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How can I revise for a closed book English exam, do I need to learn the whole book?

One of the biggest worries for students taking A Level English Literature is that most of the exams are closed book, meaning that you cannot have a copy of the text in the exam with you.

This does mean that you do have to be very familiar with your chosen texts but it certain does not mean learning it word for word.

The most effective thing to do is to learn quotes which can be picked apart, which imply several different reading rather than just one. If you learn quotes like this for example then the quote will be more applicable to a range of exam responses, not just for one particular theme.

When learning a quote, learn the quote with it's analysis, treat them as a pair. This includes language analysis as well, a key part to a successful exam response but one which is often omitted. To just simply state that a certain quote is a simile or a metaphor, or uses alliteration for example is not enough. When analysing a quote in terms of language you must state what effect the chosen technique has. For example, what does it make the reader feel? Or can this technique be related to the context of production of reception of the given text?

For more advice on structuring sucessful exam responses to the closed book exams, book a session with me and we can talk through the golden rules of essay writing in exam.... Once you have learnt some quotes and their analysis that is! Remember, every point must be backed up by sufficient evidence from the text otherwise it is not valid.

Hannah S. A Level English Literature tutor, GCSE English Literature t...

2 years ago

Answered by Hannah, an A Level English Literature tutor with MyTutor

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Holly K.

Degree: English literature (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: English Literature, Psychology+ 5 more

English Literature
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“About me: I am an English Literature student at Durham University, having sat English at GCSE and A-Level, as well as doing an Extended Project Qualification on literature. I am a firm believer that the beauty of English lies in the f...”

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Degree: English Literature (Bachelors) - Durham University

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English Literature
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“Hi, My name's Jamie - I'm 18 and currently studying English Literature at Durham. This is one of the most competitive courses in the UK, with approximately 24 applicants per place! Never fear, you're speaking to one of them, so if you ...”

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Degree: Philosophy (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: English Literature, Philosophy+ 2 more

English Literature
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“Hello! My name is Juliet and I am a philosophy student at Durham University. I also takeEnglish Literature modules as I have a genuine love for reading and writing.I have strong communicative skills and am able to condense informatio...”

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Hannah S.

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Degree: English and German (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered: English Literature, German+ 2 more

English Literature
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English Language

“Top tutor in English and German from Warwick university, ready to help any of your needs.”

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