Revising for mocks – a good revision space

Reading Time: 5 minutes In this series, I’m looking at the ways get the most from mock exams, with practical steps to help you dial back the stress. Know your goals. Create a revision timetable 10 revision tips A good revision space (this post) What to do during mocks Review, reflect, repeat A good revision space is important. You’re trying to do difficult things, and you need somewhere that you can focus. This post is about what that looks and feels like. Let’s start straight off by saying that this post is about ideal spaces. It won’t be practical for everybody, especially if you share …

10 revision tips

Reading Time: 7 minutes In this series, I’m looking at the ways get the most from mock exams, with practical steps to help you dial back the stress. Know your goals. Create a revision timetable 10 revision tips (this post) A good revision space  What to do during mocks Review, reflect, repeat Revising is hard work. There’s no getting round it. If you want to do really well, you need to revise. And to make the most of that effort, you need to do things that work really well – that actually get your brain working. Basically, you want to move your knowledge and …

How to make a revision timetable

Reading Time: 3 minutes In this series, I’m looking at the ways get the most from mock exams, with practical steps to help you dial back the stress. Know your goals. Create a revision timetable (this post) 10 revision tips A good revision space  What to do during mocks Review, reflect, repeat DO NOT get out highlighters and coloured pens. It’s a cliché, but an often true one: the timetable makes so long to make that by the time you’ve finished, you have to do it again to make up for the time you’ve spent making it. There are also online timetable creators like GetRevising, …

Flowers and fancies in Shakespeare

Reading Time: 9 minutes We all know if we ask for symbols of love, the rose is high up the list. Floriography – studying the meaning of flowers – has more or less dropped out of English custom. We might occasionally hear that lilies are better for funerals, but most of us don’t attach much symbolic meaning when our loved ones show up with a bouquet. Pre-twentieth century though it’s a different story. Victorians wrote whole handbooks on the meanings of flowers and dedicated time to deciphering the hidden messages of a buttonhole. Flowers in paintings back to the medieval period were also loaded …

How to write comparison essays in an exam

Reading Time: 7 minutes When you start writing essays this seems really complicated, but breaking it down can help. Remember these two simple facts: 1. Comparison means similarities and differences 2. Comparison means there has to be some link or connection The similarity, specifically literature and English Language, can be either technical – looking at a way of writing, for example a specific use of metaphor – or thematic – the way a similar idea is represented. Ideally the comparison is knitted together, so interwoven that you can’t pull one text apart from the other. That’s the ideal, but there are some ways to …

Planning comparison essays for GCSE and A Level

Reading Time: 6 minutes One of the most difficult skills to do well is, I think, comparison, and it’s often what distinguishes really good writers – the ability to hold both texts together and weigh them against one another. This post explores some ways to plan a comparative answer – before you’re in the exam hall! I actually think the A-Level style of questions works better to prompt good, focused comparison – so let’s compare the two: GCSE: Explore the way Browning presents painful relationships in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and one other poem from the Relationships cluster. A-Level: Dystopian writing often portrays a bleak future …