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5 steps to revising English GCSE literature

Whether you’re preparing for an exam on of Shakespeare’s famous plays or a modern piece of work, getting your head around literature can be a challenge. As GCSE have changed, it’s become even more important for you to understand the literature you’re working on but how should you be studying the texts that have been chosen by your school? We’ve got five ways to help you prepare.

  1. Get to know the text

You’ve no doubt read your exam text in class but you really need to make sure you get to grips with it. You should have a clear outline of the plot in your head and be able to give a quick summary of what the book is about. If you read the book weeks before the exams, it’s worth giving it a skim read beforehand at least to act as a refresher.

  1. List the key themes

Themes within the literature will play an important role in your exam, especially if your exam requires you to compare two set pieces of text. For each piece of literature you’re studying list the key themes and then expand on these further, looking at the less common ones, to create a mind map.

  1. Pull out important quotes

Even when the exam is an open book exam, where you have access to a copy of the text, knowing key quotes can still help. Under the time pressure of exams, having a rough idea of which quotes you’d use to highlight certain themes can save your precious minutes. Having a library of quotes that you’ve pulled out can help you create well-formed answers with the backing of evidence to increase you mark further.

  1. Discuss the book with your friends

Whether it’s a class discussing or you’re just talking about the upcoming exams with your friends, simply talking about the literature is a great way to help you better understand the text. It gives you a chance to get some feedback from the ideas you’ve formed, and you might even get some new inspiration you could use in the exam too.

  1. Put your knowledge to the test

The best way to see how well you’re understanding the text and get an idea of how you’ll perform in the exam is to try your hand at a practice paper. With our resources, you can see exactly how questions should be structure to obtain maximum points and hear from experts.