Good Luck!

As if the revision wasn't going bad enough, suddenly a flock of angry owls, led by a cat having a stroke, attacked the hapless student.

So it’s the night before your big exam.

Or it is if you’re sitting your AQA AS English Literature examination tomorrow. There are a lot of you out there for whom Monday is your big day– at any rate, the viewing figures for this site have gone through the roof. Move Him Into The Sun hit a remarkable milestone today: over 25,000 hits in this, its first year. We’ve had over 1,000 hits today alone. That’s a lot of people revising! It can’t just be the members of my fabulous class at Southfields.

So doubtless you’re a little nervous. Perhaps even anxious. Or desperate. Or terrified!

All these responses are natural. I guess you’ll know in your heart of hearts whether you’ve put in the hours throughout the year. If you have, try not to worry. Even if the exam tomorrow is an absolute nightmare, you’ll still find a way to show off your knowledge. If the question you’re asked isn’t perfect, first, take a breath. Don’t panic. Remember how interlinked so many aspects of the war are, and contemplate how you can link what you do know to what you’ve been asked. You’ll find a way. Remember, too, that the person marking your paper isn’t a monster. They’re looking to reward you for what you write. So after that initial sinking feeling, don’t freeze.

Some of you will know that you could have, should have worked harder. We’ve all been there. Well, the first thing to say is that, even if everything goes terribly tomorrow, you’ll have the chance to resit again in 8 months: that’s a lot of time to work to make things better. Some of you will be kicking yourselves because you’ll have only discovered what a fascinating subject you’re doing as you desperately try to catch up. Well, if that’s the case, you’ve learnt something precious– and who knows? Perhaps the exam will ask you about those things you do know well. Optimism is as good as pessimism at this point.

What will come up tomorrow? Who knows. You can only make educated guesses at this kind of thing. If I were setting the exam, I’d say that we were overdue for something on Sassoon or Brooke– something related to patriotism and protest. I’m also waiting for Isaac Rosenberg to crop up sometime– his ‘Break of Day in the Trenches’ is such a richly associative poem, of such quality, that I’m sure we’ll see it feature one year in question 1b.

But I’m useless at predicting these things. Honestly. Don’t let me panic you: historically, I’ve had a 0% hitrate at this kind of guessing game. At the end of the day, it’s preparation that counts, not soothsaying.

So, one last piece of advice: get to bed nice and early tonight, and when you get up tomorrow, have a nice, big breakfast before getting to school in plenty of time. Rest your brain and body before the test ahead!

Good luck. I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow.

(especially you, Southfields students!)


6 thoughts on “Good Luck!”

  1. Hi,

    Can I thank you for taking your time in producing this invaluable resource, not just for your own students but for the thousands across the country are participating in this exam. Personally this was of great use to me and even more so in the context of my teacher being ill for the duration of the teaching year.

    Thanks once again and the very best of luck to your cohort of students.


    1. Well, thanks very much George. I appreciate the compliment. I hope your exam went well today!

      This time next year, I hope to have covered notes for all the poems– and who knows? Perhaps we’ll start an A2 blog too!

  2. Whatever we have achieved we have achieved because of your help, thanks allot from me too. I believe you have done a brilliant job, 🙂 GOD bless you

  3. I think this exam paper was not as difficult as I had expected it would be by looking at the past papers. Section A was just brilliant. The wider reading we could link to the source provided was phenominal.You could include Owen’s letters and Sasoon’s letter to The Times, Stanhope in Journeys End and you could also link it to the women back at home in The Accrington Pals. However, Section B was quite hard, as regards the topics of both the questions were finite and were quite difficult to make links with. The poem by Yeats was focused on one point and it was one of the poems that I wasn’t as confident with. However, on the whole the balance was maintained, one section was easy and the other was hard. Thanks to you sir for all the support and I hope we all do well.

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