/ English Lit GCSE

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Rob Exile Ward on 06 Jan 2013
My daughter is conscientious, bright and hard working - but don't take my word for it, that's what every school report has said since the year dot.

But now her GCSEs are coming at her like an express train, and she has NO IDEA WHAT SHE IS SUPPOSED TO BE DOING. She is becoming stressed beyond what can possibly be construed as reasonable.

Now, I've got two degrees myself, but I've looked at her notes and I too have no idea what she is supposed to be doing for her Eng Lit assessment tommorrow. This can't be right. What's going on?
sleavesley on 06 Jan 2013
MG - on 06 Jan 2013
JIB - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Deep breath.

Which exam syllabus?

Which module?

kbow265 - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
From what I can remember it was about analysing the novel or poetry we were given. So stuff like underlying themes, characters, symbolism, metaphors and stuff like that.

We studied Tess D'Ubervilles then ended up having to rapidly read Frankenstein a couple of weeks before the exam.

What books/poetry has she been studying?
Rob Exile Ward on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to florence58: She has studied romeo and Juliet; and 3 interesting poems. She now has an assessment - but I can't make out whether she is supposed to write 3 essays - or one - or something in between. And I don't think her teacher knows, either.
JIB - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: So, what's the task?
Coel Hellier - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

She has my sympathy. I usually did well in exams at school, but when it came to English lit, I had no idea what I was supposed to write in essays.

I asked my teacher what a good essay would look like, and he gave me a sample essay from a `revision guide' book. As he gave it to me he read it and said, ``well I'd give that a C'', which wasn't helpful since grade C was about what I was getting anyhow. It was probably a mixture of poor teacher and poor student, but he never could explain to me what I should be trying to achieve in writing an Eng Lit essay.
WILLS - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: sounds like the comparative essay-does this ring any bells? I have taught this module. You need to compare elements of Romeo and Juliet with aspects of the 3 poems throughout.there should be an essay question set which establishes what is to be compared e.g how is love presented in these texts? Write a general intro then perhaps a paragraph on how Shakespeare presents the chosen theme e.g love,depending on the question.make a point,quite from the text,then evaluate.then find something similar in one of the poems and draw links between the two. It really does depend what the question is but as an illustration,for an essay about love,you could write about how Shakespeare presents romantic love through the use of religious imagery then link to the romantic love presented in a poem,also analyzing a technique used by the poet .hope this helps. The teacher should be able to speak to your daughter in the morning and answer any questions prior to the start of the controlled assessment.
Rob Exile Ward on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to WILLS: Thanks, this is great! A problem is that I haven't seen an essay question set, as such - in her workbook it looks to me like 3 questions: 1) Examine the way Shakespeare presents the beginning of the relationship between Romeo and Juliet...etc etc etc 2) Examine Duffy's/Rossettis or Walshs take on love in etc etc etc and 3) What is your response to the pieces of literature you have read? Make links etc etc etc ...

I don't know whether this is one essay, 3 essays or some strange amalgam?!?
candy_girl on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I would say it would either be:

1. one question and you have to answer that one question
2. a choice of 2-3 questions and you only have answer one question
3. three questions and you have to answer all three questions (if it was a 3 hour exam)

I would say that the questions in her revision guide are just example questions. I sat my English Lit ages ago and cant remember the layout of the exam so this is just my guess...
a lakeland climber on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I don't know if Eng. Lit. is important to what your daughter intends to do after school. For me it had no bearing whatsoever and in addition I hated the subject to the point where I'd cheat in coursework. Back then it was O-levels rather than GCSE and despite my complete apathy to the subject I ended up getting a B, one of my best grades. This caused a bit of a problem as I was intending to take my 3 best O-level subjects at A-level. I couldn't face 2 years more waffle so went for honest subjects. Note that I loved reading so it wasn't a dislike of books or even literature that caused me to reject the subject.

Sorry if it's not a direct answer to your daughter's problem but if it's only this subject then it may not be as big a problem as it may seem.

Morgan P - on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: God I hated English Literature exams...
Basically you need to go into way more detail than the author thought about. Yeah it's almost always bad teaching+teacher I find. My teacher once literally turned a poem on it's side and said it had clearly been written such that the ends formed the shape of waves (it was about the sea). That's a bit extreme but yeah the more ridiculous what you write the more they'll mark it as you've "thought about it deeply"...
Offwidth - on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

In the end its about reading questions carefully and making relevant intelligent comment on the linked key themes of important literary works. Panic that you are missing something big is neither true nor a good approach to an exam the next day. It does sound like you need to be asking some questions to the school afterwards about some aspects of the preparation assistance provided.
Rob Exile Ward on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to Offwidth: You're not wrong about speaking to the school. I can answer questions - I can help my kids do essays - but in this case it's just so unclear what is expected.

The good news is that Hannah has studied her stuff so if she gets a clear steer today about what is required she at least has the material to hand.

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