How to smash your English Lit A-Level revision

whether you are planning on studying English at uni or not, here are my top tips to help you to smash your English Lit A-Level revision and get the best result you can in the run-up to your exams!


Spider diagrams, thought bubbles, mind-maps, whatever you want to call them, they are the essential study tool, especially for English Lit. Take a novel, poem, play etc. and create a mind-map looking at themes, characters and big motifs or symbols. Then make similar mind-maps but incorporate possible exam questions/ideas to help you start structuring ideas and answers for your exam!

Colours galore!

Use different coloured pens, highlighters, and post-its to help with memorising quotes and points, in particular in your mind-maps and diagrams. Not only will they brighten the revision process (even slightly!), but it is scientifically proven that colours help with mental recall! Plus, who wants to stick with blue, black and white colour schemes?

Create “banks”

Help ease the enormous task of learning quotations by selecting a few key ones and putting them in “banks” or on flashcards. The same goes for critics and context; start saving up and you will be rich in revision in no time!

Look at past papers

Pretty obvious, but a lot of GCSE and A-Level students sometimes forget to look at PPQs! See what sort of questions have been asked in the past and get a feel for the exam structure. ALSO look at the relevant mark schemes! Figure out what is expected of you by the examiner and be aware of common mistakes students make year on year that the examiner mentions in their report (this is attached to the mark scheme).

Practice, practice, practice!

Again, an obvious tip, but try to practice under exam conditions with past English Lit A-Level papers or questions you have made up or think might come up in the real exam. Ask your teacher to mark it for you or swap with friends and critique each other’s responses. This is the only way you will be able to experience how quickly time goes by in an exam, and you can judge your time-keeping skills and adjust them accordingly! And no cheating or ‘just another 5 minutes’!

Take a break

Make a cup of tea, go for a stroll or play with your siblings or pets. You cannot be expected to study 24/7 so organise a routine where you allow yourself 10-15 minutes to stretch your legs and let your brain relax. Avoid Netflix or tv though! That 20-minute programme can turn into a series binge very easily, as I know all too well! Be good to yourself but also don’t abuse the break-system.

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