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Back to School: How to Get an A*/8 or 9 in an English Lit Essay!

Happy September, everyone!

As we all get our gears in motion to start a new year, I thought I would share my top tips for scoring the highest marks in English Literature essays. 

(P.S. Lots of these tips are applicable to other subjects too)


1. Don’t write about the character as if they are real

Unfortunately, this is a common error in English Lit essays. It is absolutely imperative to remember that a character is not a person, but is a construct of the writer in order to present an idea or theme. No matter the question, you should be linking your answer back to the writer’s ideas and theme of the text, even if it doesn’t seem obvious what the theme is on the first inspection of the question. Using the author’s name frequently in your essay will demonstrate that you recognise the character is not a real person - ‘Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as a tragic hero, as defined by Aristotle as…’

2. Don’t analyse the plot

Avoid analysing the plot or when things happen in the text. Don’t write ‘When X happens it makes us think Y’. Instead:

  • Analyse the writer’s use of language, structure and form to create meaning
  • Do a close language analysis of specific words/phrases, including a sound analysis (plosives, assonance, etc.)
  • Do a structural analysis of what happens when and why that’s important (Freytag’s pyramid)
  • Do an analysis of form (stage directions, dramatic monologue, etc.)

3. Keep your answer relevant throughout

You need to be explicitly answering the question - not going off on a tangent nor trying to change the question to suit an answer that you want to write. One way of avoiding this is by starting each paragraph with a topic sentence, summarising what that paragraph is going to be about and how it answers the question. Another method is simply by rewording the question into your answer at the start and end of every paragraph. At least. For greater impact, include synonyms of the word, which can also help with the readability of your answer.

4. Avoid PEE/PEEL/etc. where you can

Thousands of students are taught the same, basic Point-Evidence-Explain (or variant) analytical paragraph structure. If you want to stand out, show academic strength, and achieve the highest marks then you must break free from the chains of PEE! (This also applies for your introduction format. ‘In this essay, I will argue…’ gets pretty dull after reading it 100 times)

For my students, I will be teaching them to write What-How-Why paragraphs:

WHAT has the writer done?

HOW have they done it?

WHY have they done it/is it effective?

This way, your focus is always on why the writer has chosen to use that specific language/structure/form, but it allows you to be creative in crafting your response. Being able to discuss the ‘why’ of literature is the key to unlocking the highest grades. Reading through examiners’ reports this summer has made one thing clear - it is not enough to merely spot linguistic devices or structural features. You must explain why the writer has chosen them and why that is an effective choice (or not).

5. Avoid sweeping statements about context

The main advice here is to only include comments about the context of the text if it adds to the analytical point that you are making. They should not be a bolt-on sentence, but they should enhance your answer.

Further, sweeping claims like ‘All Jacobean women were oppressed by society’ is far too vague. On the other hand, a comment like ‘Lady Macbeth is a disturbing example of womanhood because she denies her gender at a time where the role of a woman was clear-cut, even patriarchal, in Jacobean society’ suggests that you have a greater understanding of how context can influence the writer’s choices.

6. A plan is your best friend

Always, always make time to plan your answer. A method I recommend is, first, circling the key words in the question (character/theme, what you are asked to do, where in the text you are asked to look, etc.). Secondly, write all of your ideas down onto the page, highlighting parts from the extract if you have that in front of you. Finally, select a judicious number of points that you are going to talk about (quality not quantity here) and number the order in which you are going to make them.

If you are writing a comparative essay, each paragraph must start and end with a comparative point about whatever it is you are comparing (characters/themes/etc.) I suggest the following format:

X is presented in both text A and text B. However, in A the author uses device 1 and 2 to demonstrate X. On the other hand, in B, the author demonstrates X via use of device 2 and 3.’ Then write one paragraph for each text. Repeat this again for another similarity. And again for a third - if you think that is appropriate.


Click HERE if you want more top tips/resources/essay advice/study motivation!!

Click HERE if you want more top tips/resources/essay advice/study motivation!!


Photo credit @eintsein 🌻

Not to sound like a horrible soul but I cannot–I cannot, at present moment, afford to be around second-rate souls. Second-rate depresses the very life out of my life.

