How to achieve perfect marks for the A-level English Literature AQA A A2 exam



hello again everybody and welcome to the English teacher's guide to getting perfect marks the a to literature exam for English the AQA a paper let's quickly look at the exam structure shall we so this is where folks enter a level six centigrade to 742 your coursework to two and a half our paper with 80 marks there are two questions here over 40 marks each and the assessment objectives are split evenly to ten marks each which makes revision and memory makes it easier so the question one you'll get two texts on the same form novels Prime's of place and you'll need to bring in there for one wider reading text from that same form question two you need to compare the other two forms that when using question one making two making sure that you include your wider reading which covers now one from one one from the other form the difference between two questions is the question to you'll have a named focus so explore brotherly love exploring licit love or in question one you're going to expected to create your own argument find your own link two questions for you let's see if you've been working hard this year one how do you plan your responses to how do you write the perfect response now it's a good time here to pause this note down what you know and then we can compare how I think you should do it so before we can start to plan a perfect response needs to look at the mark scheme this is the top band this is being the same since you started your own levels it was the same for the IAS exams same for the areas coursework it was the same for your course so for this year and it's the same for the exam and surprisingly let's look at some of the key wording though so for a r1 which is your ability to write a proper essay make sure your confidence so you should back up your arguing so it shouldn't be things like it could mean this it might mean no it does I believe this is what this is about and I'm going to prove it need to make sure that you are using terminology throughout your work and I need to make sure that you structure your work in the correct where everything links together in night you know you understand you know you're making sure that your work is easily understood but sophisticated at the same time io2 obviously we need to within sites and like structure form and language that both responses need to make sure it covers structure form and language you need to show that you can quote in a masterful way now making sure that you are using it could here and you live in your writing making sure you knew only what you need making sure you BA an overview of texts so that's where you can put that into your introduction you know that overview we don't go into too much basic detail free need to compare our texts in-depth making sure that we are exploring how and why they are similar need to make sure that alternative readings are in place that could be the work of critics that could be your own alternative viewpoint or it could be the viewpoint and say a feminist argument or psychoanalytical argument what's a really good tip here in order to illuminate your interpretation is to argue against the alternative viewpoint now so feminists would say this however that when I strengthen your own view and get you a bear mouth I or one an hour for oversee is the use of social historical and literary context now we need to make sure using that not just in a really basic way in to make sure it's supporting it's illuminating our arguments you know we analyze it's been presented in this way because of this and that could be where your context comes in do all those things and that marks in there you achieve perfect marks but how do we do that well this is how we plan for question one the only difference between this and question two is as we said question two the focus will be named for you wherever here you have to do it yourself so first of all you're an example the exam room papers in front of you read through both biographies and start to immediately annotate and compare the different texts so it's a date similar the genre the literary period the themes etc if you know anything like the author's you can start to note those things down you can start to already consider well what can my wider reading be then you should read through the text without making any real annotations recommend you do that because first things first the most important aspect of this is that you understand the texts I've seen too many students in the past and rush nor read a text properly and misinterpret it and get very low marks once you read through it once maybe twice maybe a third time then you've got good understanding of it that's when you start to really add taking detail making sure you've covered structure foreign language you need to do then it do that to your second text and you can then start to consider what's similar and different about them once you've done that is when you've got good understanding of both texts you then need to solve your wider reading will be now what complements these two texts well what will help my argument not just hopefully you revised the point we've not just put something in but that's all you remember who are using a text because that works really well with the argument going to come up with then we need to begin to formally plan so what you need to do is create a focus or an argument for your essay so what is the idea that's being presented in both these texts so that could be the presentation of divorce it could be the presentation of sisterly love for instance and then how has that being presented sleep do they present it in a similar or different way and that is your focus isn't your almost giving yourself your own essay question and that's when we can start to plan our three points I would say and once you've got that planned