How do I analyse a poem I have never seen before?

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An unseen poem may seem like a daunting aspect, but a logical approach really helps to take away the daunting aspect of such a question. First of all, you have to READ the poem. It may seem obvious, but it is easy to panic in an exam and just pick out bits to analyse. A general understanding of what the poem is saying (or what you think it is) is really important; it shapes your entire answer and gets you the most marks. I recommend planning before writing, so bullet point the main themes in the poem (these become your paragraphs) then you can look for aspects to analyse that strengthen your argument. This way you avoid time-consuming and unnecessary analysis: instead, you focus in on the parts that best support what you are saying about the poem. This will give you several well-thought-out paragraphs that include an overarching argument supported by relevant analysis.

Olivia B. GCSE English Literature tutor, GCSE Italian tutor, GCSE Fre...

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