I feel obsessed, depressed and utterly perplexed; I need some first-rate simplicity and I must have it.
—  Mary Shelley, from a diary entry featured in The Journals of Mary Shelley, 1814-1844
PLANNING YOUR WEEK

Start early!

  • Planning your week should start Saturday night. The week officially begins on Sunday, and Saturday night is the day to figure out everything that will be happening. By doing this, you do not have to spend meaningless time on the Sunday which commences your week with tasks such as planning. Everything should already be planned.

Find out what is on your plate for the upcoming week

  • Look at your school’s portal, or the syllabus, whatever your instructors use to inform you of tests, quizzes, essays and other assessments. Write down what is coming up this week!!! Know everything there is to know about what will be on your plate.

Use color

  • Color is an extremely effective categorization tool. It can allow you to distinguish between tests, quizzes, essays, homework assignments, extracurricular activities, health, personal activities, and more. Assign a color to each subsection of your plan, and create a key so you’re aware of what’s happening. Stay true to this color key, and don’t stray from it.

Prioritize

  • Your plan should feature the most important things to complete and the least important. However, your plan should also establish a general understanding of the ranking system these assignments fall under. If you have a very important test coming up which will count for a large portion of your grade, it should be featured earlier in and stressed more clearly in your plan. Utilize highlighters to clarify the importance level of different assignments.

Make time parameters

  • Making a plan is very important, but assigning time blocks to the plan is arguably even more important. Consider what you do every day after school. Think about how much you do after every day, and at what times you will be doing homework. Consider the length of time it takes to complete each assignment. Then, assign time blocks to each assignment. For example, you could assign “English Essay” for 4 pm - 6 pm, then “Break” from 6 pm - 6:30 pm, then “Math Worksheet” from 6:30 pm - 8 pm. This will keep you on track and going to sleep at a reasonable time.

Leave time for fun

  • It cannot be all school all the time - it is not healthy or conducive to effective living. Leave time for fun and breaks. This can manifest in reading a nice book in between assignments, or planning a hangout session with friends during the week. You only get one childhood, and you can NOT spend the entirety of it in academic mania.

Feature your extracurriculars and appointments

  • When you plan out everything, you have to include e v e r y t h i n g. This means that you must feature any meetings you have for extracurricular commitments, doctors appointments, personal appointments and more. This will ensure your plan is truly accurate.

Make copies!!!

  • Put your plan EVERYWHERE. There should be a copy in your planner, a copy in your bullet journal (if you have one), a copy on your desk, a copy on your mirror, and more. Put the plan anywhere you look often, and anywhere it won’t be drowned by other things.

U S E I T

  • Do not ignore the plan, now that you’ve spent all this time making it. Put it to good use! Keep it with you. Love it, learn it, and make it again next Saturday.

Nā Pali Coast State Park - Hawaii

Na Pali Coast State Park is located along the north-west side of Kauai, the oldest inhabited island in Hawaii. The park is best known for its amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, green cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and deep valleys. Inaccessible to vehicles, the park can be reached by hiking, helicopter, kayak, boat, or paddle board. Camping is allowed in the park, although campers must obtain a permit. 

The coast was famously featured in the Jurassic Park films, as well as King Kong, and The Descendants.

California’s best beaches

Whether you’re looking to spot wildlife, want to catch some waves or ride a rollercoaster from dawn until dusk, there’s a beach for every type of traveller in California, says travel writer Hannah Summers


Santa Monica, Los Angeles 

A day at the beach doesn’t have to mean hours lazing in the sun. A case in point is LA’s 5.6km-long Santa Monica Beach. In fact, this stretch of sand is home to the original Muscle Beach, which has made a name for itself as the city’s most popular outdoor gym (and the second home of celebs and bodybuilders, including Arnold Schwarzenegger) since the 1950s. 

Today you can try out the bicep-quivering equipment yourself, or just head along for a spot of people watching. The big draw though is the colours, lights and old-school atmosphere of the Santa Monica Pier. Test your nerves on the roller coaster, indulge in gigantic ice creams, or ride the 13-story Pacific Wheel – the world’s first and only solar-powered Ferris wheel.

