With so many people taking advantage of Ask Will Online for the different novels and poems I have analysed, I thought it would be a good idea to give some tips and help about exam technique for the LITB1 exam paper for AQA English Literature B. This exam can seem extremely daunting and is the first ‘proper’ exam for many students which involves the student writing essays. Therefore, it is essential you know just exactly what you need to do to get the best grade possible.
The Unit 1 exam paper is split into two sections: Section A and Section B.
- The first question will be based on either a specific chapter of a novel or one poem.
- The second question will be more general looking at themes or as simple as a statement and whether you agree or disagree with the statement. You will be asked about a text from the same author/poet as the first question.
How does Auden tell the story in ‘Miss Gee‘.
This DOES NOT mean that you need to tell the story of what happens to Miss Gee that she basically gets cancer and dies. The examiner already knows the story plot therefore you do not at all need to mention anything about what actually happens in the poem.
What this type of question, ‘How does _____ tell the story in…’, actually wants you to do is look at the ways in which the author/poet uses techniques to tell the story effectively. This can be usually be split into three areas: form, language and structure. How does Auden use form, language and structure to effectively tell the story of ‘Miss Gee’? That is the real question you need to be answering.
For some people, going through the poem or chapter chronologically will work fine for them. However, the best way to structure your essay for this is through adopting the following format:
- Introduction – Sum up the main points you want to mention and any little add ons you might think are relevant. For example, Auden was gay which may have been a reason why Miss Gee had deep sexual urges for the Bishop – Auden felt the same way as a closet homosexual (as well as the fact that it could be seen that her sexual repression caused the cancer).
- Three separate paragraphs on Form, Language and Structure – For each paragraph, highlight what Auden or whoever it is has done with form, language and structure and then link this to how it tells the story in the text. Point, example, explanation and then how this tells the story.
How far do you think that Auden’s poems are dominated by death?
For a question like this, you should use the following structure for your essay:
- Introduction – Highlight the key argument to agree and disagree and mention the topics you will talk about in each of your paragraphs. For example, ‘it can be seen Auden’s poems are dominated by death since the main characters in his poems end us dying such as in Miss Gee and O What Is That Sound. However, Auden’s poems are also dominated by other themes such as love and war.’
- Paragraph to agree with question – For my example, this paragraph would look at reasons why Auden’s poems are dominated by death such as the death of the main characters with quotes and references to the moments in the poems they die.
- Paragraph to disagree with question – Continuing the example, this would look at either war or love in Auden’s poems providing the opinion that Auden’s poems are not just dominated by death but other topics too.
- Keep doing paragraph to agree and then disagree. Usually, 3-4 paragraphs is a good argument.
- Conclusion – Based on what you have said in your essay, make a decision to the answer to the question and back it up with a summary of why you believe this with possible added new points. For example, ‘Ultimately, I feel that Auden’s poems are dominated by death even if death of a character is not present in his poem. Poems such as O Where Are You Going? do not have death or mention death but refer to an ideology that death for this poem is dusk, ‘dusk will delay’. Auden’s poem are deliberately vague making it easy to refer to his poems as dominated by death since the death can be represented in a person dying, as dusk or as time in If I Could Tell You.
- 5 minutes planning the essay.
- 5 minutes on the introduction.
- 40-45 minutes on the content of the essay.
- 5-10 minutes on the conclusion.
- W.H. Auden – As I Walked Out One Evening, 1st September 1939, If I Could Tell You, O What Is That Sound, O Where Are You Going, Miss Gee.
- Robert Browning – Fra Lippo Lippi, Porphyria’s Lover, The Bishop Orders His Tomb, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, My Last Duchess, The Patriot.
- Thomas Hardy – Under The Waterfall.
- The Kite Runner – Everything You Need To Know [Analysis].
- Frankenstein – Complete Analysis, Key Gothic Themes.
- Doctor Faustus – Complete Analysis, Key Gothic Themes.
- The Bloody Chamber – The Erl King, The Bloody Chamber, The Courtship Of Mr Lyon and Key Quotes To Remember, Key Gothic Themes For Whole Book.
- The Great Gatsby – Theme Of Ghosts.
- A View From A Bridge – Everything You Need To Know [Analysis], Eddie Carbone Character Analysis, Beatrice Carbone Character Analysis.
- Of Mice and Men – Everything You Need To Know [Analysis].
- To what extent do you agree with the view that the struggle for liberty in Orwell’s 1984 and French’s Billy is ultimately worthless and futile?
- To what extent do the women in French’s Billy perpetuate traditional gender roles?
- In Gothic texts, it is the men who are demonised. The women are simply passive victims of male ambition. To what extent do you agree with this assessment of Gothic fiction?
- ‘Faustus is the sole architect of his own demise’. To what extent do you agree with the view that Faustus is fully responsible for his own tragedy?
- “In Gothic texts the lines between the human and animal kingdoms can be blurred.” Explore the relevance of this view with two texts that you have studied.
- How Far Can We See Women In ‘The Bloody Chamber’ Victims Of Circumstances Or The Martyr?
- How Far Can We See Dr Victor Frankenstein As A Victim Of Circumstances Or A Martyr?
- ‘In The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter reverses gothic traditions so that the males become the victims instead of the females’. Discuss this view with reference to two stories from The Bloody Chamber.
- What is the Significance of the Title in Auden’s ‘1st September 1939’?
- Why is it Significant that the Only Voice Heard in Browning’s poem ‘My Last Duchess’ is that of the Duke?
- Explore how Hosseini Creates a Vivid Sense of Place in The Kite Runner.
- Events in the novel that lead up to Hassan’s rape are recounted non-chronologically: To what extent is this effective in dramatising this crucial moment?
- How Does Browning Tell the Story in ‘The Patriot’?
- Discuss the Relationship Between Willy and Biff Up to P24
- Why Doesn’t ‘The Kite Runner’ End at Chapter 22?
- Billy by Albert French Summary and Review
- We Work Hard, they Pay Hard? Footballer’s overpaid? Bad role models?
- It Wasn’t Me – Short Autobiography Extract
- Footballer’s Win a Lot – English GCSE Short Story Writing
- How to create best cue cards and then use them for speech – English GCSE oral
- Preparing for English GCSE Speaking Oral Test – Preparing for a speech