘Seneca’ which offers many revision materials on different novels/plays for the English lit exam.

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Josh Prince

I want to help you achieve amazing GCSE results!

Learn the books and quotes from the books inside out by re reading them, making revision flash cards, making posters or whatever else you find helps you. Practice questions also help, what I used to do was make essay plans so I knew what to write for a long English Literature question but it didn’t take 40 mins of writing. Let me know if you need any help, I’ve got a lot of English resources I’d be happy to share with you.

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