Book flights to Los Angeles


La Jolla, San Diego

La Jolla is known as ‘the jewel’ of San Diego, and it’s easy to see why with its white-sand beaches, towering sea cliffs and turquoise coves. Most beaches here are tucked into rocky coves, but for a 1.6km-long stretch of palm-backed sand, try La Jolla Shores Beach, the perfect patch for soft surf and sunbathing.

For something a little more hardcore, join one of the many kayaking trips leaving the beach and heading out to La Jolla Caves – it’s a rocky beach that’s hard to access on foot, and your efforts will be rewarded with spectacular cliffs and perhaps a sea lion or two.

Find our cheapest flights to San Diego


San Gregorio State Beach, San Francisco Bay Area

For a combination of wildlife and walks, try San Gregorio State Beach which sits in a valley 15km south of Half Moon Bay. This is a rustic beach as its best, so instead of ice-cream shops and fairground rides, expect a golden sweep of sand dotted with logwood, driftwood and birds. 

Picnic tables dot the bluff – bring your favourite food and drink down and enjoy it with the views – then work it off with a walk. Head south and you’ll take on a cliff-backed stretch to Pomponio State Beach, or head north to explore caves, fossils and sandstone cliffs.

Book flights to San Francisco


Leadbetter Beach, Santa Barbara

It’s impossible not to fall for Santa Barbara, the laid-back and cosy beach town boasts top-draw beaches, pretty buildings and a booming food and drink scene. It’s also been a long-standing surfers’ hangout, and if you fancy trying it for yourself then there’s no better place than Leadbetter Beach, a favourite of local families and students from the college over the road. 

You’ll find hardcore surfers at other beaches in Santa Barbara (try Rincon Point) but Leadbetter, with its gentle waves, is a great place to get to grips with a surfboard or try a stand-up paddle boarding session.

Fly to Los Angeles


Zuma Beach, Malibu

Zuma Beach in Malibu has had its fair share of publicity – Pamela Anderson ran these sands while filming Baywatch (and allegedly lives nearby), while Don Henley reportedly wrote his hit The Boys of Summer on this very beach. 

Malibu locals find its wide sands and gentle surf (perfect for boogie boarders and body surfers) hard to resist, while others love the lively beach atmosphere – from hot dog stalls to groups of surfers hanging out listening to music. Satisfy your stomach at the Reel Inn, an informal restaurant, kitted out with wooden sharing benches – it serves up plates of fresh fried and grilled fish.


Carmel Beach, Central Californian Coast

Forget people watching – at Carmel Beach on the central Californian coast it’s all about dog watching. In fact, this is one of the only beaches in the area where dogs are allowed off the lead, so expect a full-on show from the pups. 

Here the Pacific Ocean takes on a turquoise hue, and the water is speckled with surfers, otters and even dolphins. If you’re a big kid at heart, the annual Great Sandcastle Contest takes place every October, while you should also set aside some time to explore the romantic beach town of Carmel-by-the-Sea.


Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur State Park

Big Sur features on most people’s Californian must-visit lists and with good reason – as far as dramatic coastlines go, this is the best you’ll see. At the heart of the region is Pfeiffer State Park, where hiking trails thread their way through 1,000 acres of redwood groves (try the 2-mile round-trip hike to the Pfeiffer Falls for some of the best holiday snaps around). 

Pfeiffer Beach, however, is really the big deal here. The combination of offshore stacks and rocks, deep blue ocean and purple sand make for a simply unforgettable combination. Stay for sunset and you’ll see some of the best beach views California has to offer.

Plan your California trip


Words by Hannah Louise Summers

Photography by Austin Neill on Unsplash 

Spin Level, How Does It Work?

Hi guys, it’s been a long while but I’m finally back with the next part of this explanation series. This time, by popular demand and fueled by my own guilt from seriously neglecting spins in my tech posts so far, I’m going to talk about spin levels.

I have to fully disclose, up front, that this is a topic I hate with a vengeance. For reasons that will hopefully become clear to you through this post, them levels make my head spin (no pun intended), my stomach churn, and my eyes water. 

