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It is no secret that year 11 and 12 English is heavily text based, and that a sound knowledge of your texts is the way to get a fantastic score.
Many teachers, authors and textbooks give great advice for how to write a text response essay, but before you begin planning for an essay, you need to read the book!
So how can you do that effectively?
Take note of the text’s context.
The context of the book can be important. Knowing when a book was written can help us understand the connection between the book and its historical context (what was happening at the time it was written?) and its literary context (what works of literature influenced what and how the author wrote?).
Know what themes to look out for in advance.
Do a quick Google search before you begin reading to find out what themes you should look out for as you read. This can help you to spot potentially important quotes before you’ve read enough to figure out the themes for yourself!
Highlight and annotate the text.
If you can, it can be helpful to highlight and annotate your book as you read. This will help you to easily find key passages when you come to planning a text response essay. Sticky notes are a great alternative if you don’t want to write in your book (or if it’s a library book!), or most e-book platforms allow you to highlight sections and make notes.
Make chapter notes.
Chapter notes can be as detailed or as brief as you like! It’s useful to make a note of plot points, characters (especially if a new character is introduced), and themes (think back to the themes you Googled before you started reading). These notes can be super helpful when you’re looking for a specific event, person or quote later on!
Take note of other features.
There are plenty of other features to take a note of when reading a text, such as the type of narrator, whether the plot is chronological, the setting (time and place), any motifs (symbolic elements that recur throughout the novel), and particular language techniques the author uses.
If you follow these steps when studying your set novels and films, you will give yourself a massive boost to your ability to use them in your text responses, comparisons, and creatives. Not to mention the assistance having a sound knowledge of your set texts will have on your exams and final results.
Don’t forget to reach out to one of our tutors if you are looking for additional help in your studies. We understand how intense school can be, and it is important to remember, you don’t need to do it alone. Our qualified and friendly team are always ready to help you out.
We hope this helps you achieve your study goals!
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