within half an hour we're ready to go but remember the important things discover what the texts are about how they are similar different why they are similar and different do those things perfect will be yours now this is what a question will look like so here we're going to use Shakespeare Othello's and out and Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf now I'm not going to show you the planning stage for this today but it's both as both sections are where the male figures are dealing angrily with issues related to their wives where they feel they're being confronted challenged by them so that's I want to look at but let's look at how actually write the essay so introduction need to avoid using generic information so this tanks written in this period is or this text also written in this period does this this means it would be don't need that get on with it state your argument okay state your argument what they both about maybe some very basic setting of the focus now give them an overview but that would be it then we need to get into our three main paragraphs so this is where you achieve the majority of your marks you should ensure obviously that each paragraph you've analyzed all aspects of I owe to our 304 however this may not be possible in each of your main paragraphs but you must make sure that you covered this by the end of your essay you can use the method I'm about to show you I now received there are slight variations but if you remember this this will make sure that you achieve perfect marks because remember it's just important to know your method as is no content someone create points which establishes what the paragraph will be about but immediately compare the two texts briefly so you'll straightaway compare the two texts you create that topic sentence so we know what this essay going to be about then we examine the first text based on this point that sort of use all our insight about to use alternative viewpoints we use our social literary circle context and we do that in depth then free we make a linking statement which links both texts again and we start to explore the second texts in the same way we differ texts one but at each point of analysis we should now compared to our other texts so is this similar or different and why is it similar or different and it's exploring that why that will get helped us achieve our marks our comparison then once you feel we've dealt with text the two texts successfully that's when we use our 10% of our wider reading using the same process but we make sure we're comparing the two texts together then our conclusion you need to reaffirm your argument once more making clear why you feel about a texts this way and why you know and while I presented love in that way also okay so you can just go back go back and look at those things again but that will work for both question one and question – in fact question two is easier because the focus is away there for you but that's a really important thing you need a focus for your argument so what will mine look like I said look this is my introduction within both texts so straight away there's no generic rubbish being used here we're getting straight on with it and it's what the examiner wants to see the breakdown assume the breakdown of marriage seemingly instigates them part by the fatal flaw of the mapa tagging astiz evidence in shakespeare's renaissance tragedy the fellow the tragic florist of jealousy is a reason for the collapse of marriage the audience witness also in the American modern work of Alby it appears our colors element which has brought about the almost best steel seeing the audience observe however it seems that the character of fellows far more ceases the argument isn't it far more physically controlling of his wife during part two the laws of govern marriage at the time compared to more psychology controlling figure in Albie's work straight on with it mentioned both texts there's my argument already Simon put some context and in there let's look at my main paragraph shall we as mentioned above the best your behavior of the male protagonists in both extracts is presented as the overriding issue within there is my point which compares both shakespeare's a fellow believing his young wife has been having an affair probably insults her by not only striking her some master of detail but through extremely offensive language such as repetition of devil suggesting she's not just sinful but she's actually the devil incarnate and a highly Christocentric period in english history this lexical choice highlights the extreme feeling of hatred the protagonist now feels towards his wife for contemporary audience of Shakespeare in many ways this would have been seemingly ironic as the character of fellow and more women viewed as a devil himself and expects to act in sinful rather than gentlemanly manner therefore whilst the action striking woman is always shocking to an audience shapes was playing with stereotypes suggesting in a way that the characters traditional tragic flaw is not solely jealousy but his race Shakespeare then utilizes the syllabic structure of heimet pentameter to form later the extracts are highlight to the actor playing the role at a time would have been would have had to use the lines given to them to the text stage directions the anger of the figure at a time by stressing Lexus such as you she and turn Shakespeare shows a character is not only aggressive it was accusation 'el in tone in a way which disengages himself from Desdemona and placed the blame for his emotional state firmly on her alternatively this behavior could be highlighting a reaction a disempowered male demonstrates when he believes the females broken away from traditional conduct of patriarchal society being a feminist reader to highlight a desperate Mouse societies to cling to its control of the female