How do I revise for my English exam?

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English exams can seem impossible to revise for, but that isn't the case. English exams can actually be the most fun to revise because it's less about remembering tonnes of specific facts and more about remembering key ideas and themes, which you can change and develop later on as it suits you/the exam question! 

For example, if you were studying Of Mice and Men for your GCSE English Literature exam, your revision could simply involve re-reading the book. A key way that I have found helpful is to divide the book somehow- into chapters, characters, or themes, for example. 

You can draw a table or a mind map- visually arranging your notes like this can make them easier to remember in the exam. Colour coding can be even better! To begin with why not do a mind map about one of your favourite characters. Branches from the centre could include key traits- for example, Curly in Of Mice and Men is 'aggressive', 'short-tempered', and 'rude'. After you've picked out some key traits, you can search the book for quotes (either things Curly says or things that are said about him) that support your observations. Where does it say he is aggressive? Is he violent? How does the author show us this? 

Once you've picked out your evidence, perhaps branch off even further and think about what you can say about that quote. Is it speech? Is it a simile or a metaphor? What do specific vocabulary choices tell you about Curly? Doing simple and short tasks like this sporadically throughout your revision means that in the exam when you need to write your answer, you can call upon the preparation you've done. You will remember key scenes and ideas because you have mapped them out already! 

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

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is an online GCSE English Literature tutor with MyTutor studying at Exeter University

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