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Case Study: English Literature revision - Emily Graham

My name's Emily Graham, and I'm in Lower 6th at Wellington College. This year I'm studying English Lit., French, Politics and History. In my GCSEs I got 10 A*s, and, thanks to the quality of teaching from my English teachers, Mrs. Turley and Ms. Cochrane, I came first in NI in CCEA English Literature.

I'm very interested in literature and language and how they reflect and shape society. I'm especially interested in Russian Literature with my favourite author being Dostoevsky. For me, studying English is worthwhile as we can learn so much through the experience of thinking and writing about characters. I hope to study English after leaving school, hopefully at Cambridge.

My Top Tips for GCSE English Literature revision:

  • When revising, reduce the text to the most important facts and build up your knowledge from this base.
  • Break the text down into characters or themes and learn them separately, with quotations.
  • Have a detailed analysis prepared for the most important passages.
  • Make sure you know the message which the author is trying to convey and what they are trying to achieve with the text.
  • Group poems by theme beforehand and look for similarities and differences.
  • Learn what the rhyme schemes and rhythms are in advance- and what effect they have- instead of trying to work it out in the exam.
  • For plays, learn types of stage directions beforehand and include them.
  • In the exam, refer often to the author.
  • Include your opinion briefly, as it will make you sound more assured.


  • Ask yourself questions about what you're reading; for example, why has the author included this?
  • Read the text as many times as possible; each time you do, you will gain a deeper understanding and notice new imagery or new layers of meaning.
  • Work on your vocabulary- it will help you phrase your meaning more exactly.


  • Try and study without having read the text.
  • Let a text overwhelm you- break it down.
  • Retell the story; analyse every point you make, explaining how it's relevant to the question.

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