what's important a notice here we just stop for a second is I'm not or going through IO to do three if I'm using it naturally when it feels right to make a case that met context when it feels right to make a statement about using alternate if you they're being used and that's important to remember use those different AOS when it feels right not when you kind of know you might have to it's not bolted together it all flows nicely okay and that's important to remember this argument could be said to be the case with our B's modern plane so there's my linking statement George displays a similar reaction to a fellow by slapping his wife Martha as he believes she has been pouring the undergraduates once again the shocking animalistic violence of the male as a reaction to a loss of control demonstrates that the fear patriarchal society has a losing control this is either more relevant for our B's audience due to the rise of feminist movement within America at the time the lexical choice of Albee are similar so here the comparison in the sense that they exclude a sinful character to the audience they exude a sinful character to the audience and I clear belief by the male character that the female is in the wrong against want to remember these are both written by men interestingly the use of undergraduates a language suggests an almost pedophilic nature and when this is combined with the fact she's a married woman will lead at least some in the audience to consider Martha a devil – there's a comparison the use of pause while encouraging a sense of distance in a relationship as seen in a fellow the pics Martha as inhuman reinforcing uncivilized nature – female in the eyes of the male protagonist even though ironically is the male in both extracts you're displaying it uncivilized characteristics now again what's important to note here is I could go in this in more detail for my example however you've got 45 minutes to write this so it's not going to be perfect it's important to note that you can still get perfect marks without being coursework perfect but the closer he gets that coursework standard the easier it is for you to achieve perfect marks now here's my ten percent of my wider reading Gibson's Victorian drama a doll's house once again demonstrates a male desperate to maintain control however in this case the female breaks free of her most sacred duties causing her character husband Helmer to declare this is monstrous his exclamation at this point could again reflect the anger incredulous honest here and the patriarchy aside he represents feels at the fault of the female breaking the bonds of the traditional female role similarly to Shakespeare Epson uses religious imagery as a way to persuade the female figure that breaking the bonds of marriage or social control is the most sinful behavior a wife can display making them appear a devil within the male gaze in fact the sentimental supports so strongly about my society that the audience actually rioted at a very notion of the breakdown of traditional society therefore the audience reflect the best of behaviour the protagonists from both of the extracts suggesting that the behavior is not actually dramatic but acts but a realistic depiction of social behavior okay so that system there follows the methods you've been asked to use I'll use that again for further second and third paragraph and then I move into my conclusion they're all linked together and all working nicely although written around 300 years apart the depictions of male protagonists show the male view of women within marriage that was a little over this period both characters across their significant others which is in part due to disrespect that their partners have shown them in public however and it states that earlier is lack of control shown in particular by fellow is dealing more shocking to an audience just the physical nature is anger which is in a shocking in part due to son gentleman in nature but also perhaps due to the fact that is characters strength that seem an unfair advantage over the female I should I prove me my work careful at the end and that's it I move on to question two so thank you and make sure you consume to work hard there's a link here to bring up some of the past papers but it's important that you practice this method prax is planning in half an hour perhaps writing in 45 minutes so remember we must make sure we cover all aspects of the Marc scheme right the back then when it feels natural to write about them but planning is the crucial part of this so remember is content method timing do it in the time revise the method as well as you would do the actual content know the text inside out keep working hard good luck well done

19 thoughts on “How to achieve perfect marks for the A-level English Literature AQA A A2 exam

  1. How many wider reading texts/ books would you recommend using overall? also, am i allowed to print of poems to take into the exam? (without annotations of course)

  2. This is really helpful however concerning planning for the first essay, I don't think there's enough time to fully annontate each text in detail. Would annontating one text in detail and drawing points of comparison be more advisable ?

  3. I'm doing AQA A2 English Lit and my teacher insists on "around 12 Wider Reading Texts" to be included in my response and three comparison Paragraphs, is this excessive?

  4. Your videos are so helpful, thank you! 

    Also do you (or anyone else) know of any good novels or poems for the theme of married love? thanks!

  5. Hi, so was this the full essay or just the 1st paragraph?… I'm only questioning it because you said you'd do it again "for a further 2nd and 3rd paragraph"?…

  6. This was really helpful, however, Ibsen's play 'A Doll's House' is not Victorian as he was in fact Norwegian. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *