RSS Feed

RSS Subscribe to RSS

Exclusive English Literature Revision Tips

English Literature Revision

By the time you reach year 11, you’ll have studied plays, modern and Victorian texts, as well as a bunch of poetry – not to mention a series of unseen fiction and non-fiction for English Language.

That’s a LOT of reading! As a subject in its own right, it’s important to understand how to best revise English Literature texts before overwhelm sets in.

To help you fine-tune your knowledge, here are some red hot tips from our experienced English tuition team – whether you’re sitting AQA, Edexcel or IGCSE.

Know English Literature Texts Inside Out

  • If you’ve only read it the once, start re-reading today. Why not listen to your key text audio books online to and from school?
  • Watch a Shakespeare play or movie. YouTube is your friend! There are also endless poetry readings and analysis online. Search on Google. You’ll be amazed!
  • Talking of YouTube, do a search for your text. You’ll find a goldmine of teacher-created resources from text summariesTensionmto exam-practice tips.

Do You Get the Message?

English Literature texts you study always have something ‘big’ to say about life, relationships, society…

  • Work out WHY the texts were written. To challenge norms, to educate, to criticise?

Writers such as Shakespeare or Priestley didn’t just want to write a darn good yarn.

They use language and structure for effect too. Note:

  • Where tension builds – and its after effects
  • Why characters change  (or refuse to) and what point the writer is making about human nature
  • Where is the dramatic irony or contrast for dramatic impact?
  • The beginning and ending – what’s changed? What’s the same?
  • Expected audience reactions – at the time of writing and the modern audience.

Know your themes and which characters fit or don’t!

How to Nail Extract-based Questions

It’s helps to look at a previous question and examiner’s mark scheme so you can identify typical:

  • Language
  • Structure and
  • Context points

… that English Literature examiners might be looking for.


  • When you read the question, sit with it for a bit. Read the extract carefully and try to connect to the question focus.
  • Consider what might have just happened, and what comes next. Is the extract an important/ pivotal moment that changes things ? Can it be contrasted with something earlier or later?
  • Annotate four key quotes. Whether it is character or theme, aim to highlight key quotes in the extract which prove the focus. Pick out an important word in the quote. It could be a simile, a metaphor, a command verb. Perhaps you can find two or three similar short quotes that fit together? Is there a pattern or motif that connects to other key moments in the play or text? Always think HOW and WHY!
  • When starting: give an overview of the question focus. What’s the big picture? What is the context connection? The writer’s purpose is..?

Need Extra English Literature Support

Sometimes, though, you might want some insider expertise to help you target your specific weaknesses to turn them into strengths.

Fear not. Our intrepid team of English teaching tutors know exactly how to turn your fortunes around fast!

Just get in touch initially with our head tutor Alison for a no-obligation chat.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.