What is the best way to revise A-level English Literature and what sort of general tips/techniques are useful when it comes to writing the essays?
KCL Grad | BA Eng Lang & Lit | 5 years exp | Journalist
A-level literature can be quite daunting to many students due to the amount of content that is required for them to learn and understand. However with a well thought out plan, you will be fine. The first step is to understand the texts you have been given for the exam. After going through it in class, it is a good idea to read up different notes on the text online, or in different revision guides. You can also find essays written on your chosen texts which may provide interesting insights that you otherwise would not have realised were present. Thereafter create a summary of each chapter and section of the book. It can be tempting to simply read these online but the act of writing and perhaps creating them in poster format will help you memorise. Alongside the major events in each section, you'd want to write down any important quote. Stick these up on your bedroom wall and make a habit of reading them daily. Once you have the content, it's time to work on your essay skills. Start with practice questions and after completing an essay, get feedback from your teacher or tutor and act on this feedback when it comes to your next essay. Once you are comfortable doing some essays, then start doing them in timed conditions. This will help prepare you for the exam. If you see a question that you don't particularly like the sound of, do that question and improve your answer until you feel confident. This all requires a plan and the dedication and motivation to stick to it. You should get to the stage where you look forward to mock exams as they become a chance for you to test out all the skills you've been practising. When writing essays, students often forget to plan. In their rush and panic to get writing, their thoughts may become jumbled. So they key thing is to remain calm, spend 3-5 minutes thinking about your main arguments and then beginning with a clear introduction. The only real way to improve your essay writing skills is to practise and act on feedback until you reach the grade you wish for. This requires a lot of time and effort but in the end it will be worth it!
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