Before I start, I’d like to offer my thank to @fuckyeahdearlybeloved who provided a lot of helpful advice on decoding the ISU cipher on spins (seriously guys, next time you’re in the mood for a mind-twisting mystery novel, try reading that section of the technical handbook instead), plus plenty of moral support in the form of snarky comment about my masochist tendency. If you guys have more questions about spins I’d like to wholeheartedly recommend her ask box (which may or may not be cleared by the year 2092).  

Well, here goes nothing.

Now, spin levels range from B (no level) to 1 - 2 - 3 - 4. The building blocks of spin levels are the level features and that’s what we will be focusing on today. 1 feature = 1 level, so in order for a spin to achieve level 4, it must include at least 4 valid features. The ISU lists a total of 11 features any spin can have and an additional 2 specially for layback spins.

We will look at each of these features in detail.

Feature 1: Difficult variations

The ISU defines difficult spin variation as a movement which requires additional physical strength and flexibility, and has a material effect on the skater’s balance. If you recall from my previous post on spin explanation, there are 11 categories of these variations. 

Three for camel spin

Three for sit spin.

Three for upright spin.

The layback spin is in a category of its own (aptly named the upright layback), and all non-basic positions are grouped into the final category.

You’ll need to remember all of these categories while attempting to figure out spin levels, because each of these variations, when performed in 2 revolutions or more, will count as one level for the spin in which it’s included. However, throughout the whole program (short and long), each category can only be counted once. Say a skater has performed the half-Biellmann (that one Janny did in the first gif) in one spin, if they later perform the same variation, or any other difficult variation belonging to the same camel forward category, it will not increase the level of the second spin. On the other hand, if the skater performs any additional feature on top of the difficult variation (mainly applicable to feature 6, 9, and 10, which we will get to in a bit), that one can be credited for additional levels. 

Aside from feature 1, the rest of the features count strictly once per program. See, that is why I said these spin levels are icky. To determine the level for a step sequence or number of rotations for a jump, you only need to focus on that one element alone, however for spins you have to remember and discard those features that have been used in previous spins while counting the level for the current one. It’s like a convoluted game of bridge (I hate that card game too).

Keep reading

I’d like to announce this year’s Jihyun Week! This week will be focused around Mystic Messenger’s Jihyun Kim aka V. You can submit art, music, fic, cosplay, edits, mixes, anything as long as V is the focus. This will happen December 1st-7th 2017, be sure to tag your submissions as #jihyunweek if you want me to see it and reblog it here! You can also submit it to the blog.

Themes:

  • Day 1: Snow || Travel
  • Day 2: Succulents || Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Day 3: AU || Ships
  • Day 4: Photography || Music
  • Day 5: Past || Future
  • Day 6: Secrets || Sweets
  • Day 7: Festivities || After end

Rules:

  • No hate of any sort. No hate messages, no ship bashing, none of it. V wants you to be happy and positive!
  • Work must be about V or featuring V as the main focus
  • Tag anything ns//fw or anything with overly dark themes.
  • Can be submitted late if you didn’t finish on time

Please reblog to boost awareness! If you have any questions please direct them to the ask box or contact me @seriaph.

top-summer  asked:

Hello,I am Crystal from new chic.Your blog is so funny and amazing,so we sincerely invite you to promote our store on your tumblr,and we would offer fixed payment for each post or reblog,do you have interest?If yes,pls give me your email to discuss more.

You are right! My blog is so funny and amazing. It’s about time someone recognized how funny and amazing I am. Sincerely.

This is such an exciting offer, and I know my blog can be a fine promotional tool for your store. Promoting things is what I do! I promote everything, and I do it for all the sweet, sweet money I can get.

The rate, per post, is one million dollars. This is not negotiable. Each post I promote must also feature a beard-grooming product that is made only from vegan ingredients. Promoted posts can only be placed between the hours of 11:34am and 4:29pm, per the Glasgow treaty of 2011, to which I am a signatory.

I will require three example posts for my consideration. Each example post should showcase a product that is relevant to the followers of my funny and amazing blog. Choose these posts carefully! If they are not as funny and amazing as my blog is, I will not consider your store for promotion on my tumblr,.

Finally, I will require a photo of your office, featuring your entire team, with a single shoe on each member’s head.

I look forward to your reply, and your money.