What is the best way to revise for your English Literature exams? There’s no need to panic if you’re not sure how to approach this important task, as everyone will study in a way suited to them. We’ve put together our top 7 English Literature Revision Tips 2019 to help you find a way which works best for you, while avoiding common exam preparation mistakes and distractions.
English Literature Revision Tips 2019
1 – Understand the Exam
This may seem obvious, but it’s really important to fully understand how your exam actually works. Will you have access to the studied texts or will you have to memorise quotes? What texts will you be asked questions on in each paper? This will inform how your potential revision strategy.
You should be able to confidently explain how your exam works to another person – if you can’t, make this the first task for your revision, and if in doubt you should ask your teacher to explain. Being able to confidently know the structure of the papers and exams will enable you to focus on writing your response.
2 – Actually read your set texts
If you haven’t read the prescribed texts for your exam, then stop reading this guide immediately and go and read them instead. A summary doesn’t count either – you need to read the texts in full to help ensure you have a full and complete understanding. Not got a copy of your text? Order one now (or use Amazon Prime for one day delivery).
Examiners are always coming up with new ways to ask questions, and a summary is not guaranteed to cover enough of the required topic. Reading summaries and analysis is of course a great way to supplement your knowledge as a quick revision tool, but this shouldn’t be the only thing you do.
3 – What is the examiner looking for?
Your Assessment Objectives (AO1, AO2 etc) are what your response will be marked against. Each of your assessment objectives will cover a different topic, such as analysis, comparison or context. Some papers in your exam will require different objectives to be met; for example a Drama question may require context but not a comparison. Make sure you completely understand what is required in each question, as it would be a huge mistake to waste time revising an un-assessed objective, and even worse to forget about an assessment objective.
4 – Properly structure your revision
Develop a study and revision timetable for the period up to the exams. Providing structure to your revision and learning will help you to focus and make your work as effective as possible – as long as you stick to it!
A ‘timetable’ may sound a bit boring, but it’s important to keep it interesting and suited to the way that you study best. Try to identify and prioritise which technique works best for you:
- Visual – note-taking and creative mapping of information, to commit things to memory
- Audio – videos, music or other recordings
- Hands On – activities that involve interaction, such as flashcards and revision games
Extra Resources from Interpreture:
- Spotify Playlists if you like to listen to music when you study
- Flashcards and Quizzes on Quizlet
- Kahoot! Games and Quizzes
Watching a film or dramatic adaptation is a great option regardless of your main study technique, as it can help to remind you of the storyline and important techniques, while not being as energy intensive as writing a practice essay or making notes. It can highlight any particular themes or messages the writer and/or director may have wanted for the audience that you might have overlooked when originally reading the text.
5 – Master the Fundamentals
Practice your handwriting, grammar, spelling and punctuation. Use practice sessions and past papers to refine, improve and develop your essay-writing skills and the essentials of good, written English. Remember, if the Examiner can’t read your work, they won’t mark it!
Using a range of accurate literary terminology is a great way to impress an examiner and demonstrate to them that you deserve a high mark. Interpreture has an extensive range of literary term explainers to help you understand different literary techniques and able to explain them in your essays.
6 – Don’t start from scratch
Make sure you keep and review your class notes, and see if you can expand or develop them during your own revision. They’re what you’ve been working on for at least the past year, so don’t forget about them now!
Check with your teacher if you are unsure on any points, ensuring that anything you may have been confused about before is understood in time for your exam.
7 – Reward yourself
Revising and studying can be hard, so it’s super important to reward yourself. Don’t wait until the end of the day or week either – after each ‘chunk’ of revision, give yourself something that will help to provide further motivation to keep going.
Whether it’s something good to eat, time playing a game or watching a TV show, find something that will genuinely motivate you further. However, don’t fall into the trap of giving yourself ‘just 5 more minutes’ for your reward, as before you know it the day will be over and you won’t have stuck to your timetable. As such, prioritise rewards that have a clear finish point rather than those that can easily keep going.