How do I prepare for an essay question based on an unseen text?

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When preparing for an essay question that is based on an unseen text, many students see this as a daunting concept, as I did when studying for my A levels too! However, in reality, you will know the text a lot more confidently than you have ever realised. The main way to do this is re-reading the book, at least once, if not two or three times, prior to the exam. By doing this, you are naturally getting the quotes into your head by reiterating them, especially if you go over the text slowly and efficiently. I also found making flash cards a particularly helpful method; pick five quotes for a range of themes and characters and just keep going over them. You will realise in fact that many quotes cross over in their relevance for themes and characters making your job much easier! Once you're confident with this make yourself some essay plans using the quotes and get friends and family to test you on your flashcards. As much as it's great to know an array of quotes, don't worry too much, exam markers don't expect you to know every quote perfectly so if they are slightly wrong in some cases it's not the end of the world! Good Luck!

Emily P. A Level English Literature tutor, GCSE English Literature tutor

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is an online A Level English Literature tutor with MyTutor studying at Birmingham University

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