English Literature features some of the greatest pieces of work ever written. As fun as it can be studying some of the best authors, revising for the English Literature GCSE exam is slightly different, and for most students, it can be confusing.
In most cases, the exam will ask you for your opinion in a short essay format instead of the multiple-choice or formula questions you’re accustomed to.
If you are constantly banging your head against the wall, wondering how to revise for English literature, this guide covers the most important revision notes you need to get started.
Understand the marking scheme
Before you even start revising your English Literature GCSE exam, you should first understand the mark scheme. It varies depending on your school’s exam board. After finding out which exam board your school falls under, scour for the mark scheme and use that as a starting point for your revision.
Check the criteria and create a list of the items you need to revise. This way, you will cover everything the exam board is looking for.
Create your own guide
If you don’t have the time to create your own guide or aren’t sure of how to make one, there are tonnes of premade guides for various literature texts that you can find online. The guides are packed with notes and annotations that can help you memorise and understand the plots, characters, and themes of your chosen texts.
However, you shouldn’t base all your English Lit revision on ready-made studies. Although these are great fodder for new thoughts and ideas, they aren’t substitutes for the original texts. You should also take time to read and understand the original texts because they are what you will be tested on.
Use examiner’s reports
Examiner’s reports are a little-used but highly essential tool in the revision of English literature. Although the reports don’t directly cover what is in the texts, they explain the most common mistakes in the previous year’s exams. They also highlight where the students were most successful.
Such insight can prove helpful in your revision, especially when you have the past papers that the reports are talking about. The report can help you iron out areas you didn’t think you had a problem in, fine-tune your approach to questions, and plan your argument better.
Most importantly, the reports will prevent you from making the same mistakes that previous students made and fine-tune you to give better, well-rounded responses that contain what the examiners are looking for.
Load up on past papers
Mastering the marking schemes and reading through all the original texts and any substitutes you find is a great strategy. However, you need to test yourself to see how well your revision is working. Past papers give you this opportunity.
Try working on as many past papers as you can. You can easily find example questions and old exam papers. The beauty of literature is that the questions are almost similar. If you do enough past papers, there’s a chance you will stumble on a similar question in your GCSE exam.
Engage your teacher
Most of the revision work is done at home, and while there’s no doubt you’re making great improvement, it can be difficult to identify areas where you need to improve. This is where your teacher comes in.
Most literature teachers are more than happy to jump in and help you in any way they can. When you complete any extra work at home or even complete a past paper, you can hand it to your teacher to mark it.
You can get a clearer picture of the grade you would likely get by having your teacher mark the exam, and if there are any places the teacher thinks you can improve, they will gladly provide you with feedback. Equally important, they can help clear out areas you find most challenging.
Hire an English Literature Tutor
Another crucial revision resource is a tutor. English tutors have gone through the same system and performed exceptionally well. Most of them are University Graduates who have pursued English and English literature specialised courses. They have the information, knowledge, and experience you need to succeed in your English literature GCSE exams.
Hiring a private tutor means you have access to a wealth of knowledge at your convenience. Also, English GCSE tutors do more than help you revise and stick to your schedule. They help you build confidence and learn tips and tricks on how to approach different questions and make the most out of your time in the exam room. Such information can prove vital in helping you get a few extra marks that could earn you a higher grade.
Preparing for your English Literature exam doesn’t have to feel frustrating and time-consuming. With these revision tips and guidelines, you will have a much easier time knowing what you should revise. But don’t forget that the hard part is sticking with the revision schedule and getting some work done. There are no shortcuts to success, just hard work, and consistency.