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Achieving an A for A-Level Literature

Updated on March 23, 2015
My A-Level Literature classroom.
My A-Level Literature classroom. | Source

Immerse Yourself in Literary Studies

Literary Studies really starts becoming a lived experience when you immerse yourself in the world of writers and their writing. Put up posters of the writers that you are studying along with extracts of their writing. Get to know your texts really well; have a notebook handy and into jot down favourite lines of poems, extracts of dialogue or anything that really grips your imagination or moves you.

The more you become invested in all things literary, the more comfortable you will become in the world of literature and the more you will enjoy the freedom to explore, to allow your mind room to breathe and your imagination room to roam around unfamiliar realms. These are the gifts that literary studies brings in addition to the excitement of exploring new texts!

Begin developing this mind-set starting now and you will begin to enjoy the hard work that analysing literature entails.

Achieving an A for A-Level Literature

The University of my choice needs an A for A-Level Literature from me.
Can I do it?

Well, the short answer to that question is … very probably … if you approach it in the right way; if you can be clear in your own mind about what improvements you, personally, have to make in both your style of work and essay and exam writing.

Set a clear goal:To achieve an A for A-Level Literature [or AS Literature] in the final exams.

Now set out with determination to realise your goal. Be single-minded about it.

Get to know where you stand now in literary studies and compare it to where you need to be to earn and richly deserve your A. Then systematically and deliberately work to raise the level of your responses to match what is required. Study the Assessment Objectives and mark schemes of your particular A-Level examining body (CIE or GCE Singapore, A-Level India, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Nigeria, OCR, AQA, to name a few) to see what they are demanding of you.

Once you have clarity on this, look with an analytical eye at the essays you have written so far or last year and assess them carefully to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

Ask yourself:

Where I am at right this minute?

  • What are my strengths as a student of literature?
  • And where lie my weaknesses?

Be as concrete as possible, e.g. mostly I pick up well on a writer’s use of metaphor and simile and their implications, but I seem to have a blind spot for contrasts in a text.

Once you have completed your self-analysis, make an appointment with your English teacher and sit down with him or her for a serious discussion on your findings and ambitions and ask for their opinion and assessment. If your teacher is aware of what you are setting out to achieve, he or she will in all likelihood become more supportive and helpful. Take all the help you can get.

Remember that it is vital to be non-judgemental about yourself and where you stand. Work consistently, deliberately and with awareness. Track your progresss so that you can celebrate improvements and just grit your teeth and keep on working to defeat stubborn weaknesses. They will eventually yield, so keep pushing.

Keep that momentum going.


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