A Level English is a step up from previously studied English. Having an A Level English Tutor can really excel your learning and understanding of A-level English.
A Level English Literature is the study of the human condition. This A Level invites students to consider some of life’s big questions through literary analysis. English Literature is a popular qualification with a wide range of employers due to the transferable skills it imparts- namely the ability to read critically and dissect a text for key takeaways, as well as the ability to write lucid prose that conveys messages clearly and compellingly. This A Level is a good choice for any student but particularly those hoping to pursue the humanities or social sciences.
It’s important to identify which exam board your child’s school is following for A Level English Literature as their requirements do vary. For example, some exam boards place more emphasis on understanding the two major historicist perspectives in literary studies. Having some knowledge of exam boards is great information to give to your A Level English Tutor. This will help them tailor their lessons with your child, to include relevant syllabus content.
The main exam boards for A Level English Literature are:
Though syllabuses and prescribed texts do vary, an A Level in English Literature is generally intended to:
Even if exams are an opportunity to show off what you know, English Literature A Level also requires a candidate to write clearly and concisely. This consideration is particularly important when it comes to Answering The Question!
Examiner reports are often critical of candidates who submit essay answers that appear to have been prepared beforehand and then awkwardly manipulated to fit the terms of the set exam question. Instead, a candidate should invest time in becoming familiar with prescribed texts and materials, as well as their context. Again, though contextual knowledge is important for scoring the highest possible mark, it should be used with consideration: nothing in a candidate’s essay should be to the detriment of Answering The Question at hand!
So, to do well your A Level English Tutor will spend a lot of time in the run up to the exam going through past papers. Going through past papers means your A Level English Tutor can help your child master each style of exam question. This will help your child to obtain higher marks.
As a parent, you need to understand how your child’s A Level English exams will be marked. This is so that you know how to help them to obtain the best mark that they can achieve. All the exam boards publish detailed guidance on what they are looking for, including specimen papers and past examiner reports. The examiner will be given a specific number of marks for predetermined responses to each question.
Your child needs to know exactly what the examiner wants from them in each style of assessment. They then need to learn how to ‘tick the boxes’ on the mark scheme to ensure they pick up the most marks they can. Learning different exam question styles will be an essential part of your child’s time with their A Level English tutor.
It is important that your child allows enough time for the revision process. They need to do their work properly. You’re A Level English tutor will have a structured revision plan by the January of their exam year.
Firstly, make sure your child has their notes in order! It is often helpful to check off notes against the requirement of a syllabus as the year goes on. Once you’re both confident that your child has covered and noted the whole syllabus, they can independently start to make revision notes and mind maps based on things such as themes, genres, or periods. The skills developed in this re-noting and reformulating are very helpful for planning and writing essays, which is usually best left until towards exam season.
Before exam season, however, it is important to liaise with teachers about any material that your child is finding difficult. The more notice you give them before exams, the more likely it is that they’ll be able to make time to offer support and go over tricky topics.
Throughout the academic year and revision period, it is helpful to think about how your child learns. Do they like the pressure of a memory test or flashcards? Or is mapping out key ideas helpful? Maybe they like challenging themselves to write everything they know about a topic on one side of A4? Or talking things over with a parent, sibling, or their A Level English tutor? We all learn differently, so it is good to be aware of how best your child learns.
According to a Department for Education assessment released on 30 September 2021, “exam boards will provide advance information about the focus of the content of the exams for all GCSE, AS and A level subjects… for the summer 2022 exams”. This information will be released by 7 February 2022. If the information is released sooner than 7 February, DfE will give schools and students “at least a week’s notice”.
Even after navigating the demands of GCSEs, students can feel immense pressure around the time of public exams and it is part of your job as a parent to help them navigate this. On a positive note, this can be a time of great personal growth for teenagers, as they specialise in academic interests, sustain hard work over many months and push through exam nerves. Talk to your child about managing their emotions and introduce important elements of self care, such as sufficient sleep and good nutrition.
The best way to support your child through their English A Level is to give them the tools and skills to succeed. Some targeted intervention with an experienced tutor can make all the difference. Our A Level English tutors are experienced, qualified teachers, Heads of Department and Examiners who know the A Level English syllabuses back to front. They can teach your child in the manner they learn best, explain the latest mark schemes, help them unpick difficult 19th Century prose and Shakespearean poetry and dramatically improve their essay technique.