This is part of an OCR English blog series rounding up practical insights and ideas from markers, teachers and the OCR English subject team to support you and your students with exam preparation.
With a couple of weeks to go until the A Level English Literature exams, it is sometimes difficult to know what areas you should be focusing on the most. Here is some general advice for your students for exam preparation success.
Timing is important. Students should be aware of the number of marks available for each question and spend an appropriate amount of time on the respective answers. Time spent reading, planning and checking is useful.
Planning is important. It leads to better use of time. For extract based questions it is good practice to plan by annotating/underlining the passage fully before beginning writing.
Relevance is important. Students should consider all aspects of the question. They do not need to write excessively long answers showing everything they know about a text, introducing extra material which is not strictly relevant, or starting to repeat ideas. Instead, they should apply their knowledge to the specific question set and to the requirements of the relevant Assessment Objectives.
Below is a recap of some of our FAQs and top tips to help your students prepare for their upcoming exams.
Section 1: Students answer a two part Shakespeare question:
Section 2: Students answer an essay question comparing their studied drama and poetry texts.
Students answer two questions:
In the extract based questions, examiners are looking for detailed understanding of language and its effects in relation to the text or topic area.
Students should remember that answers should do more than just spot features of the passage – quotations and effects have to be explained and analysed.
In the Shakespeare part a) extract question, students who explore Shakespeare’s language in terms of the characters who use it and the situations in which they utter it, show they understand the dramatic effects of the language. This could include reference to:
In Shakespeare part b), examiners are looking for relevant answers that show an understanding and an engagement with the view offered in the question. They are looking for an awareness and exploration of alternative readings of the text. This could include:
In the comparative essay questions, Examiners are looking for relevant responses that are consistently comparative.
Successful answers respond to all aspects of the prompt and move between the texts in relevantly linked paragraphs, making apt and specific links about the contexts of the texts.
To help answer some more of your questions, check out our previous blog A Level English Literature: your questions answered
Keeley Nolan, OCR English Subject Advisor
Keeley joined OCR five years ago as a Qualifications Manager for Modern Foreign Languages. In 2014, she joined the English team as a Subject Advisor, leading on the development of GCSE 9-1 English Language and supporting first teaching of the new specification. Keeley currently looks after the OCR A Level English Language and A Level Literature qualifications. Prior to joining OCR, after graduating with a BA Joint Hons in English and French from the University of Leeds, Keeley spent two years teaching English abroad. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, reading and swimming.