Your English Literature GCSE (AQA 8702) will be examined via two exams: one on “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Sign of the Four”, and the other on “Animal Farm”, Power and Conflict poetry and unseen poetry. Here are some tips on revising:
“Romeo and Juliet”, “The Sign of the Four” and “Animal Farm”
Make a time line of the key events of the text. Add a quote to each event that reminds you of its significance.
Make a list of key characters and themes. For each one, find the three best quotes to demonstrate them and learn the quotes (the exam is closed book). Choose short, sharp quotes that are easy to remember.
PEEL paragraphs are useful to practise for the exam because you may be able to make them apply to the question you are set. Spend time writing them, then learn the main points so you can use them in the exam. Here are some suggestions:
Practise writing 3 PEEL paragraphs about a character. Use the quotes you have learnt about them. Explain how they are presented at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the play. How has the presentation of the character changed?
Take your three quotes about a theme. What do you think the writer is trying to tell the audience/reader about the theme, based on these quotes? Explain your ideas in a PEEL paragraph.
Power and Conflict poetry
Make a two-sentence summary of each poem. Your first sentence should summarise the events of the poem, and the second sentence should summarise the poet’s message or reason for writing the poem.
Identify three key quotes from each poem – try to choose ones that use a literary technique, e.g. imagery, simile, etc. Learn these quotes and practise explaining how they make the reader feel and why.
Find pairs of poems that have similarities in terms of the content, themes or techniques. Can you also find a difference between these poems? Why do you think these poems differ? Practise writing a PEEL paragraph explaining the similarities and differences between two poems.
Find poems online with a similar topic or theme as one of the studied poems. Practise explaining what the poem is about, what the poet is trying to tell the reader and how the techniques of the poem make the reader feel. Look at this website for poems: http://www.poemhunter.com/
There are commercial revision guides available. If you decide to buy one, ensure it is for English Language or English Literature GCSE with the AQA exam board for the 2017 exams.